Responsible tourism: Africa vacation on a shoestring
How our company is making a difference: We know that making the positive difference we aim to achieve will not be an easy task. However, our enthusiasm and commitment towards our travel responsibility mission is far stronger than any obstacles. We believe that in order to achieve any objective, the company has to have accurate policies and procedures for the employees and the guests to follow in order to reach our goal.
We have decided that the environment is a major component of any local community and any negative effect on the environment would directly have an impact on the lives of the inhabitants of the local community. Therefore, we have drawn up a strict environmental protection policy that all our employees and travelers have to abide by. For example, we recycle empty ink cartridges. A company collects them and disposes of them the correct manner.
Namibia is an arid area, which means the sources of fresh water are scarce. Travelers are encouraged not to take long showers and they are also briefed at all times of the negative causes that throwing trash in water sources may cause. Also, we brief them with simple ways of saving water, such as not keeping the tap running when they brush their teeth.
In Botswana, the major environmental problem is drought. Travelers are briefed at how vital it is so save water as much as possible when touring through this country.
Through this trip, the travelers will encounter wild life. They are strongly encouraged not to litter by any means. If one of these animals consume the litter, death is the most likely cause. Also, we never encourage travelers to feed the smaller animals such as monkeys and birds. This tames them to a certain degree, which could result in them getting hurt or even hurting the travelers. Lastly, we encourage them to go back home and spread the world of wild life conservation in terms of protecting the natural habitat, not littering, and possibilities of wild life sponsorship.
For us, Responsible Travel is the only way to travel.
Throughout our long tourism business journey, exceeding 15 years of travel operation, we have succeeded in establishing strong links with the communities we are dealing with in the host destinations.
We believe that the Responsible Travel concept has to be a two-way strategy with both the travelers and the local community gaining benefits. We benefit the local communities we visit using a wide scope of activities that have a positive impact on the local economy, directly by donating money to charity organizations, financially supporting some local communities and by recruiting employees who belonging to the local community. We encourage our guests to buy local products and make use of services that people local community offer. We help indirectly through capacity building projects we implement with our employees and through the experiences and culture exchanges that take place between the locals and the travelers during our tours.
We promise to support the local community of every destination we take our travelers to. We will do this by employing local guides, using local handicraft shops and recommend shops to our travelers so that their vacation spending contributes to the people of that country. Furthermore, we provide each traveler with a tipping guide. By doing this we set a concept of tipping and gratuity for every person who will offer a form of service to the traveler.
We have also considered the social aspect of the local community and how to respect the customs and traditions of the inhabitants helping us operate our tours. We always provide our guests with all the information needed to understand the community they are visiting and we create valuable opportunities for the travelers and the locals to mingle and exchange ideas and thoughts.
The first objective is to operate our tours in the most perfect way possible. Our second objective, but not second in importance, is to benefit the local community, protect the environment, and have a positive social impact on the inhabitants living in our host destinations. One of the ways of doing this is to inform and educate our travelers on the cultures of the destinations. By doing this we aim to create a form of respect between the travelers and the local citizens who they will face along their tour.
We educate all our staff on the real life situations of each destination. Sales consultants will use this information to inform potential travelers of the correct information and threats that they may face. By creating long lasting relationships with our local ground handlers, we are able to establish what needs the community has and through their information we can inform our travelers what they can contribute to the local community from their home countries.
The concept of community support tourism is very big in Namibia. Tourists who visit this country are encouraged to support the handful of associations by means of funds and physical donations. Buying handicrafts that are specifically displayed by these associations, are also for the benefit of the community.
In Botswana, the upbringing of children has taken high priority. Travelers are encouraged to bring with them children’s books. One of the most valuable, and free, gifts one can give is to spend some five minutes with these friendly little people. It would mean the world to them.