Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a destination as a tourist and being conscious of making a positive impact on the environment, society and its economy. We chat to Murray Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer of Giltedge Africa, about his thoughts on why travelling to Africa with a sense of purpose matters.
What is the core belief about sustainability at Giltedge?
Our safari experience is underpinned by a deep commitment to our communities, wildlife and the delicate balance between the two. In these challenging times as a global community, we stand steadfast by our dedication to this mission. We call this Responsible Tourism.
Why did you Giltedge apply to get Fair Trade approved?
I think that it’s to ensure stable employment, income-earning opportunities and social services for local communities, which contributes to poverty alleviation in Africa. It’s to help combat poaching in Africa’s game parks through providing revenue sources from our visitors. And to encourage cultural exchange and understanding.
What community projects are you involved in at Giltedge Africa?
Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA)
- The Community Conservation Fund Africa was set up to help put the spotlight on rural African communities that live among the wild animals but by large have received few benefits from this often-difficult privilege.
- CCFA’s mission is to address these inequalities and investigate ways of giving rural African communities a greater role in wildlife ownership and management
Uthando South Africa
- This non-profit organization offers philanthropic day tours and takes guests to local schools, community gardens, small township businesses and exciting music or dance projects
Pack for a Purpose
- Travellers can save a few kilos of space in their suitcase and take school supplies for the community projects that we support.
Tell me more about your own program “Travel with a Purpose”?
Giltedge is committed to giving back. Our Travel with a Purpose programs offers our clients the opportunity to make a difference while on vacation. Our clients can be of service to vulnerable communities and we offer an immersion into 3 purposeful activities: volun-tourism, eco-tourism and edu-tourism.
Volun-tourism enables interaction with vulnerable children and communities. Eco-tourism offers adventures that give the opportunity to support African culture and wildlife such as hands-on animal care and conservation management, anti-poaching and game re-introduction initiatives. Edu-tourism; focuses on the sharing of personal work experiences and skills to promote mutual cross-cultural understanding and respect.
We ensure that our offerings are safe, sustainable and ethical. We want to realize Nelson Mandela’s dream of paying it forward to the next generation.
What type of suppliers do you use?
As a company, we offer safari experiences and tours that leave a very light footprint on the environment and create meaningful interaction and positive impact on communities. We also work closely with and support our suppliers who have responsible and sustainable tourism practices.
What are your thoughts on Animal Interaction Guidelines?
The world is changing and the voice against animal interactions is growing louder. South Africa must ensure that we stay ahead of these changes and position ourselves to safeguard our reputation and industry. At Giltedge, we do not offer activities that involve unsustainable or hands-on animal interactions.
What is your ethos at Giltedge?
At Giltedge we strive to follow the spirit of “ubuntu” which means, I am because we are. Ubuntu speaks of our humanity and connectedness and recognizes that our own well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. Together we can make a difference.
Need more information?
If you want to travel to Africa in a sustainable way, just have a look at our CSR projects. We offer many ways that you can incorporate a sustainable activity or a visit to a community project on your trip. Recently our sustainable travel specialist, Robyn Stalson, presented a webinar on Giltedge’s sustainable projects that you can listen to here.