This programme consists of the following objectives: To ensure sound branding and marketing of the 15 Parks in our Estate; through parks branding and portfolio promotions; To ensure eco-tourism and Wildlife Economy investment promotions, opportunity scoping and management support. The Eco-Tourism function of the North West Parks Board focuses mainly on uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel within protected areas. The main purpose is to bring benefits that will improve the well-being of communities while providing the visitor with desired wildlife experience while conserving the environment on the other hand.

To that end eco-tourism revolves around three main elements: Environment: conserving and protecting nature for consumption by future generations Communities: bringing benefits such as job creation and business opportunities to the people especially those living closer to the protected areas including claimant communities. Visitor: providing a world class wildlife experience to the visitor for economic benefit. In implementing ecotourism activities, North West Parks Board adheres to the following principles: Minimise impact of visitor activities on the environment. Build environmental, cultural awareness and respect. Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts. Provide direct financial benefits for conservation. Provide economic benefits and empowerment for communities closer to parks/reserves.

The Tourism Product Development function is informed by the reality that a number of policy prescripts have been developed which seek to improve the development and the growth of tourism mandate in the protected areas. This is informed by the fact that the country, including provinces of course, has identified tourism as a sector that would assist in job creation and economic development. Central to all policies that have been developed is the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) of 2012. It is almost impossible to separate a tourism experience in South Africa from a nature experience. No trip to the country would be complete with visits to cities or created resorts only; visitors flock to the better-known scenic regions and insist on a visit to a game park.

To that end, the North West Parks Board needs to identify its niche to facilitate tourism feet and further ensure development of tourist products which would certainly attract tourists to the parks/reserves. The entity holds a view that there is a need for the entity to identify partners to transform the sector.

In order to advance Eco-tourism and Wildlife Economic growth and development in the parks; the following key sub-programmes will be undertaken: Tourism Business Development and Bio-diversity Economy Contact Palesa Bodutu, GM: Eco-tourism and Wildlife Economy at Tel: +27(0) 18 397 1500.