Tourism has been recognised as a sector that can contribute immensely to sustainable development in terms of alleviating poverty, creating employment as well as to provide services in remote areas if it is properly managed. This was said by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Chairman Luigi Cabrini on the sidelines of the organisation’s 2018 conference which was held in Maun last week. The conference was held by GSTC in collaboration with Botswana Tourism Organisation and was attended by many travellers from across the world.
The conference which was held in Africa for the first time was addressing some of the most key issues of tourism based on the “Kasane call to action “.”Kasane call to action” is a roadmap that provides guidance to stakeholders on how development and management of tourism should be improved. Among the key topics which were discussed include achieving sustainable management, market access for responsible tourism business as well as certification as a driver for sustainable tourism.
“Tourism contributes to all the sustainable development goals and has been inclusively included on sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production. So tourism remains an economic activity where small and big entrepreneurs have to make a profit from their businesses. Several researchers have demonstrated that sustainable tourism generates higher economic benefits than a normal business due to the savings generated by a better management of resources and enhanced market access,”said Cabrini.
During the year 2017, tourism in Botswana has generated 11% of the Gross Domestic Product and 7% of the national employment. According to statistics, Botswana has graduated from the group of least developed countries in 1994 due to the immerse contribution of the tourism sector.
Though the GSTC is advocating for sustainable tourism, they have noted in some challenges which might be a hindrance to achieving their dream. According to Cabrini sometimes small and medium enterprises often fail to get easy access to innovations and training that can improve their management. “We must therefore strive to shift the balance towards the positive benefits that tourism can create. That is why as GSTC we have phrased our criteria in such a way that profits are maximazed for local communities, culture heritage and the environment while we minimise negative impacts,” said Cabrini
According to statistics, tourism is a growing sector with 2018 expected to end with almost 1.4 billion international tourists while the number is expected to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. Africa alone also possess great potential due to its unique wildlife and fauna having received 62 million tourists in 2017.