Media storm over Zambian plan for hotel

{ Posted on Aug 13 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

A media storm apparently driven by South African 4X4 enthusiasts and an assortment of ill-informed “conservationists” has erupted over plans announced last year to build a hotel near the Mana Pools National Park in Zambia.

Protea Hotels is conducting an official environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the area, and is in regular dialogue with key authorities from the local community and many are reported to be in favour of the proposed development.

Protea Hotels is committed to the communities in which it operates and has a comprehensive environmental policy which it operates across its network of hotels. It says that recent claims that the development of the hotel will damage the local environment and contravene Zambian law are regrettable as they are wholly incorrect.

“The conservation and preservation of the Zambian cultural and environmental landscape as well as the protection of a world heritage site, the ‘Mana Pools National Park’ is of paramount importance and will not be placed in jeopardy by Protea Hotels development,” the Cape Town-based hotel management company said.

The plan for the proposed development features a hotel with 144 beds but there is view that a smaller hotel would be more appropriate.

However, the Kafue district commissioner, Winford Ngoma, is reported to have cautioned tour operators and others opposing the development that the area and the country would only develop when investors came in. Some lodge owners in the area had done little to change the lives of people in the area, he said.

South African environmentalists and conservationists are concerned that 4X4 and other off-road vehicle lobby groups, who often show no consideration for the environment, seem to oppose the development for entirely selfish reasons.

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