Southern African Ministers give impetus to TFCAs

As part of the preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Southern African Ministers for the Environment and Tourism met today in Johannesburg for discussions about a sub-regional approach to unlock the tourism potential of Southern Africa’s transfrontier parks. The Ministers attending were from Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana and senior officials from Angola.

The meeting considered a new strategy, identifying seven specific transfrontier parks and the necessary upgrading and investment to ensure that these facilities offer travellers to the World Cup the opportunity to experience beyond the walls of the soccer stadia. This approach is to enable travellers to experience a number of different African countries in a single destination. The discussions addressed issues of tourism infrastructure investment, quality assurance within the hospitality sector, ease of travel within the region, and obstacles to convincing World Cup spectators to travel more widely.

The seven transfrontier parks under discussion included: !Ai/!Ais-Richtersveld; Kgalagadi; Kavango Zambezi; Limpopo-Shashe; Great Limpopo; Lubombo; and Maloti-Drakensberg.

The meeting decided:
To endorse, in principle, the TFCA Plan and Strategic Framework and to give a go-ahead for sustainable development of TFCAs beyond the 2010 World Cup.
To mandate South Africa to initiate a process to unlock international capital for infrastructure investments (including roads, tourism products, and accommodation), branding and marketing.
That each country will address critical projects and challenges through national government programmes, and will coordinate action steps through their respective national systems.
As priorities, countries will address TFCA access issues with other relevant Ministers – i.e visas (through the new Univisa proposals), new border posts and the functioning of existing border posts.
The Board of Ministers meeting today will meet every six months to review progress.
A team of officials will meet more regularly between Board of Ministers’ Meetings.
That this initiative must feed into the SADC system with a view to the 2006 SADC Heads of State meeting, including a written communication to the forthcoming meeting on progress achieved.
All of this will dovetail or be linked to RETOSA’s (Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa) plan of action.


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