Doing MORE for the Planet – The Future of Tourism
Photo from Unsplash
Originally Posted On: https://ker-downeyafrica.com/journal/sustainable-travel-more-family-collection
Sustainability is a word we are seeing more and more frequently in all sectors of life. What was once a trend, is now a lifestyle, and the tourism sector is no exception for sustainable travel. The beginning of the new decade has revealed the consequences of our actions on the environment more than ever before, and our collective awareness around sustainability has never been stronger. The way we experience travel has changed, and our desire to find ways to protect the environment and care for our communities is becoming exponentially more important.
Leaving a positive legacy in Africa is the foundation of everything that we do at Ker & Downey® Africa, and we craft pioneering sustainable travel trips that evolve with our traveler and earth’s best interest at heart. Part of this is working with suppliers who are going to great lengths and making great strides in their efforts to provide, preserve and protect.
MORE Family Collection is a fourth-generation family company, with private luxury safari lodges and boutique hotels in some of Southern Africa’s most inspiring locations including Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, and the iconic Kruger National Park. Sustainability is an integral part of the MORE journey, with a philosophy centered around regenerative tourism, that includes sustainable practices to ensure that the environment and communities in their care are protected for generations to come.
Having worked with environmental enthusiasts, marine biologists, and conservationists in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and the Bahamas, Temblett’s passion for preserving the wild places he finds himself in drives the exceptional work he does for the group
Andrew Temblett, Senior Lodge Manager at Lion Sands, Sabi Sand, is the MORE Family Collection Sustainability Champion, with over two decades of experience in hospitality. Having worked with environmental enthusiasts, marine biologists, and conservationists in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and the Bahamas, Temblett’s passion for preserving the wild places he finds himself in drives the exceptional work he does for the group, as well as the environment and communities he encounters.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To be sustainable is to be accountable for your actions. We make decisions every day that impact both human lives and the natural environment. We are connected in a way we have never been in the past, particularly as a result of globalization and the way we live, how we source our products, treat our fellow humans and the environment.
To be sustainable is to be interconnected. It is a holistic approach where we are all part of life’s supply chain, and we are accountable for the consequences of our actions at every point along that chain.
Why is sustainability such an important part of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry? And the planet as a whole?
Sustainability is critical in all industries for the continuation of life on earth, and for all species to thrive.
For the travel industry, in particular, the global traveler is increasingly expecting the destination they visit or travel service they support to be sustainable. To meet this demand, the travel industry must improve its sustainability credentials or be left behind and become obsolete – with their social license to operate revoked.
The UN cites that when responsibly planned and managed, tourism has demonstrated its capacity to support job creation, promote inclusive social integration, protect natural cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve human wellbeing.
When responsibly planned and managed, tourism has demonstrated its capacity to support job creation, promote inclusive social integration, protect natural cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve human wellbeing.
There are also numerous socio-economic benefits to sustainable tourism; enriching communities in surrounding areas through income-earning opportunities, for example, or raising much-needed funds for conservation.
Lodges and hotels that are sustainable offer experiences that mitigate the negative impacts of travel by benefiting the surrounding economy, environment, and communities.
What are some of the social, environmental, and economic challenges currently facing the industry that are of concern? And how can we work towards improving these?
Socially, income inequality is a challenge. Often lodges are situated in areas of extreme poverty and the disparities are jarring. Focusing on local employment, the development of local staff, the support of local businesses, and community partnerships can help to close the social gap.
Economically, poverty continues to be a massive challenge – “No Poverty” is the #1 goal of the UN SDGs. Travel and tourism can create employment, attract funding for community programs and generate demand for local products and services.
Focusing on local employment, the development of local staff, the support of local businesses, and community partnerships can help to close the social gap.
Environmentally, wilderness areas are under increasing pressure as a result of human settlement and agriculture. If we are to maintain our critical biodiversity, we need to protect these areas. The eco-tourism model assists by balancing conservation with economic contribution. “Eyes on the ground” also deter wildlife poachers from decimating our critically endangered animal species.
What are MORE’s sustainability goals, and how are you making progress in meeting these goals?
We are guided by the MORE Family Collection Sustainability Framework which covers both environmental and social pillars, with 9 core areas of focus. Within each of these focal areas, we have numerous ‘on the ground’ projects to help us reach our goals. This is a long-term journey, with many milestones still to come. Our efforts include, for example, the aim to eventually eliminate clingfilm usage in all of our properties. We are making a concerted effort to drastically reduce paper use and wastage, reduce water use, and monitor energy consumption with the intention to reduce our carbon footprint as a whole.
Through our More Community Trust’s (MCT) four core focal pillars (including early childhood development, enterprise development, improving living standards and access to clean water), we aim to give long-term meaningful and sustainable support to our communities.
What are some tips for travelers to make their trips into Africa more sustainable?
Lion on safari at Marataba Luxury Lodge
- Book with lodges/hotels that take sustainability seriously. Specifically, ask your tour operator for assistance with this. This informs the market of the demand for sustainability.
- If you are looking to make community donations, find out what is preferred by the team running the program. Fairness in the distribution of goods, across multiple schools, for example, is often problematic, and thus financial donations are often the best method to make sure the needs of the communities are met.
- “Pack for a Purpose” by making space in your luggage for much-needed items (such as clothing or stationery), or spend time embracing the cultural side of the region you visit.
Book with lodges/hotels that take sustainability seriously. Specifically, ask your tour operator for assistance with this. This informs the market of the demand for sustainability.
Children in the More Community Trust schools
- Africa is a water-scarce continent and travelers should be mindful of their water usage and wastage. Sometimes the most luxurious experience is found in its simplicity.
- Avoid places that offer performing animals, cub petting or walking with big cats. See SATSA guideline on choosing the right attractions.
- Bring your own reusable items to avoid single-use plastics: shopping bag, water bottle, straw, cutlery.
- Stay in fewer places for longer to reduce carbon emissions from travelling.
- Offset your flight carbon. Most airlines offer this, or select a project that best meets your needs. There are many to choose from online, which make it super easy.
How can travelers staying at properties in the MORE Family Collection leave a lasting legacy behind for sustainable travel?
Elephants at Lion Sands Narina Lodge
We are guided by our values and believe that this applies to our guests too.
- Give Generously
- Be Aware
- We are stronger together
- We make things better
Luxury need not be wasteful, and living according to our values will leave a lasting legacy.
Like what you see on sustainable travel? Our LuxVenture® Designers can create a unique sustainable travel safari combining MORE Family Collection’s exclusive properties, just for you!