Satsa (Southern Africa Tourism Services Association) and South African Tourism (SA Tourism) have launched a carbon-offsetting initiative to create awareness about the need to reduce the tourism industry’s carbon footprint.
The initiative comes as South Africa seeks proactively to focus on sustainability as a destination.
Satsa Eastern Cape Deputy Chair and Owner of Wild Lubanzi Backpackers, Aidan Lawrence, told delegates at Satsa’s 2019 conference this week that the tourism industry needed to plant millions of Spekboom immediately to offset carbon emissions.
Spekboom can sequester more than four tons of carbon dioxide per year per hectare planted, making it more effective than the Amazon rainforest at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“The thought was to create awareness in South Africa about the need to reduce carbon footprint from inbound flights. Spekboom, with its miraculous carbon-offsetting properties, was the perfect solution. We hope this initiative will plant the seed for how South African tourism businesses can get practically involved in their own carbon-offset programmes,” added Lawrence.
To create awareness about the Spekboom initiative, delegates at the conference received a cutting of the plant, which is an indigenous succulent found in the Eastern Cape. Satsa and SA Tourism handed out 600 Spekboom cuttings and will plantanother 5 000 plants over the next few months. They will be the mother plant stock to roll out millions of new plants.
Satsa CEO, David Frost, says the organisation has a responsibility to encourage South African businesses to focus on sustainable development. “Globally the tourism industry accounts for eight percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each business must take responsibility for its carbon footprint and the impact it has on the environment.”
Tourism stakeholders and other interested parties are invited to showcase their Spekboom projects on Satsa’s social media and the newly created Spekboom Facebook page.