Public-private partnerships in national parks can boost tourism

With six million people having visited South Africa’s national parks last year, a huge opportunity now exists for private investors, delegates were told at the inaugural South African National Parks Tourism Investment Summit held in Johannesburg in April.

 

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More than 50 public-private partnership (PPP) opportunities are available for investors in South African National Parks. The summit showcased a range of opportunities available to private investors in 10 of these public-owned parks.

 

The opportunities include the development of tented camps, lodges and boutique hotels, activities such as helicopter and hot air balloon trips, zip-lining and hiking activities, and retail kiosks. In 2016, over 10-million foreign tourists arrived in South Africa. According to Sanparks, 6-million people visited its parks in the past financial year. The country’s tourism sector accounts for some 730,000 jobs – 4.5% of total employment. In her keynote address at the summit, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said partnerships between the government and private sector could only increase tourism’s contribution to employment.

 

There are currently 45 PPPs in operation in South Africa’s national parks. These give private partners access to state property for a certain period, allowing them to conduct business there. Tokozile Xasa, South Africa’s new minister of tourism, said at the conference that many of today’s investors want more than just profit, and want to make a contribution in the lives of people. Tourism investment would help reduce poverty and inequality. Sisa Ntshona, head of South African Tourism, said that although international tourists were flocking to the country, domestic tourism was weak.

 

Source: Brand South Africa