Responsible tourism: Garden Route tour, South Africa
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.
All our travelers should know that when they leave their hotel rooms, they should turn off all air conditioning and lights. South Africa has been experiencing power problems for many years now and energy saving practices should take precedence.
The Garden Route in South Africa is known for falling victim to run away veld fires. Not only do these fires destroy beautiful landscapes, but also wine farms, which destroy incomes of the workers and farmers. Our Travelers are not only briefed, but warned about the dangers of smoking and flicking cigarettes in these wilderness areas they will drive through.
Something that seems like such a small and regular thing to do, such as insect spray and deodorant, should also be avoided. Rather make use of roll on insect repellant and deodorant to lower the carbon emissions.
Beaches are visited during this tour. Although there are no strict laws in place, travelers shouldn't pick up and pocket sea shells. These precious natural elements have become so rare that they should be looked at, but not taken.
During the free time on the tour, we do not encourage any of your travelers to create beach fires or barbeques on the beaches or forest areas. This is seen as one of the ways in which natural habitat can be destroyed. In a forest, a fire that has not been set out, can burn down an entire forest in a matter of hours. On a beach, local animals may harm themselves by approaching the fire.
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 holiday 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.
Although South Africa is much more developed than the other surrounding African countries, the children of this country are still at the mercy of donations and support from tourists and investors. We aim to be the middle man between our travelers and these organizations to hand over funds and donations that will be used for the orphans and poor children of Africa’s rainbow nation.