The United Nations has designated this year as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. They look to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
The goal is to promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:
- Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
- Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction.
- Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change.
- Cultural values, diversity and heritage.
- Mutual understanding, peace and security.”
African Impact’s Role in Sustainable Tourism
At African Impact, we celebrate this initiative and take the opportunity to strengthen our commitment towards responsible tourism and volunteering. We know what can be achieved through responsible travel and the power of volunteering, and that is why we run responsible, sustainable and impactful projects across the continent.
Responsible travel is about travellers having a positive impact on the country they are visiting, its wildlife, environment and people. We provide opportunities to get closer to local cultures, learn about the people and the history of every place, while embracing diversity.
We develop our projects alongside community stakeholders, making sure we are meeting the needs of the host community. We won’t run a project unless the community not only wants us there, but actually has ownership of the project. Community buy-in is essential and we work – and will continue working – hand in hand with local tribal chiefs, community leaders, government departments, clinics and schools to ensure that the best possible impact is being made.
We design and operate our volunteer travel experiences and voluntourism opportunities in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment. Our projects have long term goals in line with the communities we work in, and embrace sustainable best practice. We believe it is much more fruitful to give impoverished local communities a hand up rather than a hand out.
We run and manage our own projects and have teams made up of trained and experienced people managing things on the ground, employing local staff as coordinators and project support.
All volunteers undergo a comprehensive induction program upon arrival to prepare them for project work, introduce them to the local landscape and culture, and brief them on safety. Further to this, we also abide by a strict Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy, and as part of our commitment to operating responsibly, all our volunteers submit criminal record checks before arrival.
These are the fundamental elements that represent all of us at the African Impact family, and it is something we have built our lives and our reputation around.
Make 2017 your year for Sustainable Tourism for Development by joing one of African Impact’s volunteer programs!