We live in a world where sustainability is the most noticeable global conversation, it’s where the travel industry is taking a very serious movement to impact and improve lives. Sustainable Tourism in South Africa is not just about being “green”, it’s about ensuring a long-term future for African tourism based on partnerships and community benefits. For travellers; it’s to encourage the narrative that the way forward is to discover a country through its people.
What was once dubbed ‘Ecotourism’ is evolving into Community-based Tourism. It’s about travelling in a responsible way that protects and favours our environment, culture and most of all sustains the well-being of local people of the destination. As this ‘new’ foundation of travel, community-based tourism highlights positive contributions travellers can make to empower local communities. Helping communities has become an agenda for the ecotourism world, and by backing local communities, travellers can aid local people in maintaining cultural roots and protecting their environments.
Conservation should be hardcoded into travel experiences. We at Thornybush are proud of our community programs which we encourage our travellers to embrace in their daily activity choices. Offering community trips and spending time with the local communities is a great way to understand and promote why contributing economical support to our local communities inspires greater conservation efforts.
One such program that we are proud members of is Pack for a Purpose. We ask travellers to save space in their suitcase for essential supplies that our communities will need. We run various projects which call on specific supplies that go towards the local children and families.
Another is our Wild Shots Outreach initiative that directly links to the education of conservation. This is a photography ‘school’ that teaches young people from disadvantaged communities about wildlife and wild places through photographic experiences. Thornybush Community Projects grants this initiative access into the reserves where our safari lodges operate to host game drives for the students. Its aim is to provide new skills and importantly an introduction to the natural world. Through this program we’ve seen these learners aspire into the conservationists of tomorrow.
As travellers start to become aware that travelling is more about the universal truths it unravels, rather than just for the aim to disconnect from daily life, our hope is that this awareness will ignite travellers’ desire to travel with companies that have an invested interest on creating a positive impact for both the planet and people.
The future of travel belongs to those who care, ‘treading lightly’ isn’t enough anymore and it’s not about limiting our impact – it’s about travelling with purpose in mind and sharing the knowledge about our exploration with its people. It’s about buying that souvenir and knowing who made it.
To find out more about Pack for a Purpose and what items you can bring on your next stay with us click here.