A TOTAL of $65 million has been raised in revenues by players in the safari business this year with hunting having contributed the bulk of the money due to the influx of international visitors to the country, an official has said.
Report by Victoria Mtomba
Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ) chairman Emmanuel Fundira said hunting contributed $55 million to the total amount while photographic safari accounted for $10 million.
He said the photographic yields are five times less than yields from hunting safaris that cost $500 a day.
“Our revenues increased by 20% from last year when we recorded $45 million. Botswana closed its hunting safari while Zambia had its issues because it suspended 18 of its hunting areas. This resulted in international visitors coming to Zimbabwe,” Fundira said.
Fundira said the Save Conservancy issue has to be settled because no activity has been happening for the past two years in the area.
“If the Save Conservancy issue is not resolved the target for next year will be $60 million and it is most likely that Zambia will resolve its issues as well,” he said.
The safari sector has 65 big safari operators that have the big five animals namely the elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros. Medium size operators are 220 while small operators are over 1 000.
The big operators account for over 7% of the revenues. He said the capacity of the sector was below 82% due to lack of competitiveness.
Fundira said three hunting areas were auctioned this year and they include Chirisa, Deka and Chete. He said Deka was bought at $240 000 while the other two were not bought as they have lost value due to rampant poaching.
SOAZ is a private sector association that assists safari operators in the running of their operations countrywide.