Saving Botswana's tourist industry from climate change

Jun 06, 2012

Botswana's Okavango Delta is a sensitive ecosystem that could be affected detrimentally by climate change. Given the Delta's prominence in the country's tourist industry, such negative impacts could wreak havoc on its economy and affect the lives of its inhabitants.

Tourism in Botswana is the second largest economic sector, according to Wame Hambira of the University of Botswana in Gaborone. She has taken the Okavango as a case study for investigating the vulnerabilities and problems faced by such an ecosystem and the side effects change might have on economic growth. She suggests that suitable adaptations and policy changes are needed in the face of climate change if Botswana is not to lose income from this sector.

The Okavango Delta is a richly diverse ecosystem, it is the world's largest inland delta and sits atop the . More than 10 trillion litres of water irrigate the 15,000 square kilometres of the Delta. Given the beautiful landscapes, the scientific importance and the presence of large mammals including African bush elephant, buffalo, , antelope, giraffe, leopard and lion as well as the endangered African Wild Dog, the Delta is an important and attracts an estimated 50,000 visitors annually. The actual figure may be more than double that.

"Currently, the prime sites for in Botswana are geographically concentrated in the north-western part of the country along the Chobe River (Kasane/Chobe area) and the Okavango Delta, which are rich in pristine wildlife and wetlands attractions," says Hambira. She adds that the Okavango Delta offers popular tourism activities such as hunting safaris, photographic safaris, bird and animal watching, fishing, canoeing and cultural and heritage activities.

Hambira calls for a full vulnerability assessment of Botswana's tourism industry as a whole, taking into consideration that the different ecosystems ranging from the dry lands to the wetlands and their associated leisure activities will be affected differently by climate change. Planned adaptation could then be achieved through financial, technical, legal and other assistance to facilitate the implementation of policies to help the tourism industry adapt to the effects of .

Explore further: Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

More information: "Screening for climate change vulnerability in Botswana's tourism sector in a bid to explore suitable adaptation measures and policy implications: a case study of the Okavango Delta" in International Journal of Tourism Policy, vol 4, 51-65

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google Street View to launch in Botswana

Feb 23, 2012

Botswana will be the second African country to launch Google Street View, officials announced Thursday, saying the technology would boost the nation as a diamond exporter and safari destination.

Could Global Warming Be Crushing Blow to Crocodiles?

Nov 27, 2006

With global temperatures generally on the rise, crocodiles may have a harder time finding mates. For crocodiles, gender is not determined genetically, but rather by embryo temperature during incubation, notes ...

Rare crane in first Uganda sighting

May 14, 2009

A rare crane species never before seen in Uganda has been spotted in the eastern part of the country, the executive director of Nature Uganda told AFP on Thursday.

Boeing Delta 4 Launch Postponed

Dec 14, 2004

Sunday's launch attempt of the Boeing Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral, Fla., was scrubbed for the third day because of equipment problems. During securing activities following Saturday's launch attempt, the ...

Recommended for you

Water crisis threatens thirsty Sao Paulo

53 minutes ago

Sao Paulo is thirsty. A severe drought is hitting Brazil's largest city and thriving economic capital with no end in sight, threatening the municipal water supply to millions of people.

Climate change: meteorologists preparing for the worst

6 hours ago

Intense aerial turbulence, ice storms and scorching heatwaves, huge ocean waves—the world's climate experts forecast apocalyptic weather over the coming decades at a conference in Montreal that ended Thursday.

Sunlight, not microbes, key to CO2 in Arctic

6 hours ago

The vast reservoir of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is gradually being converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be controlled largely by microbial ...

User comments : 0