http://showme.co.za/nelspruit/news/knp- ... ury-style/
This from a small publication...but maybe important!:
KNP conservation not to be conducted in 15th century style.
Date: September 26, 2013 | Posted in Nelspruit News | News | The Write News Agency
SANParks has set the record straight by saying that a certain concerned group whose gripe is on the hotel development in the Kruger National Park (KNP), have buried their heads in the sand thinking that conservation should still be conducted the way it was in the 15th century.
The statement released on 25 September, addressed an application by AIKONA (Against Interference In Kruger And Our Other Nature Assets) to the Public Protector regarding the hotel development and other issues.
“This is the 21st century and we have diverse needs from current paying clients and those needs have to be fulfilled if we are going to continue having viable protected areas. They (AIKONA) always throw mud in the hope that some of it will stick,” Ike Phaahla, media specialist at KNP said in the statement.
The Write News Agency spoke to AIKONA convenor, Gerhard Smit who explained the situation.
“We are concerned because there is no space in KNP for hotels and we cannot find any proof that there is a market for these luxury hotels. According to our knowledge and research, tourists want KNP to stay the way it is. The hotels will cause KNP to lose its charm and for that reason we made our voices heard to the Public Protector,” Smit said.
Smit raised another issue of the death of several Gemsbokke in August 2012 in detention camps due to Anthrax. “These animals need not have died. If they were taken care of properly, this would not have happened. Their carcasses were as dry as biltong!” Smit said.
Ever since the announcement that there will be luxury hotels erected in KNP to meet the demand of tourist influx, several groups similar to AIKONA have raised their concerns for the environment and questioned the impact these structures will have.
During a telephonic interview, Phaahla said that the contractors for both the hotels in Malelane and Skukuza have been appointed.
“This hotel development is going to happen and we are not going to go back. All the necessary applications have been done and funds have been raised. The construction will begin shortly,” Phaahla said.
The Write News Agency spoke to Giju Zarghese, head of the business development unit of SANparks and he said they are looking forward to this project.
“We got a lot on our hands but we are looking forward to this. We plan to build more rooms at the current Skukuza conference centre and will name it the Skukuza Conference Safari Lodge. This will mainly be rented out for scientific conferences and other events. The current problem with the conference venue is that there is never any rooms for conference goers to overnight in and this will address the demand,” said Zarghese.
Zarghese explained that the rooms at the Safari Lodge will be build in close proximity as to decrease the footprint visitors will leave on the environment. With regard to the hotel in Malelane, Zarghese said that Scandinavian hotel giant, the Radisson, will erect the world’s most environmentally friendly hotel there. He could not confirm a date when they will start with the construction but said it will commence soon.
– The Write News Agency
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