Conservation of biological diversity is one of the main elements of sustainable development, given that biodiversity is the basis of life on earth. The current and potential role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation cannot be overemphasized. The objective of the study was to provide protected area managers with new innovations in protecting area financing on how to improve and diversify funding sources, basically towards sustainable financing. This was a case study, using a qualitative research design where a purposive sample of various levels of management of the Swaziland National Trust Commission’s protected areas was selected for interviews. It can be concluded that the Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) has great potential for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in Swaziland, as well as venturing into tourism. However, the SNTC is faced with financing challenges and needs interim models to ensure sustainable financing through the transition phase (restructuring and commercialisation) which might take a long time. Seven recommendations were made. These are: development of a sustainable tourism framework; adopting a business approach; embarking on a joint natural product enterprise development; designing a set of criteria for a viable marketing strategy; considering project finance as an option; developing investment proposals; and a theoretical framework for long-term financing of SNTC’s protected areas.
Key words: Protected area, sustainable financing, tourism, international conventions, values, biodiversity, conservation, heritage.
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