Being very young then ... Can anyone tell me how many overseas visitors we had back in the day?
I have a feeling that it has increased a lot since then ... (which is ALWAYS a good thing ... except if you are a hunter).
I suspect that there were not too many overseas visitors as long-haul air fares were unaffordable by most ordinary folk - whereas now we can get some great deals thanks to deregulation (in the UK at least) and competition among the airlines.
It is actually cheaper now for me to visit SA for 2 weeks (especially if those 2 weeks were spent in Kruger) than to have 2 weeks in a UK resort or to go to the Med, for example.
I cannot comment on what has changed as I have only been a visitor to Kruger since 2000 but some of the posts on this subject make me wish that I could have afforded it long ago - especially when it was only dirt roads and had less traffic. Thanks (sic) to those who have posted their reminiscences - you have made me very jealous!
While I agree W@H, on the hunters thing - hunting is not my 'bag' - it is hard to dismiss the fact that it is an important aspect of the SA wildlife industry - one that brings in millions of dollars and contributes in a much bigger way than eco-tourism (I think that the financial ratio is approximately 9:1 in favour of hunting) to the SA economy.
There are far more people employed in the hunting industry than in the eco-tourism one if you consider not only the employees needed for the hunt and hospitality, but also those involved in the proccessing and sale of the meat, the marketing of the skins, the taxidermists and those who arrange the hunting trips. I am sure there are others gainfully employed in the industry who I have forgotten about and not mentioned!
Like it or hate it - and I hate it - if it were not for hunting there would actually be fewer wildlife areas available for the animals because arable and livestock farming is, generally, more profitable and less hassle than eco-tourism.
Many farms now employ both means of income but keep the hunting lodges and areas well away from the eco-tourists in order not to offend their sensitivities.