SATSA to fine tune animal interaction in the tourism industry. File pic.

The voice against tourism experiences that include animal interactions has grown louder and louder and this has impacted on how South Africa is being perceived as a tourism destination.

Keira Powers, Chairperson of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) Animal Interaction Committee said “As the leading inbound tourism association, SATSA has been tasked by its members to develop guidelines for animal interactions in tourism. The Animal Interaction research is member mandated, board approved and being run in partnership with South African Tourism.” adds Powers

Providing the tourism industry with a useful tool by which to evaluate and select animal interaction activities in the tourism space, has moved a step closer with the completion of national public consultation workshops conducted by the SATSA. 

The ten workshops, held over the past two months, were conducted across the country and all provinces and form part of the public consultation phase of SATSA’s Animal Interaction Study.

To ensure all stakeholders affected by, or with an interest in, animal interactions within the wider tourism industry are included, and to allow an opportunity for input for those who couldn’t make it to the workshops, SATSA  has made  the content of the workshop available online. 

The organisation added that their aim was to ensure that the process is fair and comprehensive, and that it is cognisant of all the complexities involved in the tourism industry. 

SATSA added that although it has taken on this endeavour, it is acting as an impartial arbiter that is seeking an ethics-based solution, by the tourism industry, for the tourism industry. 

The information acquired from the workshops and this questionnaire, along with further research (including analysis of legislation and regulations, consultation with key organisations, market and trends assessments among others) will be used to develop guidelines for animal interactions in tourism. A draft of this will be shared in the future for public comment, the press release said. 

To see the questionnaire, click here. All those interested in completing the survey should do so by April 30.