The African Ivory Route, South Africa, won silver for “Local Economic Benefit” within the 2018 World Responsible Tourism Awards, the sectoral iniative held every year by World Travel Market London. Joint winners were Coconut Lagoon, Kerala (India) and Madi a Thava Limpopo (South Africa).
The long-term commitment for the development and inclusion of the local populations in the tourism sector was rewarded by the judging commitment, which recognizes “the achievement of creating a functioning trail of cultural and safari camps and the reporting of the substantial economic and social impacts of the African Ivory Route and in particular the microenterprises which it has financed and mentored: Sacred Baleni Salt, Sacred Lake Fundudzi, the Ribola Art Route with local weaving, furniture, craft and toiletries”.
The African Ivory Route (AIR) was launched in 2000 by Cesvi with the support of the European Union. The project helped the communities in sustainably managing natural resources and in taking advantage of livelihood opportunities of ecotourism.
Ecotourism contributes to the diversification of livelihood and improves environmental and social resilience. The project transformed the traditional AIR business based on low value self-catering tourists by targeting a more valuable tourist market that pays for increased services at the camps.
In selecting winners, the judging commission was looking for businesses with a “demonstrable commitment to local economic development through local sourcing and employment and significant achievements in doing so”, trying to meet the ambition to “showcase great examples of Responsible Tourism in practice and to use them to educate others, including consumers, about what can be achieved and to challenge others to do as well or better”.
Ph. Andrea Frazzetta