looks like in the Southern African
Democratic elections in South Africa 1994, brought our country out of isolation and allowed for the establishment of a travel industry which has (until 2020) seen year on year growth. In 1994 we saw 3.7 million foreign arrivals, by 2019 this figure was closer to 16.6 million.The significance of this industry on our economy can best be understood by the following stats:-According to Stats SA published data in 2018, one out of every 22 working South Africans are employed in the tourism sector. An annual review by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2019, our country’s tourism sector created 1.5 million jobs and contributed R425.8 billion to the GDP.Over the past 30 years Into Africa has witnessed this massive growth and development. None of this would have been possible had South African’s not taken to the ballot boxes and committed to change.
As the effects of climate change is felt globally it’s time to make another choice and another commitment to change. Sustainability and regeneration has become vitally important. In the South African context, we believe this has three focus areas.
• Minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts.
• Generates economic benefits for local people
• Enhances the well-being of host communities and gives a sense of purpose to the tourist
Tourism Sustainability and Regeneration takes many shapes and forms in the Southern African context. It invariably starts with a choice. Consider what the end to whaling has meant for the Walker Bay area and the communities that today benefit from tourists that flock there to see whales. There can be no question of the significant role tourism plays in our economic and social development. One could almost argue that in this context Tourism IS sustainability and regeneration.
Over the next few months, we plan to give a big shout out to sustainability initiatives in our industry.
Sustainability Heroes Of Our Industry….
Working in the Conference and Events industry we are often asked for ‘greening’ solutions. We always have no hesitation in recommending Green Pop. They work to restore ecosystems and empower environmental stewards through forest restoration, urban greening, food gardening, and environmental awareness projects across Sub- Saharan Africa. Founded in 2010, they have planted over 150,000 trees and inspired over 132,000 active citizens across South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania.
Bayala Safari Lodge is supporting a charity called Cycle of Life Charity Funds, in a joint effort to protect the rhino population in the area. In collaboration last year they started the Ride 4 Rhinos fundraiser. Cyclists can ride on the reserve with mountain bikes to explore the African Bush and the proceeds go towards rhino conservation projects.
Phinda’s ‘The Return’ story is such a clear example of how the move away from traditional farming and to wildlife conservation has had a massive impact on local communities and wildlife. One of the early Regeneration stories of the South African travel industry.
We will feature Design Afrika’s hand-woven basketry which offers economic independence to rural weaving communities across Africa.
We celebrate the wonderful success that is the Oranjezicht City Farm Market – the very epitome of sustainability. The market gives an important platform to small producers and offers shoppers easy access to sustainable produce and has become a popular tourist destination.
We salute Singita’s commitment to One Planet Living. They have literally set the industry standard for sustainability and earned Global Leader status in 2021.
We highlight the relevance today of the Khwa Ttu San Heritage Centre which aims to give this ancient people, who lived so lightly on this earth, a platform to own their story.
We acknowledge the incredible work being done by Grootbos Private Nature Reserve that has earned the organization international recognition as the ‘custodians of the Cape Floral Kingdom’.
Grootbos has just launched its, Grootbos Florilegium, a collection of science based botanical artworks which seek to raise awareness about the beauty and significance of this remarkable plant kingdom and the accompanying entomology that all play a key role in the pollination of the fynbos.
Our sustainability feature would not be complete without Kobus van der Merwe’s foraging restaurant, Wolfgat.
Look out for this heartwarming interview with Freddy, employed in hospitality at Tswalu Private Game Reserve. Freddy recounts the hard lockdown due to covid in 2020 and the extraordinary assistance he and his community received from Tswalu. This story demonstrates that tourism isn’t just about big business, its an industry with a big heart too.
When considering corporate gifts for our events we make a point of sourcing items that benefit communities. These pieces by Netshomi Zam in collaboration with Street Wires always go down well.
Netshomi Zam (net-shaw-mee zam) Xhosa slang for ‘with my friends’
They are a collective of extraordinary artists in the African genre of wire and beads.
This give guest A Piece Of Africa To Call Your Own while at the same time creating jobs where they are needed most.
We are super excited to the share the story of the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary which places rhinos on community land with local communities as custodians. This represents a massive paradigm shift in conservation and is a great Regeneration story.
The Into Africa Team
In 2019 our team launched it’s own sustainability project. We call it Travel With Purpose. We encourage our clients to donate clothing which is sold to fund a project that offers therapeutic sessions to at risk kids. The cool part about it is that rescue dogs and horses are the therapists. The response from our clients has been very positive as it offers a simple and meaningful way of reaching out to kids in disadvantaged communities.
If you have a sustainability story you’d like to feature please email email@example.com.
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