By Melissa Foley, All About Africa Safari Tourism Consultants
The EU has funded a multi-year large-scale Switch Africa Green in conjunction with UNDP and UNOPS, an initiative through multiple industry sectors in multiple African countries. Within the scope of this broader project is increasing sustainability standards in Tourism via the global Travelife socially and environmentally sustainable tourism certifications process for both local Tour Operators and Accommodation Providers.
This current project, Green Tour Africa, with recently launched Green Tour Kenya, is being organised out of Kenya through KATO, Eco-Tourism Kenya and ECEAT in conjunction with CSPC and ABTA. However, the scope of this project provides some additional training support and resources for surrounding countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar and eventually continent-wide.
We have been meeting with various stakeholders throughout East Africa over the past year and a half to asses interest and level of engagement from multi-stakeholders. Within East Africa, stakeholders are extremely engaged from a Government, Association and Private Sector Perspective. This key indicator, among global trends and the rest of Africa, are key indicators, sustainable tourism certification schemes will eventually become an African industry standard. This presents not only the short and long-term protection of natural resources, cultural heritage protection and community development but a larger message that can be actively marketed to the International buyers and consumers.
Therefore we believe there is a critical opportunity for countries to identify themselves as a destination and individual business owners as the industry leaders being early adopters.
A mass adoption rate of this Internationally recognised certification from the private sector via local government and stakeholder encouragement will greatly impact each country’s ability to market themselves collectively as a sustainable destination and engage all stakeholders to genuinely have a positive impact throughout their supply chain to lift industry standard and allow tourism to positively impact the local communities and natural resources.
The major financial incentive of this project is the for recognised companies and destinations to be actively promoted to the EU & UK African Buyer market to support and encourage International agents to work with sustainable suppliers. ABTA – The Association of British Travel Agents, a key stakeholder in this project will actively communicate this message to their members which also include some of the largest African tourism product buyers.
Click here for a basic overview and the general criteria for hotels and operators to adhere to for the certification process.