Ministry Awards First Concession with Communities in Khaudum National Park
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has signed a concession with a traditional authority (TA) and two conservancies to establish tourism accommodation facilities in Khaudum National Park.
This is the first agreement to be signed following the approval of the Tourism and Wildlife Concessions Policy by Cabinet last year and will promote conservation, a vibrant tourism industry and community development.
The concession was signed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Netembo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and representatives of the Gcuriku Traditional Authority and the George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana conservancies at a ceremony held on May 7,2008 at Ndiyona in the Kavango Region.
The 20 year agreement will enable the entities to establish accommodation facilities at the Khaudum and Sikerette camps within the Khaudum National Park. They may also undertake activities such as day and night game drives, guided nature walks, sale of crafts and meals and other activities subject to prior approval of the Ministry.
Khaudum National Park is one of Namibia’s most wild, rugged and pristine wilderness areas containing a wide variety of abundant biodiversity, landscapes and a range of ecosystems. The concession stipulates that development must be sustainable and in keeping with the natural values and wilderness experience provided in this park.
The main aim of the agreement is the promotion of environmentally sensitive tourism facilities and high quality nature experiences in the park, and the associated promotion of conservation, tourism and community development.
Importantly, the awarding of this concession improves access to the tourism industry of formerly disadvantaged Namibians.
These communities have been awarded concession rights by the MET based on a Cabinet decision of 1999. The park was proclaimed in 1989.
The TA and conservancies will soon advertise for a joint venture partner to develop tourism facilities. The community are seeking a partner who can develop, manage and realise the full tourism, community and conservation potential of these unique opportunities. This exciting business opportunity will be advertised through an expression of interest process in the next two weeks.
The awarding of this concession and others will contribute to rural development, employment creation and economic growth. “It’s an exciting time for tourism in Namibia, we want to grow this industry so that we can achieve our conservation, development and economic outcomes,” the Minister said.
Under the new policy, concessions on State land have significant roles to play and complement other contributors to the economy of the country. Concessions are a means of providing access for visitors to parts of protected areas that are ordinarily not accessible and to generate additional revenue for the State in a sustainable way from Namibia’s indigenous plant and wildlife resources.
Concessions also create opportunities for business development and the economic empowerment of formerly disadvantaged Namibians through access to tourism, hunting and industries based on wild plant and animal resources. Improving access to public resources for the empowerment of formerly disadvantaged Namibians with the aim of uplifting this sector of the population is of the utmost importance.
The award of this concession was facilitated with support from partners and donors such as Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), WWF’s Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) Project, French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), the Integrated Community-based Ecosystem Management (ICEMA) and UNDP/ GEF Strengthening the Protected Area Network (SPAN) projects, TAs and conservancies.
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM
OFFICE OF THE MINISTER
Tel: (061) 2842335
Fax: (061) 232057