Location: Bomassa (Headquarters of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park), Republic of the Congo
Reports to: Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Director
Start Date: February 2022
Position type: Full-time position, February 2022 – April 2024
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wild places by understanding critical problems, developing scientific solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in the creation of more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships needed to ensure that wild places and animal species thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.
WCS Congo – Program Overview
Over the past 30 years, WCS Congo has been the Republic of the Congo (RoC) Government’s principle conservation partner, assisting the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in managing wildlife and its habitat in several of the country’s National Parks, reserves, and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites WCS is developing and implementing actions for effective wildlife protection; community based natural resource management; ecological monitoring; scientific research; and environmental education. The program is the largest in WCS’s global portfolio and reports to the Regional Program for Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea. WCS Congo’s current portfolio of programs includes the management of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) through a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Congo, wildlife management projects in the substantial buffer zones of the Park, co-management of Lac Tele Community Reserve, a national program to support reform of marine conservation and resource management, and a substantial policy support program to the central government in Brazzaville.
The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact lowland rainforest in northern Congo. The forest is part of the larger Sangha Trinational UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. The Park also contains forest clearings that offer a window into the lives of shy forest wildlife, creating fantastic opportunities for tourism development and conservation science.
Created in 1993, the NNNP and its buffer zone have benefited from 30 years of collaborative management between the Congolese Government and WCS to emerge as one of the most successful protected areas for the conservation of wildlife in Central Africa.
The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Tourism Development Manager will have responsibility for coordinating all tourism development activities in and around the Park. The focus will be the day-to-day management of the WCS field activities under a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded tourism development program. The goal of this USAID Environmental Partnerships Program (EPP) is to create the enabling conditions for NNNP to become a world-class tourism destination, with wildlife-based tourism products run by professional, ethical and profitable tourism operators. WCS is implementing this program in partnership with the Congo Conservation Company (CCC), a private tourism operator.
They will serve as an ‘on-the-ground’ first point of contact for CCC’s field teams, ensuring the smooth management of this relationship, and facilitating collaboration and cooperation to achieve program outcomes, while making sure that CCC comply with the terms of their concession agreement. Other responsibilities will include supporting new community tourism projects in nearby villages and managing existing Park hospitality activity.
The Tourism Development Manager will report to the Park Director, while working closely with the Program Manager for the USAID ‘Ndoki Tourism EPP’ program.
The Tourism Development Manager will deliver on the following principal responsibilities in full coordination with, and supported by, the WCS Congo and NNNP management teams:
Coordinate all tourism development activity in and around Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park:
• Maintain a positive and productive relationship with the Park’s tourism operators, facilitating cooperation wherever possible and practical. This will include facilitating site visits to the Park prior to the signing of the concession agreement, and paying particular attention to activities where there are overlapping needs between tourism operators and the Park (e.g. local recruitment and procurement, joint capacity building programs, etc.).
• Ensure that tourism operators and the Park management comply with the terms of the tourism concession agreements – particularly during the construction of tourism lodges by operators and during their future operations.
• Maintain a booking system for gorilla viewing permits, in collaboration with the Mondika field team.
• Oversee a system for tracking Park Entry Fees and Community Conservation Fees, in collaboration with tourism operators and the Park finance team.
• Identify media and marketing opportunities – and produce content – that promotes tourism to the Park, in collaboration with the Park’s tourism operators and the WCS Congo Communications Officer.
• Identify and facilitate the development of potential new tourism activities and products, working with the Park’s tourism operators.
• Maintain a close working relationship with all members of the Park management team, ensuring that tourism requirements are integrated into the day-to-day management of the Park.
Drive the development of community tourism projects in Park communities:
• Engage with local community tourism groups, supporting their operations and providing technical advice to community tourism businesses and tourism governance groups.
• Develop and implement training opportunities that build capacity in local communities, enabling them to more fully engage with emerging opportunities in the tourism sector.
• Initiate projects that raise awareness of future tourism activity within the Park’s communities.
Oversee the management of Park hospitality services:
• Coordinate the provision of hospitality services (including maintaining a booking system) for the Park HQ residents and ‘official Park visitors’ (donors, government officials, WCS staff).
• Support the Park finance team in tracking hospitality related costs and revenue.
Support the implementation and administration of the Ndoki Tourism EPP program:
• Collaborating with the Ndoki Tourism EPP Program Manager, the Park management team, tourism operators and local communities, support the implementation of the program’s technical activities in accordance with the program work plan.
• Support efforts to collect data on the progress of program activities, enabling monitoring and evaluation reporting requirements to be fulfilled.
• Make contributions to technical documentation (work plans, performance reports, etc.) for USAID and other donors.
Undertake any other relevant duties as may be needed.
Experience and capabilities
The experience and capabilities of the Tourism Development Manager should include:
• Qualifications and experience – A higher-education level qualification in tourism, hospitality or business management, or other relevant field experience in tourism and/or wildlife conservation is required.
• Preparedness to work in remote field locations with poor access to basic amenities is required. Experience working in the Central Africa region would be an advantage.
• Project management experience – Experience working in interdisciplinary and multicultural teams, managing several project activities simultaneously, delivering quality work on tight deadlines is required.
• Understanding of tourism and business practices and principles – Experience working in the private sector (particularly for tourism operators) would be preferred. Experience working with start-up businesses would be an advantage.
• Excellent communication skills – Demonstrated people skills, with an ability to interact with guests and other stakeholders to maintain favorable public relations is required.
• Language skills – Fluency in French and English is required. Skill in writing contributions to technical reports and other written products would be preferred.
Interested candidates who meet the above criteria are invited to submit their application (CV and cover letter with the contacts of three references) to [email protected]
Please indicate « RECRUITMENT NNNP Tourism Development Manager » in the subject line of your email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Deadline for applications: 31 December 2021