SADC launches toolbox for cross-border tourism in TFCAs

Steve Collins's picture
30 November 2023

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has launched a toolbox to guide the development of cross-border tourism products in Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). The toolbox was developed with the support of the German International Cooperation (GIZ), which assists the SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Directorate in implementing protocols and strategies for natural resource management.

TFCAs are areas that span across the boundaries of two or more countries and are managed collaboratively for conservation and development purposes. SADC has identified TFCAs as potential instruments for promoting regional integration, collaborative tourism and rural development, and has developed a SADC Programme for TFCAs in 2013. The programme aims to promote SADC as a model of community centred, regionally integrated and sustainably managed network of world-class transfrontier conservation areas.

The toolbox was developed in response to the need identified by the SADC TFCA Network in 2016 for a practical and evidence-based guidance on how to develop cross-border tourism products that align with the goals and objectives of TFCA agreements, conservation agencies and the private sector, and with the principles of sustainable tourism. The toolbox also aims to reduce risks to the private sector, TFCAs, host communities and the environment, and to provide case study examples of good practices and challenges.

The toolbox was developed through an iterative process of literature review and stakeholder consultation and review, involving policymakers, cross-border tourism product owners and developers, and international and regional tour operators. A Situational Analysis Report (SAR) was prepared to support the development of the toolbox, which provided a review of existing cross-border tourism products, processes, and options for the future. The toolbox was reviewed and validated by SADC representatives at a workshop.

The toolbox covers the geographical scope of SADC countries and the type of TFCAs that are predominately terrestrial, but also includes information that could be relevant to marine TFCAs. The types of cross-border tourism products addressed are those that are made possible by TFCA structures, such as annual or bi-annual events and cross-border tourism circuits. The toolbox provides a step-by-step process to develop cross-border tourism products with associated templates, and is structured as follows:

  • Introduction: Provides the background, process of development, scope and structure of the toolbox.
  • Cross-border tourism products in TFCAs: Provides an overview of the concept, benefits, challenges and opportunities of cross-border tourism products in TFCAs.
  • Step-by-step process for developing cross-border tourism products in TFCAs: Provides a detailed guidance on the steps involved in developing cross-border tourism products in TFCAs, from the initial idea to the implementation and monitoring.
  • Annexes: Provide additional information and resources, such as case studies, templates, checklists, and references.

The toolbox is intended to be a simple, clear, reliable, applicable, flexible, and concise guidance for the development of cross-border tourism products in TFCAs, and to support the implementation of SADC protocols, programmes and strategies relating to TFCAs, including their conservation and development objectives. The toolbox is available on the SADC website.