The aim of this strategic eco-tourism development plan was to identify achievable tourism developments within the physical, ecological, cultural-historical, marketing and socio-economic realities, constraints and opportunities of the Barberton Complex of Nature Reserves. In particular, the plan concerns the three Nature Reserves of the Barberton Complex, namely Songimvelo Nature Reserve, Mountainlands Nature Reserve and Barberton Nature Reserve, managed by the Mpumalanga Parks Board (Now called Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency).
It is key to a successful eco-tourism development plan that not only an internal focus be applied, but that the external factors are also fully incorporated. The internal focus must ensure the identification of realistic, achievable development opportunities within the conservation, environmental and physical constraints of the Reserves in question. The external focus must ensure that the opportunities identified are realistic in terms of current and expected market demand. The proposed concept that integrates the internal and external elements must go further than only ensure greater income. It must also address the very real socio-economic aspirations and need for community beneficiation.
This study laid the foundations of the Integrated Development Plan of the Mountainlands Nature Reserve, especially from the perspective of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency who are a partner in the reserve. The Integrated Development Plan of the reserve will be reviewed and updated periodically. The next review is currently being undertaken, for completion in late 2011.