African Nature Based Tourism Platform

The COVID-19 crisis has crippled economies and industries all over the world, and nature-based tourism (NBT) has been one of the leading economic casualties. For many eastern and southern African countries, this means a significant loss of funding for their conservation operations, local community livelihoods, and tourism enterprises. Emergency relief funds are available, however there exists an unequal distribution in the losses incurred by the African tourism industry, and difficulty in gaining access to available resources for those most in need, particularly marginalized rural communities and small and medium nature-based tourism enterprises (SMEs). From a funder perspective, there is poor coordination of information and funding opportunities, and weak alignment to real needs on the ground.

In response, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an African Nature-Based Tourism Collaborative Platform is being developed to connect funders to the communities and small and medium enterprises most in need of funding support. Using a bottom-up approach, the platform will gather data on impacts to communities and SMEs from the COVID-19 crisis, enhance knowledge sharing between relevant actors, facilitate the development of funding proposals from communities and SMEs, and make these available to relevant donors.

The project conduct surveys to further quantify and qualify the specific impacts of COVID-19 on women and men in local communities and SMEs, using a bottom-up approach. This will include gathering baseline information (identification, geographic area, land tenure, conservation contribution, ownership, employment, sources of revenue, financial information, etc. – sexdisaggregated where appropriate) as well as information on the impacts of COVID-19 (existing
measures, current support, support needed by women and men, financial gap, etc.).
Data collection from communities will be conducted using surveys administered by existing national level CBNRM networks that support and represent community-based conservation efforts in most of the 11 countries. Eastern and southern Africa are well known for their capacities in the realm of community-based conservation and natural resource conservation and management. Over the years a number of national networks have been established, and they will be enlisted in this project to help provide critical linkages between community beneficiaries and the platform.

In majority of GEF funds will be focused on community members, who do not have the same technological access as SMEs. NCONGO received a sub-grant to conduct inclusive data collection, process and verify the data including disaggregation by sex, and upload the data to the platform. This platform assist organisation with capacity to access funding opportunity.