Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No Beach Driving Killed St. Lucia

The failure to secure sustainable tourism in the iSimangaliso Wetlands could lead to dune mining. Beach driving, which is a lesser evil, had developed over 30 years a  stable economic environment that sustained this pristine wetlands to become the first world heritage site in South Africa. Many first for St. Lucia Wetlands Park.

Time Line -

1575 - discovered and named
1822 - Town by British thrown
1895 - First Game Reserve
1975 - First RAMSAR Site
1999 - First World Heritage Site

Beach ban was only in 2001. It was a mistake by Mr. Vali Moosa, the then Minister of Environmental affairs and Tourism, to ignore the value of South Africa domestic tourist. At the end of 1999 the monitory value of informal income from Domestic tourism in the region of St. Lucia, Mtuabtaba and Incodiba was in the region of 35 million South African rand.

This was not including Sodwana, Mbazwane and Kosibay areas. The income alone from Beach permits sold in St. Lucia Estuary was R4.5 million per year. Cape Vidal's income was over R10 million a year and the St. Lucia Crocodile farm had a annual visitors  through the gates of more than  48 000 people in 1996.

Focus on Domestic Tourism .... it is more profitable at grass root level than Inbound Tourism.

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