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Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

Maun, Botswana
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Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

Survival International has called a boycott of tourists visiting Botswana because of the Botswana Government's treatment of the Bushman.

Two Travel Companies have already responded by cancelling bookings, and refusing to accept new bookings (I have to say I have never even heard of the two - Travelpickr and Horizonte Paralelo).

Understandably Botswana Lodge owners are (without identifying themselves) screaming this action is unfair and unwarranted.

Although I have enormous sympathy for the Bushmen and their plight, I also sympathise for the many thousands of Batswana who could lose their jobs and livelihood if this boycott campaign is successful.

What do the TA forum contributors think?

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Navarre, Florida
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1. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

Unfair...unless you agree it would be fair to boycott America because of how the Native Americans are treated in the Dakotas (even now)? I think if more people see for themselves...the better. We always need light and that happens when we see for ourselves and share our personal experience.

Naracoorte
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2. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

No it doesn't have merit in my opinion although I also have serious concerns regarding the long term dis-empowerment and dispossession of the Bushman people. As I answered this elsewhere (LP?), boycotts rarely impact on those that you wish to influence yet directly impact those who have had no direct input into the situation you are opposing. A boycott could see many, many locals lose employment and for each of those the supported extended family and the local economies will also suffer which hurts everyday people not those in power. There are other means to bring pressure to bear on the government which I believe would be more appropriate.

Namibia
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3. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

No merit at all. In fact, I do not know of anywhere in Botswana where the Bushmen are maltreated or treated as tourist objects. To my knowledge, the Botswana government do not encourage this at all.

I agree with "tryhard" that the only people who would suffer would be the locals who loose employment.

In fact, in some ways it is a very good thing. Bushmen earn money and looked after, they share their knowledge with others, create job opportunities and general well being.

Danie Steyn - Africa Tours and safaris

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Maun, Botswana
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4. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

The problem arises from the fact that the Bushmen have been relocated from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and are prevented from traditional subsistence hunting or using a bore hole to draw water.

They took their case to the Botswana High Court, and won on two occasions, but the Government continue to breach the Court Order

The reason I assume, that they are targeting tourism is because a Lodge was built, and the area designated a tourist area, and they don't want tourists to see the Bushmen in their natural habitat, but in 'reservations' built for them, and where they do not wish to live

So they have tried other ways before calling a boycott, and the problem has arisen entirely due to tourism.

What else could we do to assist the Bushmen without resorting to a boycott of all tourism in Botswana

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Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game...
Ghanzi District, Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana
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5. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

"and the problem has arisen entirely due to tourism. " - not quite true as, despite all the Govt claims that it was not for diamond or other mineral wealth exploration, it was, and a number of exploration licences were granted/sold in the area.

Stanley, Falkland...
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6. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

I think there is a genuine grievance. Diamond mines don't want people in the area using up valuable water,. The bushmen don't want to move.

But I don't think a boycott is the answer. I think it's imposing a set of values on a foreign country, which should be able to manage its disputes itself. Botswana has been a shining light of democracy compared to most countries.

Treating it as a leper, is likely to alienate its citizens. It is not a vile dictatorship.

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Nairobi, Kenya
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7. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

I personally feel that the worst thing that we can do is to boycott Botswana because of the issue. I have met bushmen who work in the tourism industry, and therefore would be subject to losing their incomes if not their jobs. The Batswana are very proud of their democracy, and having a government that sincerely is trying to do it's best for it's people.

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Nashville, Tennessee
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8. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

If you boycott and take tourism dollars away, then the mining and diamond industry will have MORE power because their money will be MORE needed. It will have little, if any affect in a positive way. It will have far reaching negative impact on the many individuals in the tourism industry and probably a negative affect on the game. The best thing is for the government to see preservation as a large source of revenue and for tourism to be a bigger industry. Lessening the money from tourism will have a negative impact on tourisms impact and preservation.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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9. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

The call for a tourism boycott has at least the merit of drawing attention to the plight of the indigenous people of the Kalahari in Botswana. Whether or not you agree that it is useful to boycott Botswana because the government is dispossessing a minority population, you can not say that you did not know . Perhaps you should go and see for yourself. Perhaps you should seek out information to make an informed decision. Everyone must follow their own conscience.

geographical.co.uk/Magazine/Botswana_Bushmen…

www.sundaystandard.info/article.php…

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Horsham, United...
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10. Re: Does the call for Tourists to boycott Botswana have merit?

I sympathise with the Theory admire the idealism, but in reality this is Tokenism. Be of greater value boycotting beef !

I feel greater support for Botswana's total ban on all and any Commercial Hunting (what some euphemistically refer to as Sport).

Now that is progress - Yes, it isn't perfect and poaching and illegal hunting will still carry-on, but it a move in the right direction.