The future of tourism in Africa is sustainable. This was one of the powerful messages conveyed at the Annual Conference of SATSA, the Voice of Inbound Tourism in South Africa.
“In the African tourism industry, we are all united. We all help each other by creating jobs, through conservation of our wildlife and by saving our environment. Yet, we’re not vocal enough about our initiatives to the outside world,” delegates at the conference were told.
In order to become more vocal about the beautiful sustainability initiatives on our continent, SATSA and South African Tourism (SA Tourism) decided to launch a carbon offsetting initiative. This initiative is aimed at creating awareness about the need to reduce the tourism industry’s carbon footprint.
SATSA Eastern Cape Deputy Chair and Owner of Wild Lubanzi Backpackers, Aidan Lawrence, told delegates that the tourism industry needs to be planting millions of Spekboom immediately to offset carbon emissions.
Spekboom has amazing carbon-offsetting properties and can sequester more than 4 tons of carbon dioxide per year per hectare planted, making it more effective than the Amazon rainforest at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
SATSA CEO David Frost says the organisation, as the voice of inbound tourism, has a responsibility to encourage South African businesses to focus on sustainable development. “Globally the Tourism industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each business must take responsibility for its carbon footprint and the impact it has on the environment.”
Also Amadeus is committed to ensuring sustainable travel and tourism as a means of alleviating poverty, protecting biodiversity and cultural heritage and supporting community development and travellers’ rights, says Juan Giron, Global Corporate Communications Manager, Amadeus.
Amadeus recently joined the UN Global Compact to answer the call of sustainability in the travel industry. Tomás López Fernebrand, SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Amadeus, explains that Amadeus uses its technology, expertise, and global network to guarantee travel industry sustainability. He says: “And with this new step, we are proud to join thousands of likeminded companies in taking business action to create a more sustainable world.”
Furthermore, Amadeus ranked among the Corporate Knights’ 2018 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. “Only the top 2% of companies in the world are recognized for their sustainability performance on the Global 100. This is a fantastic accomplishment for us and it encourages us to continue working in the same direction,” says Fernebrand.