Oct 29, 2013
Botswana Committed to Sustainability Through Eco-Tourism
“We will not let this happen here!” said the honorable Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Botswana’s gentle president and conservation visionary. He was referring to the depletion of his country’s natural resources for short-term gain and his plan for creating a sustainable future for his country. His ambitious plan proposes tapering off Botswana’s dependence on diamond mining and focusing on developing agriculture and low-impact / high-end tourism which simultaneously protects the environment and benefits local communities.
Botswana’s commitment to the conservation of its natural resources, rich wildlife, and cultural heritage was concretized in 2002 with the inception of the country’s National Ecotourism Strategy, which affirms Botswana as a leading sustainable tourism destination and has led to the development of the Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, a voluntary, tourism industry-wide program run by Botswana Tourism.
The Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, outlining more than 240 performance standards, is designed to encourage and support responsible environmental, social, and cultural behavior by tourism businesses, and to provide a quality, eco-friendly product to consumers. This three-tier system enables companies of all sizes to attain an entry-level “Green” certification, a mid-level “Green+” certification, or an “Eco” level of certification. The highest level of certification acknowledges the full spectrum of ecotourism, including involvement with local communities in tourism development, nature conservation, environment management, and interpretation of the surrounding environment to the guest.
The private sector of Botswana’s tourism industry has embraced this voluntary program. Since its inception in late 2010, the number of Botswana eco-certified camps and lodges has grown to a total of 15 properties including Zarafa Camp located in the exclusive Selinda Reserve. The travel specialists at EXPLORE Inc. can create for you an eco-friendly safari in a pristine natural environment. Check our website for ideas or call us at 970.871.0065.