Conservation fee coming next year

28 July 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The environment ministry will introduce a conservation fee next year that will be paid by all visitors to national parks in addition to the existing park entrance fees.

The conservation fee will take effect from January 2021.

Namibia's park entrance fees are currently the lowest in the SADC region.

The additional revenue will be used to conserve wildlife and maintain park infrastructure, said the ministry's spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda.

“National parks and game parks are an important part of Namibia's national heritage, home to its iconic and most precious species and are the bedrock of Namibia's tourism industry,” he said.



Market related

According to Muyunda Namibia has not increased park entrance fees since 2005.

The combined conservation fee and park entrance fee will be market related and the ministry will consult with stakeholders in the tourism industry before the fee structure is released.

Muyunda said the conservation fee will accrue to the Game Product Trust Fund, and will be used for the management and maintenance of infrastructure in national parks and game parks, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and prevention, wildlife protection and law enforcement.



Maintenance

He said the maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure in national parks is a costly exercise that is currently catered for through the development ministry's budget.

“In line with the current difficult economic climate, there has been a marked reduction in the ministry's development budget in recent years. This is manifested by increased vulnerability to poaching and increased cases of human wildlife conflict adjacent to national parks.”

Muyunda said in the long run this could seriously harm Namibia's reputation and competitiveness as a tourism destination and could negatively affect the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to national parks.

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