Thursday, July 9, 2020

Survival International calls for boycott against Botswana tourism

Survival International has written to dozens of tour operators in Africa, Europe, Asia and the USA, including Trailfinders, Intrepid and Absolute Travel urging them to suspend their trips to Botswana “over the disgraceful treatment of the last hunting Bushmen in Africa.”
Survival International issued a press statement on Friday that it will also launch “a new advertising campaign in travel magazines around the world” urging tourists to boycott Botswana.
The London based rights group picked World Tourism Day (Friday) to launch its embargo against Botswana tourism claiming that the country is promoting tourism in the CKGR region at the cost of eviction of the Bushmen from their ancestral land.
The international NGO has also threatened to “urge over a hundred thousand supporters to join the boycott and write to Botswana’s Minister of Tourism telling him “I’m not coming to Botswana” until the harassment of the Bushmen stops.
The group’s president Stephen Corry called the move by the government of Botswana “illegal, inhumane and degrading”, reserving the worst attack for President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
“On its official tourism website, Botswana describes a trip through the CKGR as ‘the experience of travelling through truly untouched wilderness’ and shows an idyllic image of Bushmen in traditional dress. Unsurprisingly, no mention is made of the government’s attempts to force the last hunting Bushmen out of the reserve, in the name of conservation. Botswana’s President Ian Khama is a board member of US organization Conservation International and was awarded Honorary Membership of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)”, states the press statement from Survival International
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said this week, ‘It’s particularly galling to the Bushmen’s supporters that Botswana’s president is lauded by the tourism industry when his treatment of the tribe has been described as illegal, inhuman and degrading. Khama’s vindictive and cruel campaign is pushing the last hunting Bushmen to the brink of survival. Our message to all conscientious travelers? Holiday elsewhere until this horrific abuse ends.’
Corry claims that “Botswana is also cracking down on critical voices in the media. It recently pulled an ad from UK’s Geographical magazine after it published an article critical of its treatment of the Bushmen.”

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.