In addition to existing park entrance fees, the environment and tourism ministry will introduce the payment of a conservation fee, which will be charged to all visitors to national parks and game parks in addition to existing park entrance fees.
The ministry’s spokesperson Romeo Muyunda explained that given Namibia’s park entrance fees are currently the lowest in the SADC region and given the shortfall in resources needed to conserve wildlife and maintain infrastructure in national parks, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism will introduce a conservation fee, which will be charged to all visitors to national parks and game parks in addition to the existing park entrance fees.
National parks and game parks are an important part of Namibia’s national heritage, home to its iconic and most precious species and are the bedrock of Namibia’s tourism industry.
He said Namibia has not adjusted or increased its park entrance fees since 2005.
Therefore, he noted, the combined fee of a conservation fee and park entrance fee shall be based on market-related prices.
The ministry will consult tourism stakeholders before the new park fee structure is released.
Further, he said conservation fees will accrue to the Game Product Trust Fund (GPTF) and will be used for the management and maintenance of infrastructure in national parks and game parks; human-wildlife conflict mitigation and preventative measures and wildlife protection, as well as law enforcement.
“The maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure in national parks are a costly exercise that is currently catered for through the development ministry’s budget. In line with the current difficult economic climate, there has been a marked reduction in the ministry’s development budget over recent years. This is manifested by increased vulnerability to poaching and increased cases of human-wildlife conflict adjacent to national parks,” he stated.
In the long-run, he said this could seriously harm Namibia’s reputation and competitiveness as a tourism destination and can negatively impact the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to national parks hence the introduction of the fee.
The new fee takes effect from January 2021.
2020-07-28 08:39:46 | 2 months ago