Whether the term eco-tourism was coined as a marketing gimmick or as a well-meaning venture into tourism with a conscience is not clear but certainly today the term is used widely as a self-imposed stamp of approval. Who would not want to be eco-tourism wise?But how do safari companies in Botswana practice eco-tourism in the remote lodges of some of the purist wilderness areas left in Africa? There is a code of conduct in place for operators in Botswanathat is enforced by the government. Regular checks are done by officials to ensure that companies stay focussed on the environmental protection policy.The majority of operators do however have their own environmentally-friendly methods that they abide by, be it using less wood, utilising natural materials in the construction of lodges and holding regular training sessions with staff.
Children on Safari
Some safari companies have realised that children are the future of conservation in Botswana, and the rest of Africa, and have implemented various children’s programmes to teach the kids the value of conserving the environment. Guides and staff have been trained to lead kids into appreciating their natural heritage.In the past the lodges of Botswana were loathe to allow kids on safari but recently more and more operators are seeing the benefits of letting children learn from a young age about the environment.
Embracing the Future
Eco-tourism is a hollow concept if the local people are not involved in operations and Botswana safari operators today have embraced this and brought local people into the lodge operations.Eco-tourism may be merely a word, or a marketing tool, to many operators but in Botswana results have been positive on the eco-tourism front and the message of environmental conservation is getting through. Another positive is the number of local Botswanians who are getting involved by setting up their own safari operations.