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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Nkwe! Declaration: A Collaborative Force for Eswatini Tourism

The Nkwe! Declaration is a significant initiative by the Eswatini Government as it underscores Government’s commitment to sustainable development across various sectors. This declaration reiterates aspirations outlined in the Eswatini’s National Development Plan 2023-2028 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-2025. By harmonising national goals with these frameworks, Eswatini aims to foster collaboration and drive positive change in tourism and other vital areas.

Eswatini Government’s Nkwe! Declaration is expected to set the course for Eswatini’s tourism sector, with the appointment of Vusi Norman Dlamini as the new CEO of the Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) sparking a wave of optimism within the industry. Early indications suggest a strong focus on collaboration as a key driver to stimulate inbound travel demand, sustained revenue growth and improved livelihoods.

Let’s explore how Nkwe’s vision might align with collaborative tourism initiatives.

Potential Areas of Collaboration in Nkwe’s Declaration

Collaboration is an imperative and a crucial success factor for sustained growth of the sector. The inherent nature of tourism is that it is not an industry as such but a collection of interrelated industries, characterised by strong economic linkages with other economic sectors. This then compels entities such as the ETA to prioritise formation and operationalisation of existing collaborative networks across sectors and destinations. Areas for improved collaborative systems include:

  • Public-Private Partnerships: Forging strong partnerships between the ETA, private tourism businesses, local communities, and conservation organizations is crucial. Such collaboration leads to effective marketing campaigns, joint destination development projects, and the creation of sustainable tourism experiences.
  • Community-Based Tourism: Empowering local communities through tourism initiatives is a win-win scenario. The aim is to advocate for supporting community-owned lodges, craft markets, and cultural experiences, ensuring local communities benefit directly from tourism and become active stakeholders in its success. This in turn has potential to create community-based employment and improve livelihoods in those communities.
  • Cross-Border Collaboration: Eswatini’s tourism industry stands to flourish through collaborations with neighbouring countries in Southern Africa. The development of regional tourism packages, promoting multi-destination itineraries and working together on joint marketing efforts to attract international visitors. It also emphasizes the importance of ensuring smooth movement of tourists through the ports of entry, hence the need for all border-based stakeholders to play their role in giving a royal experience to our travelers.
  • Sustainability Collaboration: Sustainable tourism practices are no longer an option, but a necessity. Primary is the need for Eswatini to recognized as sustainable tourist destination, steered by tourism products that are globally certified with green destination standards.  Thus, the Nkwe’s declaration advocates for demonstrated leadership in the journey towards an eco-destination and ongoing collaboration among stakeholders in the tourism sphere.

Benefits of Collaboration in Eswatini Tourism

By fostering collaboration across various sectors, Eswatini’s tourism industry stands to achieve significant growth:

  • Enhanced Visitor Experience: Collaboration and cooperation lead to development of more enriching and diverse tourism experiences, catering to a wider range of interests.
  • Resource Optimisation: By working together, stakeholders can avoid duplication of efforts and optimize the use of resources for marketing, infrastructure development, and capacity building.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Partnerships foster a breeding ground for innovation. Working together, stakeholders can develop new tourism products, explore creative marketing strategies and identify solutions to industry challenges.
  • Community Upliftment: When local communities are active participants in tourism initiatives, they benefit economically and culturally. Collaboration ensures tourism development is inclusive and contributes to poverty alleviation.

Here are some of the collaborative community tourism projects in the Kingdom of Eswatini that ETA supports:

Mahamba Gorge

Explore the breath-taking Mahamba Gorge, a natural wonder with cascading waterfalls and lush vegetation. Hike the trails with local guides from the community, who offer insights into the area’s plants, animals, and cultural significance. Tourism revenue supports community projects and conservation efforts.

Ngwempisi Hiking Trails

Situated in Velezizweni in Mankayane, this place offers breath-taking landscapes, a true testament to the natural wonders and scenic beauty of Eswatini. Nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers are free to make a remarkable journey through the heart of the country’s diverse terrain.

Khopho Backpackers

Nestled in the heart of Etjebovu, Khopho Backpackers is a community-run lodge offering affordable accommodations for budget travellers. This sight to behold, boasts of paranomic views of Ngwempisi wilderness.

Mhlumeni Bush Camp

This is a bushy spectacular situated on a gently undulating plateau atop of the hugely biodiverse Lubombo mountains. It overlooks the dramatic Mhlabashana Gorge and has magnificent views over the Mozambican coastal plains to the North- East and Mlawula with the Eswatini Lowveld to the west. The community is almost entirely bordered by Mlawula Nature Reserve. Access to the community and camp is just of the road between the town of Siteki and the Mhlumeni (Goba) border to Mozambique

These collaborative projects are a great way to experience Eswatini’s natural beauty and rich culture while directly giving back to local communities.

Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) continues to drive its mandate to encourage responsible travel in the Kingdom of Eswatini and promotes Eswatini as a preferred destination.