That recommendation sparked an immediate reaction from Zimbabwe hunting professionals, who accused us of "destroying" the industry. They went on to ask us to allow the industry trade group, ZATSO (Zimbabwe Association of Tourist and Safari Operators), to post an opposing statement on our web site.
Eager to provide a balanced view of the pros and cons of booking a hunt to Zimbabwe this year, we agreed to the request. A statement from ZATSO Chief Executive George Pangeti appears on page 3 of this issue, and in the "World Hunting Update" section of our web site.
With all due respect to our many friends in Zimbabwe, here at The Hunting Report on January 29, 2002, we disagree with ZATSO on the advisability of sending significant funds to Zimbabwe right now, and we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't say so. Our concern is what happens in Zimbabwe if the outcome of the upcoming election is not acceptable to the majority of Zimbabweans. Right now, it appears to us that such an outcome may be on the horizon.
We hope critics of our position will note that we are not redlining Zimbabwe, or urging clients to stay away. We are only recommending that full payment for 2002 safaris be withheld for a little over a month. If the situation in Zimbabwe rights itself after the election, there will be ample time to send full hunt payments before the season starts. We hope it is apparent to all that we do not make this........(continued)