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Tourism, and especially ecotourism - is frequently held out as a stimulant for economic growth in rural areas in many developing countries, including those in Southern Africa.

INDEX has been involved in all levels of ecotourism development. This includes policy formulation; development of implementing strategies; identification of the tourism asset base; structuring marketing programmes; creating and conducting community awareness programmes; interacting with communities; establishing community institutional structures; creating operating business partnerships as well as detail planning of recreation facilities.

It has been the experience of INDEX that long-term sustainability can only be achieved by ensuring that affected communities perceive that they benefit from tourism and can only be done by including all stakeholders in the decision-making process.

INDEX has a wealth of practical experience in delivering ecotourism projects, amongst others the EIA, planning, management and policy formulation of the Elephant Coast Conservancy, a trans-frontier Peace Park of 230 000ha in Mozambique.

Other completed projects include:

  • A tourism development at Belfast for Troutmere which includes 23 full title stands and a lodge of 24 chalets a conservation area of 850ha.

  • An ecotourism resort with trout streams, horseback trails, 4x4 trails and indigenous forests on a farm of 2 000ha on the banks of the Komati River at Badplaas, South Africa.

  • South Eastern Region Masterplan: Tourism status quo and Tourism Development Masterplan for the Ministry of Lands & Housing, Republic of Botswana.

  • The evaluation of land use options for Manyeleti & Andover Nature Reserves and commercialisation of tourism opportunities within the reserves for the Limpopo Provincial Department of Economic Affairs & Tourism, South Africa.

  • Development proposals for Digger's Valley, a tourism project at Pilgrim's Rest, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.