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Stakeholders discuss Ethical Issues on Sustainable Tourism

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Stakeholders in the tourism sector held a one day seminar on sustainable tourism and discussed various ethical issues in the tourism sector and conservation. The seminar was held at the UoN Towers, University of Nairobi on Saturday, July 28, 2018.

 

Speaking during the event, Judy Gona, Director, Sustainable Tourism Travel, narrated her experiences while working at the Kenya Wildlife Service and how locals would complain on several occasion after the wild animals destroyed their crops and livelihood.  She endeavored to venture into the unchartered waters of sustainable tourism and has seen her efforts bear fruit as several tourism stakeholders have embraced the idea of sustainable tourism.  “You are here as the change makers, you are here because you are the product the industry is looking for. You are the foundation that will change tourism for the better, “she said.

Following the recent death of 11 rhinos, the delegates at the seminar observed a one minute of silence in honour of the endangered species.

Some of the unethical issues in tourism raised during the event include; sports hunting (killing endangered species like elephants, lions as a trophy and holding animals in captivity. It was revealed that 16,000 elephants are in captivity. Other unethical issues raised include : human wildlife encroachment, poaching of wildlife, gorilla trucking, swimming with dolphins, taking selfies with animals,  feeding animals and throwing plastics in the parks, game reserves, beaches, oceans and marine parks.

Some of the solutions suggested to help in dealing with unethical issues include: continuous education of tourists and tourism stakeholders, tree planting to help increase the forest cover, clean up exercises to remove plastics from the game parks and marine parks, ban on the sale of ivory, zoning (keeping endangered animals away from tourists, people and predators), ecotourism, giving locals a stake in conservation.

According to Anjela Njihia, from Let’s Go Travel, tour operators must be responsible for the life of the wild animals by ensuring that tourists are kept 25 meters away from the animals. “As tour operators we are more concerned about the money, than sustainability.” She noted that tourists need to obey the park rules. The tour operators need a standardized code of conduct. “We have wild animals that roam freely. We are so blessed as a country. People pay to come and see our wildlife and we should take good care of them, “she said.

The delegates were urged to observe the 4 Ps of conservation: purpose, planet, people and profits. The event was organized by the University of Nairobi Arts Tourism Students Society (UNATS) whose Chairman is Humphrey Mutai and the Patron is Dr. Ben Nyanchoga. The seminar was attended by students from various universities; USIU-Africa, Kenyatta University, Zetech University among others.