Mbabane: With the tranquil and refreshing atmosphere offered by the great outdoors comes great responsibility to all who explore it.
With Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) continuing to encourage emaSwati to immerse themselves in the wonders of the country’s captivating landscapes and the thrill of the wide-ranging outdoor adventures available, it is important to put emphasis on the importance of adopting and maintaining environmentally sustainable practices.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates that closed spaces be avoided as they become super-spreaders of the virus.
A non-negotiable and wholesome part of the tourism experience, environmental sustainability allows the industry to nurture the very beauty that emaSwati seek every time they go on hiking trips, canopy tours, fishing excursions, and bird-watching experiences, amongst many other outdoor activities.
With all, these options available to all emaSwati, it is crucial that they also become custodians of protecting, conserving, and enhancing Eswatini’s natural beauty every time they step out with a spirit of sheer curiosity and a sense of adventure.
This means making a conscious effort to avoid littering and taking a keen interest in learning about the unique flora and fauna in order to identify it and protect it as they go about our outdoor activities.
Over the past two weeks, Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) featured the Eswatini Environment Authority (EEA) on Tekuvakasha Radio Programme which airs every Wednesday from 6:15pm to 6:45pm.
The ETA on the program had EEA’s Fund Officer unpack the ways in which emaSwati can use tourism to drive environmental sustainability. From wetlands protection to waste management, the show sought to conscientious EmaSwati on the many ways in which we can all normalize the culture of taking care of our natural surroundings with each trip to the outdoors.
Wetlands are perhaps the easiest example to reference when speaking on the host to tourism drives the protection, conservation, and sustaining of the environment. By definition, wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. In simple terms, these are parts of our landscape that are defined by the presence of water. From a tourism perspective, these include waterfalls, ponds, rivers, and dams.
As a big part of the ecosystem and an important source of life, wetlands also contribute immensely towards sustaining the livelihoods of traders in small, micro, and medium enterprises. For example, a lot of the baskets, mats, and other creative artifacts that emaSwati purchase in markets across the country are made from a type of grass sourced from wetlands. Found in places such as Swazi Candles, Gone Rural, and the Manzini Market, these creations are handmade by women in the rural communities of Eswatini who subsequently become financially empowered and able to take care of their homes and their communities.
Additionally, EEA was able to indulge in the delightful site of wild animals in our game reserves through efforts made in the country’s environmental sustainability sector. Therefore, it is important that emaSwati become active participants in efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and natural resources in Eswatini so that tourism may continue to thrive and be enjoyed by generations to come.