Napha frustrated over tourism relief

The Namibia Professional Hunting Association says relief should encompass all tourism stakeholders and not only conservancies and conservation areas in national parks.

21 July 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



While the Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha) has applauded the tourism ministry's efforts to address and mitigate income shortfalls in conservancies, it expressed concern that no support has been given to freehold landowners in the tourism industry.

Napha questioned why freehold landowners have not received any support during the coronavirus pandemic, while conservancies continue to receive funding above the fees being paid to concession holders.

It said the relief should encompass all tourism stakeholders and not only communities in conservancies and conservation areas in national parks.

Napha mentioned the support from the German Development Cooperation to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown measures on the conservation and tourism sector in Namibia and the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which was announced last week by the ministry.



Substantial donation

“Napha has taken cognisance of not only this substantial donation of N$250 million, but also others being made to the ministry's Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilient Facility to an amount of N$22 million.”

It said records show that in 2018, an amount of approximately N$133.5 million was paid to 56 conservancies by joint ventures and hunting entities.

This amount was made up of concession fees, salaries as well as in kind benefits.

“It may not be forgotten that tourism does not just occur in communal conservancies and that not only the residents of these conservancies are affected by the coronavirus lockdown measures, but also all those employers (title deed holders) and employees living in rural areas, making up the remaining 44% of land under conservation management.”



Little to no funding

According to Napha, very little to no funding has been allocated to these rural communities who play a significant part in Namibia's gross domestic product, and are tax contributors.

Hunting concession holders are still expected to, as per their contracts, pay their concession and fixed hunting quota fees.

“A reprieve of 60% has been suggested by the tourism minister, but has to be negotiated with the conservancies. This is despite no tourist arrivals. The question begs: why [do] these conservancies continue to receive so much funding?”

Napha added that on numerous occasions, it has been mentioned that most wildlife occurs outside national parks, moreover on freehold land, yet no funding received by the conservation relief facility is being directed there.

It said freehold land has also been affected by the six-year drought, with most resources spent on feed.

“Conservation also takes place elsewhere in the country and also needs to be financed to secure habitat, wildlife and livelihoods.”

Any financial assistance towards freehold communities would be greatly appreciated, Napha said.

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