For true sustainability in the long term, there has to be a greater impact and inclusion for communities, according to Kerri Roos, Director: Incentives and Travel Green Route Africa.
Green Route Africa is a division of the Dragonfly Africa Group, providing Destination Management Services to the UK & European markets.
“As a company we are passionate about environmental sustainability and as a result, we have sought multiple opportunities of leveraging situations arising within our destinations to create as much value for and enhancement of sustainability from the community and conservation projects we support,” said Roos.
As an example, she points out that Green Route Africa has been taking action within its own office by collecting plastic waste and making Eco-brick.
“This extremely exciting project by Eco-brick Exchange offers Green Route the opportunity to address the shortage of quality education facilities, implement sustainable waste management systems and raise environmental awareness. Eco-Brick Exchange collects these bottles and then facilitates the construction of preschools in underprivileged communities using this unrecyclable plastic waste.”
Green Route Africa is also busy finalising details of support for a sustainable community project in the Lowveld area via the Tourism Conservation Fund.
“Once finalised, this project will see us supporting the establishment and growth of supplies and commerce between the established and aspirant entrepreneurs in the Nkuhlu community adjoining the southern KNP and the lodges operating in and around the KNP.”
Roos said the organisation also had its own registered charity called Green Tribe and, as a group, was currently sponsoring nine children at Tujatane School in Zambia.
“Education is the most sustainable way to uplift entire communities and therefore key to breaking the poverty cycle. By giving local Zambian children the tools they need to improve their own lives, Tujatane gives them access to opportunities that they would otherwise never have been exposed to,” said Roos. “A visit to the school is also a favourite CSR and give-back opportunity for many of our clients.”
When planning itineraries for adventure-seekers who care about wildlife and the environment, tour operators should definitely consider booking an excursion with White Shark Projects, which operates from Gansbaai in the Western Cape.
At the heart of this organisation, which organises a number of activities, including shark cage diving and voluntourism experiences, White Shark Project is all about conserving “these magnificent ocean predators” through various conservation projects, according to MD, Charmaine Beukes.
Every spring (since 2014) White Shark Projects has held its 21-Day Campaign to create awareness about sharks in the local community.
The initiative is all about educating the communities who live along the Cape Coast as to how they can be responsible. Through educational talks at various schools, social media initiatives, radio interviews, fund-raisers and beach clean-ups, young and old in the community are educated about how everyday behaviour can affect the ocean.
White Shark Projects also offers various initiatives to educate travellers about sharks and the ocean, including its Voluntourism experiences. For Beukes and her team – education and awareness are the answer.