As you are aware by now, some great conversation, debate and research are currently in process with regard to the way forward for Animal Interaction in South Africa. However, while we continue to research and decide on the best way forward, we would like to urge our members to retain a copy of and send the following statement out, should they receive any direct feedback or comment on Animal Interaction on the current research being conducted or on the activities offered by members or suppliers.
The voice against tourism experiences that include animal interactions has grown louder and louder and this has impacted on how South Africa is being perceived as a tourism destination.
As the leading inbound tourism association, the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has been tasked by its members to develop guidelines for animal interactions in tourism. Animal Interaction research is thus member mandated, board approved and being run in partnership with South African Tourism.
The aim of the research is to consult with the wider tourism sector, not just SATSA members, to develop a long-term vision of where the South African industry would like to be with regard to animal interactions in tourism. Development of the guidelines is a phased process and, at present, SATSA has completed its national public consultation workshops in all provinces and is gathering extensive desktop research.
The information acquired from the consultation process along with further research (including analysis of legislation and regulations, consultation with key organisations, market and trends assessments among others) will be used to develop draft guidelines which will be shared for public comment prior to finalisation.
SATSA’s aim is for a fair and comprehensive process that is cognisant of all the complexities involved in the tourism industry. Although SATSA has taken on this endeavour, it is acting as an impartial arbiter that is seeking an ethics-based solution by the tourism industry, for the tourism industry.
As a member of SATSA, Company Name, is committed to this process and will support the guidelines once published.