Leave Only Your Footprints: Responsible Tourism In South Africa And Beyond
The tourism industry is one that is vital to a country such as South Africa, where low productivity and economic issues are often offset by the income it generates.
Spectacular beaches, scenic routes, winelands and of course the world’s best wildlife preservation areas, all contribute to a healthy tourism industry. There is however, if one will excuse the pun, a bit of a ‘black cloud’ that hangs over tourism and its contribution to ecological issues in the country.
Responsible research shows that it is in fact a global issue. Tourism generates 10% of the world’s GDP, one in every 10 jobs and 30% of world trade in services. However, according to the World Tourism Organisation, it is also responsible for approximately 5% of global CO2 emissions and contributes 4.6% of global warming!
We believe the issue can be addressed and why we are writing this article for our clients, because it is really about awareness and practicing responsible tourism in South Africa and beyond!
What is Responsible Tourism?
Responsible tourism is the raising of awareness of the tourists to South Africa of the responsibility that they carry in order to assist the country to a more sustainable future.
It is a combined effort of course and the official description is “Responsible Tourism aims to unite travel companies, organisations and individuals interested in spreading sustainable practices and ethical methods within the travel industry.”
Here is South Africa, as in many countries, we have recycling issues and are really battling to educate people to practice effective recycling and effective waste management.
Further to this, in South Africa in particular, we have very big issues with drought in certain areas and with energy resources. Famous for rolling black outs, the local power company faces many challenges and local people and hotels have learned to conserve electricity and look to alternate sources of energy.
There are also massive water savings drives amongst the tourism industry, but it is important for the traveller too to become a part of these initiatives.
How to Travel Responsibly and Incorporate it Into Your Travel Plans
When planning to travel to South Africa we ask that certain fundamental things are observed as a matter of respect and in the spirit of joining the sustainability initiative.
Waste – Visitors can help minimize their impact on the environment by making small adjustments to their behavior during their visits. For instance, recycling bins are provided in our conference centres and now even in many hotels, so we encourage you to participate in waste separation at source. Also, why not pack your own reusable water bottle, and refill it for every game drive or bush walk?
Energy – Simply switching off the lights when leaving you hotel room and using less power wherever you can, will reduce fossil fuel energy provided by electricity. The joy of Africa, especially if you are in the veld is to enjoy campfires, candles and paraffin lamps. It’s all part of the atmosphere! Also make sure you ask about eco-friendly and solar-powered accommodation options when booking with us, which will ensure you leave only your footprints behind.
Fuel – Stay fit on holiday and cycle or walk to where you want to go. Just get advice from hoteliers or your safari guides as to where and when is safe. There is so much to see on foot – it is a pleasurable way to save the emissions from fuel.
Water – Try to conserve water wherever possible and turn off that tap! Excellent bottled water is available for sale to drink and why not take a shower together? You are after all in one of the most romantic places in the World – take advantage of it! Also, why not take your laundry home with you instead of getting it washed at your hotel or lodge?
Litter – Litter in the bushveld can kill an animal, so never just throw anything from your safari drive vehicle. In the city it is a scourge in Africa, particularly discarded plastics like straws that kill our marine life and ruin beaches. We work tirelessly to prevent this and clean up, so please don’t ever become a part of the problem.
Travel with Those Who Care
You can also travel with Jewel of Africa Safaris, a 5-star rated guided tour operator who have a great love for this country and a proud social responsibility conscience. We will guide you through all you need to know when in South Africa and those countries bordering us and make your experience a positive and unforgettable one.
Not only will you be making a contribution to responsible tourism in South Africa and beyond, but we will tailor make a package for you that takes you everywhere you want to go and experience everything you want to do! Check out our website to learn more and contact us to book today for a once in a lifetime African safari and guided tour!