Wow, that was quick, where did 2016 go? It’s been a fantastic year for Green Heart Tourism and Ubuntu Experiences. Time to reflect and be thankful.
2016 was full of travel trade events in Holland, Germany, the Nordics, South Africa and the UK. I think we can safely say we did enough market acces work this past year! The response to Ubuntu Experiences is very encouraging and goes to show you tour operators are certainly looking for tourism experiences that give back and help create better places to live. And their guests love it too!
It was a huge privilege to be able to visit and support my Ubuntu Experiences clients in South Africa in April (in combination with WTM Africa) and in September and October. Being able to provide responsible tourism support on-site as well as market acces work in Europe is what makes my work so much more interesting and effective. 2017 has many events already lined up in Holland and the Nordics. Check here to see where we will be in 2017 and let us know if you would like to meet.
Alongside Ubuntu Experiences I have been busy in Europe and South Africa auditing outbound and inbound tour operators for Travelife but the real cherry on the cake has been my involvement with CBI as a sustainability coach for small inbound tour operators in Indonesia. It’s been a rewarding experience for me personally and has allowed me to return to a place I lived in pre-career change to responsible tourism. I look forward to wrapping up halfway through 2017. Who knows I may even squeeze in a responsible holiday while I am at it!
2017 is going to be an important year for everyone working in responsible tourism. It is after all the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development which aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs. The #IY2017 will 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.
So, 2017 seems like a year to get cracking , don’t you think? A big thank you to all my clients and various partners for working towards creating better places to live and visit with me this past year. We need to do this together. Looking forward to new and exciting developments in the pipeline. Wishing you all a fantastic 2017!
Marine Dynamics Shark Tours and sister company Dyer Island Cruises are excited to have represented the Overberg region at the South African Blue Flag launch for the 2016/2017 season.
Whale Whisperer was the pilot blue flag boat in South Africa and now we have both vessels, Dream Catcher and Whale Whisperer, Blue Flag certified. This year provided the first opportunity for shark cage diving vessels to apply for Blue Flag certification and Slashfin is now a proud representative as well.
Blue Flag in South Africa is managed by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa). Applications for the prestigious Blue Flag eco-label were reviewed by a rigorous approval process concerning national and international assessments. It was announced at the annual launch last week that a total of eight sustainable tourism boats, of which all are based in the Western Cape, received Blue Flag status.
Responsible Traveller Magazine owner, Tessa Buhrmann, accepted the Blue Flags on behalf of Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises in a dynamic event held in Kwazulu-Natal. “It was an honour to represent Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises as, not only are they committed to conservation and research, but as a Fair Trade Tourism certified business they operate with an ethos of having a positive impact on both people and the planet. This is summed up by their tag line – ‘Your choice makes a difference’,” said Tessa.
Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom was at the Blue Flag Launch and commented on his shark cage diving experience with Marine Dynamics: “Seeing the sharks is not just something memorable that you enjoy, it’s done in a responsible way so that we don’t disturb our precious marine life. So yes, you can get close to the sharks but to find out more about sharks, what they mean to our ecology, to our environment and so in getting people out there which is a tourism experience which is great, we also are announcing an awareness of these marine resources that we need to protect together.”
Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises are instrumental in the Gansbaai area by investing and participating in these prestigious projects to ensure only the best service and quality excursions to our shared tourism clients in the Overberg region,” says marketing executive Cari du Preez.
“Today’s traveller is more discerning and very keen to have information about the businesses whom they spent their money with. Information is also easy to verify and it is general practice to look for industry endorsements to assist with decision making. The Blue Flag programme is known to cover pristine beaches but also includes marinas and boats. As part of the infrastructure these are very necessary categories that are part of the tourism experience. Marine Dynamics has been the recipient of many sustainable tourism awards and the Blue Flag endorsement is a further feather in their responsible cap.” Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Tourism Manager.
According to Gansbaai Tourism Manager, Glenda Kitley: “It comes to no surprise that Dyer Island Cruises’ two vessels have once again been awarded Blue Flag status, and that Marine Dynamics’s vessel has also been included this year. We are well aware that they meet a high standard of excellence in all of their business aspects. We are extremely pleased and proud that they have been awarded this status as a reward for all the hard work, care and passion that is put in to ensure that the tourist has a wonderful and safe experience. We extend hearty congratulations to Wilfred and his team!
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 29 of the beaches, all eight boats and four of the five Blue Flag marinas falling in the province.
Brenda du Toit, firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 0760613114
Cari du Preez email@example.com Ph: 0825280341
Marine Dynamics provides a five star shark cage diving experience while educating tourists on the importance of the Great White Shark as an apex predator crucial to our oceans ecosystem. Marine Dynamics together with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), which was established by company owner, Wilfred Chivell, provides logistical and onsite support for valuable scientific research on this species, to ultimately protect the species on which many people’s livelihood depends. Together with sister company Dyer Island Cruises, the companies contribute more than a R1 million to DICT per annum and actively fundraises from clients daily. This level of research coming from Gansbaai attracts much international interest which further attracts scientists and tourists to the area. Educational efforts to the community are part of the strategy to further protect this valuable ecosystem. www.sharkwatchsa.com / www.whalewatchsa.com
Ubuntu Experiences recently travelled to the the UK to connect with travel agents and tour operators looking for more inspiring places to stay and things to do in Africa.
This roadshow was organised by On Show Solutions and is proving a great format for Ubuntu Experiences to increase the number of B2B contacts in Europe. Earlier this year we attended a similar event in the Nordics. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to ensure your tourism product is top of mind.
Are you a South African tourism business and need some help opening new doors in Europe? Ubuntu Experiences is happy to welcome new responsible tourism businesses to the collective. Email Emilie firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how to join.
Marine volunteering program International Marine Volunteers (IMV) recently became Fair Trade Tourism certified. This means IMV has now achieved the same level of responsible tourism best practise as sister companies Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises.
Fair Trade Tourism has strict criteria for responsible volunteering and has revised and added criteria for volunteer interactions with animals and vulnerable people. This comes at a time when the debate on what constitutes a responsible volunteering program is hotting up worldwide. South Africa is once again taking the lead in developing guidance for both travellers and travel companies.
Owner of the companies, Wilfred Chivell, is proud that his group of companies has received this recognition. “We have supported the Fair Trade Tourism philosophy since 2008 and we work hard towards meeting the strict criteria. We believe that Your Choice Makes a Difference and by choosing a Fair Trade Tourism certified company clients be assured that the company is having a positive impact on both people and planet.”
Read more on the Marine Dynamics blog.
Fancy volunteering in Gansbaai and help protect the Marine Big 5?
Big, bluff and burly, Chivell is someone who knows all about imminent extinction – he lost everything he had in 1998. A native of Gansbaai, the little fishing town on the other side of Hermanus in the Western Cape, Chivell had built up a successful little business empire after a chequered career that took him from a stint in the police to diamond diving on the West Coast and discovering that he had no taste for the bright lights of Cape Town.
Coming home with R2 000 in his pocket and assisted by one man, he mixed cement for builders. By 1998, he had five companies and employed 200 people.
Read more about how this tenacious visionary man brought tourism and conservation together in Gansbaai in this insightful article by IOL.
You can also read more about the Responsible Tourism Award he recently won at WTM Africa in Cape Town.
Ubuntu Experiences welcomes member Sefapane Lodge & Safaris.
“Well known for having built up the beautiful Sefapane Lodge in Phalaborwa since taking it over in 1998, Joris Bertens has been a significant figure in the promotion of South Africa’s Limpopo province and is known as an astute businessman and energetic entrepreneur.
Sefapane River Lodge seems different to his other projects, though; it’s more personal, and as we talk over dinner on the deck, I sense it expresses something about this man and the things that are close to his heart.”
Read more here.
Three Trees at Spioenkop has been awarded a Platinum Diners Club Wine List Award for their excellent choice in the best of South African wines. Their list has a great variety & diversity of wines that compliment their product. Organic, Fair Trade and Bio-dynamic wines in each variety add to their unique list.
South Africa is a sensational destination for food and wine lovers. Ubuntu Experiences all offer delicious pan-African meals and pour the very best South African wines which is why we will be attending the Taste and Travel Fair in Rotterdam.
During presentations you will learn more about local food and wine sourcing, growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as using clever energy saving gadgets to prepare food for guests. Responsible tourism at its very best!
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom is a great supporter of responsible tourism and also a really good sport. This week he went shark cage diving with Marine Dynamics!
Read all about it here.