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Controversy over Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Awards
Wilderness Safaris won this year's award in the Health Initiatives category for its HIV/AIDS program, which includes the construction of clinics in South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi. Now Survival International, which supports the rights of indigenous peoples, says Wilderness Safaris falls short of its image as positive force in the community.
It points to its new luxury lodge, the Kalahari Plains Camp, set on the traditional lands of the Bushmen in Botswana. The lodge boasts a bar and swimming pool while the Bushmen have to walk for miles to get water. The local people used to have a well, but the government capped it when it kicked the Bushmen off the land in 2002. Survival International and the Bushmen went to court and won the right for the Bushmen to return to their lands, but the government still won't allow them to reopen the well.
Wilderness Safaris says providing water isn't their responsibility, but Survival International points out that they constructed a well near one of their resorts in Zimbabwe in order to attract more wildlife.
How much responsibility does a resort have to the local community? Tell us what you think in the comments section.
[Photo courtesy Ian Beatty]