Save environment, protect tourism

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pretoria – As the world marks Tourism Day, Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has urged South Africans to protect the environment.

Van Schalkwyk stressed the need to protect South Africa’s water resources linking a sustainable environment to tourism growth.

“In dealing with the tourism-water challenge, we should be flexible and pro-active in our planning and continuously integrate the latest scientific findings and practical experience,” he said at a lecture delivered at the North West University.  

The theme for the lecture was ‘Tourism and Water: Protecting our common future’.

“We must learn to expect the unexpected, and continuously ask ourselves how new evidence of climate change and water stress will impact the tourism sector, and how each of us can contribute to reducing emissions and water consumption,” van Schalkwyk said.  

He said in hotels this may involve retrofitting water-saving technology in rooms, switching to grey water to irrigate golf courses, educating consumers, collecting rainwater or reverting to indigenous landscaping.

South Africa needed to do more and act with a greater sense of urgency.

Tourism depended on natural resources, or it would die. The sustainability of many natural resources such as national parks, natural heritage sites, marine protected areas or botanical gardens – depends very directly for its survival on the income generated by tourism.

“Investing in tourism is therefore critical to sustaining biodiversity and eco-system conservation,” he said. –