Animal interactions: “Doing nothing is not an option”

“If we are going to market effectively, we need to make sure brand South Africa is prominent and good”. This was the sentiment shared by South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona during the panel discussion ‘Animal interactions – How do we craft a compliance process?’ at this year’s SATSA Conference held at Spier, Stellenbosch.

Joining Ntshona on the panel was Jane Edge, CEO Fair Trade Tourism, Mandy Freeman, from Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, Suzanne Benadie, Sales and Marketing Director of Your Africa, Gerben Hardeman, Manager Responsible Travel and Tourism at ANVR, and John Werth, Executive Director PAAZA. Moderating the panel was Colin Bell, from Natural Selection.

While some markets, such as the Dutch, choose to completely exclude all animal interactions from their itineraries, Hardeman offered advice to delegates saying: “South Africa need to phase out the worst experiences, improve the rest, and promote the best.” Ntshona said that doing nothing is not an option and advocated for a strong research-based approach to set the standard which will inform those who ultimately hold the power – the consumer.

As an outcome to this discussion SATSA set up a board sub-committee to investigate and develop a way forward in terms of animal interaction. Ms Keira Powers was confirmed as the Chair and will be working on a Terms of Reference to guide the sub-committee and also to look at which other stakeholders should be included. At this stage the committee is comprised as follows:

Ms Keira Powers – Chair (Spirit of Africa)

Ms Hannelie du Toit

Mr David Frost

To listen to the full audio episode, click here

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