The SADC-KAZA Transfontier Park Conference opened in the Victoria Falls resort area this Monday, with member countries expected to deliberate and work on a uni-visa system to facilitate free movement of people as well as the need for a continued marketing of the animal park to increase tourist arrivals.The conference brings together SADC ministers, among them those that form KAZA particularly Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.
In an interview, Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Francis Nhema, said the conference is expected to relook into the initiative, its success, failures and chat the way forward in a move aimed at creating a free trade area by opening up borders.
â€œThe conference has a lot to discuss among them the uni-visa system which will facilitate travel among tourists,â€ he said.
Also expected to take centre stage at the conference are issues to do with animal poaching which have become rampant in the region.
He added, â€œPoaching has become a big problem in the region. More still needs to be done to reduce such a problem as ministers meet in Victoria Falls this will be one of the issues on the cards.â€
The cornerstone of the KAZA-Transfontier Park in Okavango and Zambezi River region was laid in December 2006.
A feasibility study undertaken by the South Africa-based Peace Parks Foundation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa reports that the park could attract as many as eight million tourists to the region annually while creating employment for thousands of people.