Namibian Conservancy Tourism Exchange
In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Austin Adventures and others hosted a delegation of 14 Namibian tourism industry representatives, including four conservancy reps (some of whom are members of the Himba and Herero tribes) on a “No Borders Tour” of southeastern Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
Delegates met with property owners, managers, and government officials to explore how they manage these wide open spaces and incorporate sustainable adventure tourism activities such as biking, rafting, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. In turn, our international guests met with local Crow tribal leaders and officials to share their land conservancy model and illustrate how it might apply to Native American tribes and reservations in the U.S. The tour wrapped up in Bozeman where the guests enjoyed a game of American football at Montana State University.
- Austin Adventures
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
- The Billings Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Yellowstone National Park Lodges
- Southeast Montana Tourism Region
- Zoo Montana
- Billings Tourism Business Improvement District
- 320 Guest Ranch
Participants and Organizations
- Conservancy Development Support Services (CDSS)
- Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Organizations
- Wilderness Safaris
- Yellowstone County Museum
- Native American Tribal Leaders from Southeast Montana
- Namibian Development Trust
- Ministry of Environment & Tourism
- Wuparo Conservancy, Caprivi Region
- Namibian Exclusive Safaris
- Omatendeka Conservancy
- Sheya Uushona Conservancy, North Central Region
Dan Austin- AA Director
Kasey Austin- AA Field Operations Liaison and Guide
- To enable twelve (14) Namibian tourism industry representatives, including four conservancy reps, to learn about adventure tourism as offered by an established adventure tour operator in the western U.S.
- To facilitate participant learning about how an adventure operator approaches issues such as client safety, security and liability in the conduct of an adventure tour in the U.S.
- To provide exposure to the guiding practices and interpretation techniques that comprise a significant part of the visitor experience while on an adventure travel tour.
- To learn from the largest U.S. national park concessionaire how they manage their environmental footprint, including management of such issues as water, sewage, solid waste, energy, landscaping, etc.
- To enable opportunity for cross-cultural exchange and the sharing of tourism experiences between the Namibian participants and Native American tribal leaders, who have a mixed experience with tourism, including the establishment and operation of indigenous tourism enterprises.
- To meet and discuss with elected officials of the state of Montana in relation to the process of establishing and managing a dedicated fund to support tourism small and medium enterprises in the state, including among Indian tribes.
- American Football! The participants have been invited by Montana State University to be guests at a home game in Bozeman on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
Why Namibia? Namibia's Competitive Advantage!
- There is no other destination in the world with as many established tourism joint ventures s as Namibia. Within the Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector, there are now 42 formal joint-venture (JV) lodges and campsites that work in collaboration with their host communities. In addition, there are four JVs operating in principle with a signed agreement pending, and another six ventures with whom the conservancies are negotiating.
- All the JVs in the communal conservancies combined represent 1,356 bed nights, over 900+ full-time jobs and over 250 seasonal positions. In the process, not only are communities benefiting in ways previously unimaginable, but the national tourism product is being redefined in more equitable and sustainable ways.
- Of the 76 registered conservancies, 33 are immediately adjacent to national parks or in key corridors between protected areas. Consequently, the wildlife friendly land-uses adjacent to and between parks are enhancing the viability of Namibia’s protected area network. The recovery of prey species, combined with an increased tolerance of community, is facilitating the recovery of high-level predators on a landscape level in north-western Namibia.
- Namibia is the only country in Africa where black rhinos are being translocated OUT of a national park to communal conservancy land areas. This stands in stark and dramatic contrast to the poaching taking place in neighboring countries.
- Namibia is the only country in Africa with an expanding, free roaming lion population, and there has been a dramatic decrease in poaching to almost negligible levels today.
- Namibia undertakes the largest road-based wildlife count in the world.
- Namibia’s conservation success stories stand out in sharp contrast to most African countries where wildlife populations and habitats are rapidly declining. Namibia very well may be “the greatest African wildlife recovery story ever told!”
- The Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector was one of only three Finalists in the 2010 World Travel and Tourism Council’s “Tourism for Tomorrow” Awards program in the category of Community Benefit.
- The Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector website was the Platinum Award Winner in the 2011 National Geographic Traveler Magazine and Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) co-sponsored Sustainable Travel Award.
- The Communal Conservancy Programme, through the MET and NACSO, were recently recognized by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation as the global winner of the Markhor Award.
- Wheels of Change Teams Up With Zoo Montana – WOC has teamed up with Zoo Montana to collect bicycles for the Wuparo Conservancy by Dave Wiggins
- The Wuparo Conservancy first BEC – Plans to build a Bicycle Empowerment Center on the Wuparo Conservancy in Namibia
- Tourism Exchange Bringing Namibian Delegation to Montana by Dave Wiggins
- Austin Adventures to Host Namibian Officials in Montana by David Cogswell
Stay tuned for more information, photos, insights and learnings from this extraordinary event.