What is Ubuntu Experiences?
Ubuntu Experiences is Southern Africa’s only responsible tourism market access and representation collective. It was created in November 2015 for South African tourism businesses that took part in a 3-year export coaching program provided by SIPPO in German-speaking source markets and were ready to take the next step connecting with the travel trade and travellers in Europe.
The group is open to all responsible tourism businesses from Southern Africa. Current members are all from South Africa but the collective is hoping to grow into an African responsible tourism collective over time.
Emilie manages Ubuntu Experiences and offers the following services to members:
- Gaining market access in Europe
- Responsible tourism business development support
- Responsible tourism marketing and communication
- Fair Trade Tourism certification audit preparation
- Training for tourism and hospitality staff (foreign languages, responsible tourism, social media marketing)
The Marketing and Representation Gap
Affordable responsible tourism marketing and representation in Europe is virtually non-existent for smaller African tourism businesses. The cost gap between support given by SIPPO and an expensive marketing representation agency is huge. Opportunities provided by national DMO’s or tourism ministries vary considerably per source market and sending a Marketing/Sales person overseas regularly is far too costly for smaller tourism businesses.
Ubuntu Experiences aims to fill this need (in the middle of those extremes) with the main focus on helping responsible tourism businesses open a few new doors in markets such as: The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and Scandinavia (both B2B and B2C) by leveraging their responsible tourism stories as well as providing responsible tourism support.
Why a collective and not a collection or a portfolio?
During the 3 years Emilie spent travelling overseas as part of the SIPPO roadshow programme, she came to the conclusion that all these exciting tourism experiences combined are what makes for a great destination. The success of one business is in fact a success for South Africa as a whole and working together presented a unique opportunity to market the country even more convincingly. The same principle can be applied to Africa as a continent.
The support and enthusiasm for each other was possibly the best sales tool the businesses had alongside their passion for their own businesses and the areas they work in. Forming a collective rather than a ‘portfolio’ or ‘collection’ makes sense for a group of tourism businesses that share a common objective and purpose. They all want to bring travellers to Southern Africa and provide them with extraordinary places to stay and things to do that give back to the destination.
It is this spirit of Ubuntu (‘I am what I am because of you’) that makes for great hosts and responsible tourism experiences. All the businesses in the collective are exceptionally good at using tourism as a force for good and see their tourism activity as part of a larger ambition to create better places to live and visit in Southern Africa. Some of the businesses have even got Fair Trade Tourism certification to prove it!
Which South African tourism businesses can participate?
- Current and former SIPPO export coaching participants
- Current and former Fair Trade Tourism certified businesses
- GSTC-recognised certified businesses from the region that have signed Mutual Recognition with Fair Trade Tourism
- Tourism businesses that implement SA Standard for Responsible Tourism SANS1162
- Small specialist inbound tour operator partners with a strong responsible tourism commitment and focus on giving back to the destination
Would you like to join Ubuntu Experiences or learn more about the different businesses? Have a look who are current members. Great responsible places to stay and things to do!
- Umlani Bushcamp (Timbavati, Limpopo)
- Three Tree Hill Lodge (Noord Drakensbergen, Kwa Zulu Natal)
- Morning Sun Nature Reserve – Mashovhela Lodge (Soutpansbergen, Limpopo)
- Marine Dynamics, Dyer Island Cruises and International Marine Volunteers (Gansbaai, Western Cape)
- Influence Tours (South Africa specialist)
Are you a tour operator or travel agent in Europe that would like to be sent more information or perhaps even have Emilie visit to do a personal presentation?