Friday, July 13, 2012

Climate change threatens Botswana's main tourist attraction

Okavango Delta
According to a new study, Botswana urgently needs policies to facilitate climate change adaptation to protect the Okavango Delta.  Recent statistics from the Bank of Botswana show that tourism is the country's second largest source of income, contributing US$753 million to GDP in 2011.  Wame L. Hambira, from the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, warned that unless government policies take account of current and forecasted climate shifts, the tourism sector could be badly damaged, with serious implications for the wider economy.  The delta is also used by local communities for water, fishing, agriculture, and the production of cultural artefacts such as baskets and beads, said. However, the distribution of water channels and flooding patterns are shifting, she said.  She added that such shifts, and threats posed by climate change — including a predicted drop in total annual rainfall, especially in the north where the delta is located — are not adequately addressed by Botswana's current tourism and environmental policies. ,

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