Eco-tourism key to growing economy, says Molewa

The growing popularity of eco-tourism has made a substantial contribution towards the economic growth of South Africa, said Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa.

The Minister made the comments on Monday, when the department marked the International Day for Biological Diversity, under the theme ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’.

Molewa said: “Sustainable, nature-based tourism directly benefits our people and communities, and is an import vehicle for rural development, given the location of many conservation areas in rural areas.”
South Africa is amongst the world’s most mega bio-diverse countries, as well as a premier destination for tourists due to its well-managed resources, said the Minister, adding that this was shown with a 13% increase in international tourist arrivals to SA in 2016.

“Tourism has to be developed in harmony with environmental considerations. Sustainable tourism can generate employment and income, thus providing a strong incentive for conservation,” said Molewa. “Nature-based tourism, or rather eco-tourism, is recognised as a driver and critical component to the sustainability and efficacy of conservation management.”

Published 25 May 2017
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