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SVG National Parks Authority planning with Tourism in mind

SVG National Parks Authority planning with Tourism in mind

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30.NOV.07 by Andrew Wilson

Through this medium, Tourism Week 2007 provides the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority with a timely opportunity due to the linkages with the Tourism Industry, the Authority’s current focus and the need to inform the public of the work of a relatively new entity.{{more}}

The National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority became operational as a statutory body at the beginning of January 2007. The legal basis for the establishment and functioning of the Authority is provided for by the National Parks Act of 2002.

During the period 2002 to 2007, a National Parks Unit existed in the Ministry of Tourism as the forerunner to the present Authority. Prior to this period, Parks and Recreation related work was undertaken by the Forestry Department, which saw early initiatives to develop some of the current nature tourism recreation sites such as Vermont Nature Trail, Falls of Baleine and Owia Salt Pond, among others.

As indicated earlier in this article, the National Parks Authority work is guided by the National Parks Act, 2002. It is useful here to highlight a number of the responsibilities that are catered for in this Act. These include, among others:

l To advocate and promote conservation;

l To foster the use of natural and historic resources for recreation and tourism;

l To establish priorities and mechanisms for selecting, establishing and managing a national park;

l To supervise the operation of a system of national parks;

l To ensure permanent protection of species and habitats, especially species which are threatened, rare, endemic, and commercial species and representative habitats;

l To operate and provide for the operation of facilities for national park enjoyment and for tourism;

l To regulate the exploitation in national parks and their adjacent buffer zones

To a great extent, the work of the National Parks Authority will involve the management of protected areas that fulfils a wide range of functions and provides benefits to our nation, both material and non-material. This the National Parks Authority hopes to achieve through the implementation of the EU funded Tourism Development Project that will help develop the capacity of the Authority as a management institution, along with other associated work to implement a System of National Parks and Protected Areas. There is also a requirement for close collaboration with other protected areas, agencies and partnership with communities for the co-management sites.

A key focus of the National Parks Authority would entail ensuring that through planned development works at sites, enhanced management regimes at a site specific level and at a wider framework level through the National Parks System plan that our natural biodiversity assets and heritage can be conserved and utilized in a sustainable manner. This can be achieved through adherence to international standards and best practices, delivery of quality services and products and with effective monitoring and evaluation. Ultimately, from a tourism point of view as one of the many beneficiaries from a protected areas system, this year’s theme that speaks to building a culture of service excellence is quite relevant.

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