As the heated and highly politicised debate continues in Botswana over the proposed return to hunting as part of an integrated conservation policy, it is interesting examine claims that since the hunting ban in 2014, the tourism sector has soared and the contribution to the economy has increased, supposedly demonstrating that more tourists will go to Botswana if it maintains the hunting ban and numbers could drop off if hunting is again legalised.  This was a view expressed by Colin Bell, a determined anti-hunting campaigner with Great Plains Conservation (which has a large stake in high-cost, low-volume tourism) in the partial and unbalanced BBC report, Botswana: Trouble in the elephant sanctuary (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0c64gq7/botswana-trouble-in-the-elephant-sanctuary).

If you look at Botswana’s tourism performance in recent years as set out in the World Travel and Tourism Council Report Traveol and Tourism. Economic Impact 2018, Botswana – https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/countries-2018/botswana2018.pdf, there is no evidence of a major increase in earnings, economic impact, tourism numbers or tourism employment since the hunting ban. In fact, contribution to GDP and employment have falled and been erratic in their performance since the high point in 2012.

% contribution of tourism       2012    2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018 estimate

Direct contribution to GDP         16.4     10.8    2.7      6.5     -4.4      4.1       5.8

Total (direct+indirect)                     17.3     5.9      4.2     12.5   -2.8      2.1        4.9

Employment                                         16.6    -4.4     6.2      11.6   -9.9     2.3        3.6

 

The message is that the alleged link between the hunting ban an increased income and employment from tourism does not work.

Prof Keith Somerville, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent; Fellow of the Zoologtical Society of London; and member of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihood Specialist Group.

 

 

 

Some very interesting statistics on Botswana’s tourism sector from this report – https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/countries-2018/botswana2018.pdf

 

BOTSWANA
Growth1
(%)
1. Visitor exports 10.5 11.5 5.1 7.7 -4.9 4.4 5.7 4.6
2. 23.1 4.4 1.2 9.6 -3.5 2.9 5.9 4.3
16.7 7.8 3.1 8.6 -4.2 3.6 5.8 4.5
17.1 10.8 2.7 6.5 -4.4 4.1 5.8 4.4
16.4 4.8 3.5 10.8 -4.0 3.1 5.8 4.5
16.4 4.8 3.5 10.8 -4.0 3.1 5.8 4.5