C4 Photo Safaris has three main pillars on which its business is cemented: Tourism, Photography and Conservation. Due to the effects of Covid-19 halting travel globally, all tourism and wildlife photography businesses have essentially been halted.
Tourism is closely linked to conservation.
IN order to bring more clarity on the travel and conservation in Africa, C4 gathered panellists with years’ of experience in the industry; Colin Bell, Louise Swemmer and Andrew Parker to discuss whether tourism can actually benefit conservation and communities surrounding wildlife areas. The talk was hosted by Sophie Stafford. She emphasised that ‘the global pandemic has provided us with more time than ever before to reflect on what is truly important, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that contact with nature and being outdoors is vital for our health and well-being.’
How did tourism help conservation and communities before Covid-19?
Tourism in Africa only receives 5% of the world’s tourists, and yet its funding supports park management, conservation and job creation. Local community support is crucial for the sustainability of conservation efforts. Good tourism practices help to:
- Conserve wildlife and pristine wilderness places.
- Contribute to community development/upliftment and job creation.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for massive changes to focus on community development stated Louise Swemmer.
How has tourism and conservation changed due to Covid-19?
Lodges are all closed over the African continent, but operations have not stopped to ensure staff are still motivated and paid to combat poaching in these areas.
How can you help conservation and communities?
A simple answer provided by Colin Bell, ‘book a safari, come on holiday to Africa and contribute to conservation. 1 Guest can support 4-5 staff members and return support numerous dependants. By postponing your current affected safaris, you are ultimately supporting wildlife and the most vulnerable communities.’
We need a functioning eco-system to survive as a species stated Andrew Parker. Tourism is vital to conservation. Africa needs our support more than ever.
Thank you again to Sophie for hosting our first C4 Atelier, our speakers; Colin, Louise and Andrew, and of course to our audience. Stay tuned for more C4 Atelier talks coming soon!
Images by Kyle De Nobrega & Shem Compion