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Botswana National parks fees


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50 replies to this topic

#1 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:36 AM

http://www.ngamitimes.com/

Looks like, the self drivers will be affected by the increase in park fees by upto 500%. Ngami Times is reporting this story in their current newsletter.
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#2 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:16 AM

It was pointed out that the luxury establishments in the delta, for instance, would not suffer the same hardships as their well-heeled tourists have usually paid in advance, outside the country and with little or no input into the local economy.

God bless all the neo-colonists.

#3 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 02:09 PM

RE Facing hardships? Little do the editors at the Ngami Times have any clue about visa procedures and the hassles. Maybe I should write to them. Will do so, after I get my passport back from the consulate.

This really must be the absolute exclusive destination in the world - to be travelling for the 8th time and yet, not get any answer from the consulate.

Even the USA embassy is hassle free. They stamp a 10 year multiple entry visa for genuine applicants and we are free to stay between 3-6 months at any given time(depending on the immigrations officer on duty - so smile and be nice). The new finger printing and bio-metric scanning just makes the whole procedure easy and quick.
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#4 Pangolin

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:04 PM

It was pointed out that the luxury establishments in the delta, for instance, would not suffer the same hardships as their well-heeled tourists have usually paid in advance, outside the country and with little or no input into the local economy.


This seems to be a bit of a biased statement. Those of us staying in permanent camps, luxury establishments, or whatever you want to call them, are staying at places that employ a relatively large number of local people, and for that reason alone are providing input into the local economy. To that you can add tips, purchase of locally made art, baskets, etc., and other inputs. Are there issues with the system? Of course. But do I contribute "little or no input"? I might argue that the employment provided by "luxury establishments" provides more input than the commodities purchased by self drivers. But I won't.
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#5 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:19 AM

Welcome back, Ken ..........

A strong comeback. :)
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#6 Pangolin

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 03:30 PM

"Well healed tourists" do indeed have little input into the local economy apart from the employment of staff normally very poorly paid. The statement is entirely factual, it is just that these tourists believe the BS that they are told, by the well healed operators.

How many of these tourists realise that the vast majority of what they expend goes to Travel Agents and Operators who are foreign owned and pay no tax in Botswana, and therefore contribute nothing to Botswana.

Strong, but true? Maybe, maybe not. I'd like to know, without being encumbered by rhetoric and pre-conceived notions.

Operators pay a fee to run the concession. Money going to Botswana that may not otherwise.
Camps need and pay for supplies (food, etc.) just like self drivers do.
Permanent camps employ a lot of people (poorly paid or not), and that pay trickles into the local economy.
Staff receive tips.
Well-healed tourists at camps often purchase items directly from the artists.

Statements such as "apart from the employment of staff normally very poorly paid" minimizes or dismisses one of the most important aspects of any economy - employment.

I have no idea if permanent camps or self drives are better for the economy (especially local economies). I think it would be nice to know - as shown by actual studies with facts and figures.
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#7 luangwablondes

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 04:09 PM

As of Sept 1st, it is not just the self drive that got hit, but any foreign operator bringing tourists into the country. They are allowed to use the main roads and highways, but then must get a license to operate in Bot, and be 'guided' by licensed Botswana guides. So that effects guided self drive tours and even the big overland trucks. Already those trucks are avoiding Botswana.

I think Pangolin has not thought it through about all the people that are going to be effected all over Botswana. The Community Trust campsites, and Mokoro operations, and San bush tours that depend on the self drive. Fuel stations, restaurants, grocery stores, automobile repair & parts & recovery, road tax income, campsites-- lots --look at this page, air charters that do flips over the Delta, butcheries, liquor stores.. of course, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, banks and forex that get commissions on exchanging cash and ATMS, lots of the smaller parks and touristy places rely on the self drive, Chobe boat cruises, even hotels, motels, and guest houses. I'm sure thats just the tip of the iceberg. That effects far more people then a few camps and lodges who have prepaid the tours, so that the commissions are taken outside the country, and the $$ from the operators that are based outside of Botswana stay outside of Botswana. The concessions fees are squat compared to the income they bring in. The salaries laughable. The tips.... I'll concede that that can be good relatively. Oh well, lots of comparisons.

#8 Pangolin

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 04:31 PM

I think Pangolin has not thought it through about all the people that are going to be effected all over Botswana.

Actually, I was off on a bit of a side-track, and not directly discussing the effects of the fee increases. Whether I've thought it all the way through or not (which I have not), I would like to see some comparison of the effects on the economy of various types of safari tourism.

That's all I'm talking about. It is too easy for one side or the other to dismiss contradictory statements or beliefs without some real evidence either way.

I'm not arguing for one or the other. Just arguing against arguments without facts. How can you argue with that?
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#9 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 04:46 PM

Well-healed tourists at camps often purchase items directly from the artists.

I guess mainly they're buying some nice shirts (fleeces, caps etc) and books directly imported from South Africa.

Camps need and pay for supplies (food, etc.) just like self drivers do.

Well, I don't know it for sure, but I can imagine that the big players don't buy their supplies in Maun but import lots of them from SA, too.

#10 Pangolin

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 05:16 PM

I guess mainly they're buying some nice shirts (fleeces, caps etc) and books directly imported from South Africa.

Actually, I'm think of baskets, etc. that have the name of the artist (and often camp employee) identified.
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#11 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 04:01 AM

On the subject of art, a lot of camps have stuff made by artists from Zimbabwe (stuff made from mopane wood) etc etc.,

Yes, baskets and things made from local Botswana artists too ..........

The textile industry as a whole is dying or dead in South Africa, so my guess is ...... a lot of the goods like shirts and fleeces may be outsourced by a trading company in South Africa from countries like China or India.

I don't really think the Botswana Government really cares too much about improving tourism numbers in their country. This I say, as I've had personal experience dealing with the consulate for the past week and a bit ............ I'm all for empowering locals and improving their lives from the tourism industry ............. but, please please please train the staff that are sent overseas to represent the country in important areas like the consulate. Otherwise, it's really an embarassment to Botswana more than anything else. Particularly, when it's marketed as this really "exclusive" destination.
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#12 Pangolin

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 02:58 PM

Whilst it might be nice to see some published "facts", can anyone believe that anybody is going to be allowed to publish something that is "negative" about Botswana?

No, you are likely correct. I would really like to see a credible report on the economic realities of the various segments of the tourism industry, alongside a credible report on the environmental effects of same. I personally have no clue what those reports would contain, and could learn a lot. It is evidently not to be.
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#13 Pangolin

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 04:14 PM

I was able to find a few economic reports about tourism in Botswana on the internet. Although the info is a little outdated, it seems that on average, about 29% of my money finds its way to Botswana (plus whatever I spend while there). That is indeed appallingly low. What I don't know is how my 29%+ compares to other segments of tourism.

It seems pretty obvious that the way to get this percentage up in the curent system is to have the Community Based Organizations take and retain more control over the tourism. This is easier said than done, but should at least be an objective. One way for this to eventually happen is of course for local folks to gain the knowledge needed to make it work. I would like to find some current information on the percentage of relatively high income jobs (guides, managers, etc.) held by local people. My perception is that it has been increasing over the years, but I have no real evidence. The more local people in these positions, the better the knowledge base for successfully running a concession, rather than sub-leasing it. I'm sure it is not that simple, but it is obvious that control needs to be more local.
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#14 luangwablondes

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 04:33 PM

Using your Community Based tourism example, the real problem here is the lack of skills required to run it. No management, operational skills, they don't have an idea what the tourist needs, The hoops to jump just to organise it... and the initial capital too. Just to get these going, and keep them going, unfortunately, it too often requires the assistance of white Botswanans or foreigners.

#15 Pangolin

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 04:46 PM

Will the increasing (I think) number of local people in management positions eventually provide the knowledge base needed? If not, what is the answer?
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#16 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 07:45 AM

Pangolin,

Most concessions are run more or less successfully, isn't it? What are the guidelines of measurement? How do we measure this against other countries?

Back to the self-drive - maybe they had reasons to increase the park fees?

Like we were talking about changes in places like Selinda ......... people will ultimately move on, and find alternatives. Same here for the Bots self-drive market? Maybe there'll be an increase in mobile operations? who knows, time will tell.
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#17 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:52 PM

Most concessions are run more or less successfully, isn't it?

For whom? That's the question here. Certainly not the people of Ngamiland.

#18 Pangolin

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 11:50 PM

However it comes about, I would certainly like to see more than 29% of my money going to the economy of the country I am visting.
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#19 twaffle

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 12:15 AM

Pangolin, I totally agree with you, and it isn't so easy to find just how each dollar is distributed.

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#20 safariguy

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 02:59 AM

Independent of the park fee increases, I would like to see better behavior of those that are self driving in Botswana. There are so many that are not aware of the rules of the parks to begin with. I also see many new paths that lead into the bush, and my local guides usually say something like 'those are the self drive guys that share GPS coordinates of good camping spots, so they don't have to worry about reservations or camping fees'. That kind of stuff makes my blood boil, to be honest.

Perhaps a better approach would be to keep the fees the same, but require each vehicle or group to hire a local guide that is certified to ride in a vehicle to interpret, explain and make sure the park rules are followed. This also would help increase income to the locals in a more direct sense.





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