It is important to understand that South Africa is a blend of first and third world both combined into one magnificent country. As an example, travellers can choose to stay in a game lodge which would without doubt exceed the most discerning travellers’ needs and expectations.
However, the person serving breakfast in the morning to guests in these fine game lodges is likely to be the only person in a family of 10 who generates an income for their family. With this in mind, any person visiting South Africa is doing the South Africa environment good. Why and how, you might ask yourself, can I make such a broad statement? Here are ways some ways that green tourism helps the South African economy.
Tourism encourages tolerance
International tourism is more than just helping other countries earn revenue. It is vital in the spread of ideas and know-how, which in turn improves communication, tolerance, and local exposure to international ideas.
Thus, when traveling, always look for ways to immerse yourself in the culture. When looking for an accommodation in Durban for example (a gorgeous coastal city in South Africa), search for opportunities to mingle with locals, such as staying at quaint, family-owned boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts. You could even look into homestays, which allows you to stay directly with a local family while providing them much-needed income directly.
Tourism creates jobs
South Africa provides a huge network of national parks and privately owned game reserves, with the game-rich Kruger National Park coving a vast area of 2 million hectares of pristine African bush field. This untamed African savannah is home to many different tree species, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
All of this was once taken for granted by locals, but tourism has created a whole new mind set. For example, a person who is hungry will see buffalo as a food source. However, if you take that same person and train him/her to become a professional game ranger for tourists, that same buffalo now becomes a renewable revenue source. This person now takes interest and pride in the conservation of that animal as it is his proverbial meal ticket.
Tourism spurs conservationism
The South African government also takes a leading role in land conservation by passing laws to protect wildlife and land. However, in a country with over 20% unemployed inhabitants, conservation needs to provide jobs to the hungry for it to work.
The truth is that without eco-tourism in South Africa, eventually all wildlife will be eaten and trees would disappear for fire wood. The same goes for any other great wildlife destination, be it in Alaska the amazing salmon runs or the lush indigenous forests of Borneo. If conservation efforts do not generate revenue, the fish will end up in cans and the wood as pieces of furniture.
Conservation tourism, or “voluntourism” as it is sometimes called, is a great way to not only help the environment, but stimulate economic growth in poorer nations as well. If you are interested in doing conservation work in South Africa, here are some resources to help you do so:
Government community-based conservation projects in South Africa:
Private-based conservation projects in South Africa: