via Ban on hunting to affect tourism – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 18, 2016
A RECENT United States ban on lion hunting will have a negative effect on the local hunting industry which generated $45 million in 2014.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Recently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USWFS) listed two lion subspecies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The two species are found in India and western and central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa. The US government has to approve the listing for the ban to be effected.
Zimbabwe Council of Tourism (ZCT) president Francis Ngwenya said the ban would have an impact on the country’s tourism industry.
“The ZCT is disappointed by the ban on hunting products recently announced in the United States of America, as this will have a negative impact on Zimbabwe. It is the ZCT’s belief that controlled hunting is an important part of the wildlife management programme in this country,” Ngwenya said.
“It is our fear that the ban will impact on the hunting industry, with consequent negative impacts on employment, income generation and wild life conservation.”
The United States is the biggest market for the local hunting industry ahead of Canada. If hunting products are banned it is expected other countries will follow suit.
Lion hunting in Zimbabwe is the biggest attraction and contributor to the hunting industry.
Zimbabwe Tour Operators Association chairperson Wengayi Nhau said tour operators that sell hunting packages will be the most affected.
“The ban could have catastrophic repercussions for tour operators that offer hunting packages as the clientele is the United States market. So if they stop the importation of hunting products, United States hunters will not come here,” Nhau said.
“So there will be no motivation to hunt in the first place as hunters will not be able to take back what they have hunted.
Hunting tour operators will lose out on money which will set a bad precedent for the industry.”
He said these operators will be forced to look for new sources of revenue.
The ban on hunting products came after an American hunter shot and killed ‘Cecil the Lion’ who was a popular attraction in Zimbabwe to tourists due to his plentiful mane.
It also comes barely two years after the USWFS suspended imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania over alleged questionable management practices.
Wildlife conservation is governed by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority which is an autonomous body that has to raise its own revenues to fund operations with hunting revenues contributing a huge chunk.
Areas to be affected by the ban within the hunting industry apart from products sold as a result of hunting will include employment, income generation and wildlife conservation. Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservation relies mainly on income generated from the hunting industry.
Meanwhile, ZCT will next month hold the 2016 Tourism Convention in Victoria Falls between February 10 to 12.
The hunting industry will be one of the many topics under travel and tourism at the Tourism Convention 2016 which seeks to encourage active involvement with people, government, and organisations within the tourism and travel sector from the local, regional and international sectors.
Other issues to be discussed at the convention include Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi’s goal of achieving a $5 billion tourism economy.
Winnie Muchanyuka, Board of Airlines Representatives chairperson said upgrades and infrastructure development must be looked into to offer world class standards.
Her organisation consists of all the country heads of different airlines.
“Pertinent infrastructure development must be looked into to ensure upgrades are done at world class standards,” she said.