Call for China to Support Africa Conservation

Following Tourism Tattler’s article ‘Taking Responsible Tourism to China’ in the April edition, Dorria Watt follows up with the outcome on Deborah Calmeyer’s presentation to guests at the prestigious ‘Her Village International Forum’ in Beijing, China.

So strong was the call for support for the closure of all ivory and rhino horn trade into Africa at a high profile Forum in Beijing that a Resolution was co-signed by host Yang Lan, Wang Shi, Dereck and Beverly Joubert and ROAR AFRICA CEO, Deborah Calmeyer. Environmental lobby groups WildAid China and SEE also signed the Resolution. The Forum, attended by 400 top business men and women, with a TV broadcast to another 200 million viewers, had Africa’s elephants and rhinos as one of its key topics.

Calmeyer‘s speech, entitled ‘The Final Hour’, highlighted the need for global assistance to preserve Africa’s natural resources. “We are losing our key animals,’ she said, ‘and along with them a part of our humanity. Elephant, rhino and lions are in their final hour without them, the eco-tourism industry into Africa will fail and entire communities will perish.

‘It’s true that Africa is a harsh place but it is also a place of incredible beauty, ingenuity, growth, happiness and warmth and whether we value these animals right to live or their role in our ecosystem, we cannot ignore the massive tragedy of the decimation of these species.”

She presented three hard-hitting figures in terms of the economic value of tourism and how all of it could change, especially for Africa, if we are unable to protect and sustain our wildlife. In Southern Africa, nature-based tourism generates roughly the same revenue as farming, forestry and fisheries combined.

8 million is the number of visits to the world’s national parks and nature reserves, generating 3.7 trillion RMB (7.2 trillion ZAR). Yet only 62 billion RMB (121 million ZAR) is used to conserve these areas.

277 million. That’s the number of people in employment supported by travel and tourism in 2014. This means 1 in 11 of all jobs in the world are from tourism.

47 trillion RMB (92 trillion ZAR) is the total contribution made by travel and tourism to the global economy last year – growing the global economy by 9.8%. In 2014 tourism grew faster than any other of the big sectors in the world economy.

“With tourism into Africa from China on the rise the fate of our rhino, elephants and lion is as much in your hands as the people of Africa,’ she said. ‘In the spirit of the Year of the Goat – a symbol of benevolence, promise and prosperity – and the Year of China in South Africa, it is critical we join forces to take action. We need more durable solutions that ban the trade of endangered wildlife products, we need to close the markets and persuade consumers to stop buying these products.

‘We know the kind of tactics that work and these are education, persuasion and government action. As Africans we need to take the primary responsibility for solving the poaching crisis but we also need the help of China. Together with China we believe we can make a difference and ensure endangered species have a future. To quote WildAid: When the buying stops the killing can too.”

The co-signed Resolution contained the following summation: We as consumers are awakening and taking action; to refuse to consume elephant tusk, rhino horn or other endangered wild animal products; to reduce and cut off the demand for such products, breaking the chain of profit, in order to protect endangered species.

The Forum is a powerful vehicle for change and Bradley Brouwer, President: Asia Pacific, South African Tourism said: ”We are inspired by one of South Africa’s influential female talents in tourism, Deborah Calmeyer, CEO of ROAR AFRICA speaking at the inspiring and very successful ‘Her Village International Forum’ and presenting the diversified resources available in South Africa. South Africa is sought after by global travellers credited to its breathtaking scenic beauty, various wildlife, dynamic cultures and stunning adventures. China has become one of the core source-markets for South Africa since 2014. With the arrival of 2015 as the ‘Year of China in South Africa’, South African Tourism has embraced the remarkable developmental opportunities presented.”

The final word goes to Confucius: ‘As the crown of creation, each of us has a responsibility to support and participate in activities to protect the earth, protect endangered wildlife, and protect our homes and children’s future!‘

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