World heritage site managers and tourism stakeholders from Zambia and Zimbabwe came together for the first time to initiate the process to develop a sustainable tourism strategy for the Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls World Heritage site. The workshop was held in Livingstone, Zambia from 22 to 24 January 2015.
The workshop takes place within the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme. A key goal of the project is to provide capacity building tools and strategies for site managers to help them manage tourism at their sites more sustainably. Victoria Falls is one of four priority Africa nature sites included in the initial phase of the project. Others sites include Maloti-Drakensberg Park in South Africa/Lesotho, Lake Malawi National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.
The African World Heritage Fund is spearheading the implementation of the project working closely with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO field offices in Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Funding for the project is made possible by the generous support of the Government of Flanders (Belgium).
Utilizing the online capacity building tool (“How To” Guides) developed for UNESCO by Rebanks Consulting, the group worked through a series of lectures and exercises to determine the strategic issues and actions that will form the foundation for the sustainable tourism strategy. The tool will be further tested and refined through this process.
The guides underwent a similar testing process last year led by the Nordic World Heritage Foundation in 15 pilot sites in the Nordic/Baltic region. This Nordic/Baltic project also produced an analytical framework which can be used to develop a baseline for assessing the sustainability of tourism management at a World Heritage property and will be introduced in the Africa nature sites.
The participants agreed to meet again in Livingstone in May for next workshop where they will finalize the strategy for the Victoria Falls destination.