Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Low salaries for workers in tourist areas sadden Yeta
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Fri 30 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

SENIOR Chief Inyambo Yeta of the Barotse Royal Establishment in Mwandi says the atmosphere where locals in tourist areas only have low-earning jobs like gardening and room attendants is perpetuating poverty.

Speaking at the Kavango Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area-UNWTO luncheon at Livingstone's Zambezi Sun Hotel yesterday, chief Yeta said locals were the owners of the region's natural assets, especially in the area of nature-based tourism but they had been to a large extent marginalised.

"Communities bore and continue to bear the cost of co-existing with
wildlife. Unfortunately, local communities have not benefited much economically from these resources, as they have been marginalised to a large existent," chief Yeta said.

"The only benefits accruing to communities, with exception of a few cases, are employment opportunities and mostly for low-earning jobs such as gardening, laundry, bar and room attendants."

He said support to community projects by some of the tourist operators was mostly out of their good hearts.

"This atmosphere has perpetuated poverty among the rural communities whilst enriching the private sector," chief Yeta said.

"It is against this background that as communities, we appreciate the development agenda of KAZA-TFCA where emphasis is placed on empowering local communities."

Chief Yeta said within the KAZA-TFCA context, tourism was a highly sustainable industry.

"We are of the considered view that for communities to effectively participate in regional tourism as economic players, there is an urgent need to have a paradigm shift among communities to realise that the communities are the resource owners," he said.

"As community, our next step should be to use our resources to engage the private sector to form joint ventures anchored on strong business principles without necessarily bequeathing our resources to them."

Chief Yeta said this could only be tenable if the government and civil societies assist locals in tourist areas to strengthen business skills and provide them with affordable capital to build tourism infrastructure.

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