Simone setting an example in tourism

Commitment making an impact
Simone Micheletti with his passion for tourism and conservation is making a mark in the sector and changing it for the better.
Ellanie Smit
His passion and dedication for tourism development and conservation in the Zambezi Region has been exemplary, making the commitment from Simone Micheletti from the Wildwaters Group an example to one and all.
Micheletti who is the chairperson of the Namibian Wetlands Route which through their members´ aim is to jointly promote the Zambezi Region and establish a sense of pride within their businesses, communities and government departments.
The route strives to conserve and promote sustainable tourism and the use of our land and water systems.
“We strive to work on the big issues of the region such as access, crime and letting the people in Namibia know where is Zambezi, because many people mix up where the regions of Zambezi and Kavango are,” said Micheletti.
“So it has been an educational process with institutions, partners and government.”
Micheletti further elaborated on the African Eden Tourism Association on which board he is as a community and conservation representative, which was started during Covid-19 between 2019/2020.
It has members across Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“It was created to see how the private sector could promote the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).”
According to Micheletti when it was started it was a group of about six individuals or companies that came in and provided funds and now there are more than 400 members.
“In the beginning it was more for marketing purposes, but now it is also focussing on organising trade shows.”
This year late November an event will be hosted in Swakopmund.
“It is working very well, because rather than us going to ITB in Berlin for a tourism show or an indaba, which is already spending a huge amount of money, we are getting the tour operators we are interested in into the location, into the spots to visit the places we want to showcase.
“These shows are three or four days, meeting face to face, but before or after that there are tours where they can experience first-hand the lodges and places.”
Micheletti is also involved with the Zambezi Anti-Poaching Support Team (ZAST) which is part of Rooikat.
However according to him Rooikat focusses more on high-value species, rhino horns and ivory, while little effort was really being placed on the poaching of zebra, bush meat, impala and buffalo.
“So with ZAST we came up with the concept of where the private sector puts in donations and membership fees to use for informants in poaching cases. Rooikat is making sure that this money is being used in a transparent manner. So it is a network for information to expose poaching, but not the high-value species.”
He encourages the private sector in the Zambezi Region to give back more to the sector.
Furthermore there he is also the Zambezi Tourism Forum that has been set up for the private sector and all stakeholders such as police and immigration officials to meet and discuss any problem. This can be from noise pollution around lodges, crime or even friendliness at the border.
Wild Waters is a sustainable tourism orientated umbrella company comprising four award-winning Camps and Lodges, namely Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge, Serondela Lodge, Jackalberry Tented Camp and Rupara Rest Camp.