Trophy hunting is worth exceedingly more to the South African economy than previously thought – as much as R1.98 billion if not more.
This is according to a new study headed by Professor Peet van der Merwe of the research unit Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES), in collaboration with the Professional Hunters of South Africa (PHASA).
The research aimed to determine the profile of trophy hunters in South Africa, their spending patterns, their reason for hunting, their hunting patterns as well as the economic impact of trophy hunting on South Africa.
The study further evaluated what the most popular species for hunting are and what species generated the most income.
“Our research, which was mainly focused and foreign tourists or hunters, showed that hunters spend an average of $10,300 per hunting trip – about R134,500,” said Van der Merwe.
“The previous study we conducted in 2013 was not nearly as extensive and showed that that trophy hunting contributed R1.3 billion to the economy. Although a lot, we underestimated the value.”
“It also means the market should also stop underestimating hunters. They are not unwise. They don’t want to be duped into a fake hunting experience, they want an authentic African hunting experience. With increasing competition from Namibia, the industry cannot allow missteps like these and must provide quality hunting packages and experiences. Therefore nature and authentic hunts are important,” he said.
According to the survey, the top five game species that were hunted in 2015/16 include: impala, warthog, springbok, kudu and blesbok.
The top five game species that generated the most income were buffalo, lion, sable, kudu and nyala.
The three most popular provinces for trophy hunting were Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and the North West.
The average spending of trophy hunters, including game hunted and general spending in South Africa, amounted to $20,135 (R261,761.63).
This excludes the travel cost to SA of $5,068 (R68,527).
If this is multiplied by the number of respondents (362) to the study, it amounts to $7,289,054 (R94,757,710).
The total economic contribution of trophy hunting to the South African economy is therefore estimated to be $130,880,815 (7,600 hunters x $20,135.51) or R1.989 billion.
A split of the data shows that trophy hunters spend a total of R1.02 Billion on the game being hunted, and R967 Million on other general aspects such as transport and accommodation.
The majority of respondents in the study were male (97%) with an average age of 61 years, while 41% of respondents had obtained a diploma or degree, followed by 30% who obtained a post-graduate degree and 19% who obtained a professional education.
Respondents from the USA formed the majority of the sample with 86%, followed by 6% from Canada and 2% from South Africa.
Other counties included Germany, Grenada, Ireland, Norway, Spain and Switzerland.
Half of the respondents (51%) had one hunter accompanying them on their hunting trip, followed by 40% who had two to five hunters accompanying them.
32% of respondents indicated that they stayed 10 to 12 nights at their hunting destination, followed by 26% who stayed between seven and eight nights and 13% who stayed between 13 and 15 nights.