By Clarissa Hughes – Group Positive Impact Co-ordinator
1: It’s important, if not essential, to developing nations’ economic growth
Asilia paid over US$4 million to local and national governments in park and concession fees in the past financial year.
A recent report in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism titled “African tourism industry employees: expenditure patterns and comparisons with other community members” by Dr Sue Snyman, shows that tourism has a local knock-on effect because much of the budget of tourism camps is spent on wages and much of these were found to be spent locally in their home villages.
2: It’s a peacemaker
“A strong, positive correlation exists between tourism and peace. The very existence of tourism depends on peace and security. Tourism represents a vital force for peace and a factor of friendship and understanding among the peoples of the world, because of the direct contacts it engenders between people of different cultures and lifestyles,” says the UNWTO’s Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals, H.E. Ms. Eliza Jean Reid.
3: It reduces poverty
Asilia has over 800 employees, 97% of whom are continental citizens. 40% come from rural areas where few other opportunities to earn a living exist.
4: It empowers people
Upskilling of employees and education scholarships are two ways we and our guests are actively involved in social development. Over 21,000 man hours were spent on staff training in the past financial year and since June 2017 Asilia has awarded 34 scholarships
- 20 tertiary tourism scholarships in Tanzania
- 8 full primary school scholarships, 2 secondary school scholarships, 4 partial scholarships – 14 children’s lives changed in Kenya
- 1 deaf boy and 2 x twelve-year-old girls saved from FGM and child marriage in Kenya
- 4 tertiary wildlife conservation scholarships in Kenya
5: It empowers nature
Our partners African People and Wildlife (APW) report an increase in important plant species and the return of Grant’s gazelle and other wildlife in the Tarangire/Manyara corridor owing to a rangeland management project we support.
Building on this success Asilia provided the seed funding for a similar project in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. With local authorities having endorsed the project, APW is now identifying pilot villages and will be starting on-the-ground monitoring early in the New Year.
The Ruaha Carnivore Project, which is supported by Asilia, reports that a planned lion hunt was stopped by the women of a village near the Ruaha National Park owing to the benefits that they derive from the camera trap programme we support. In addition, the first-ever satellite-collars on lions in the Ruaha ecosystem were placed on three individuals in November. “Thanks to the ‘virtual-fence’ technology the team on the ground will also be alerted if the lions cross the park boundary and enter village land. Hopefully, these real-time updates will help us pro-actively prevent conflict with local people,” says Programme Director, Dr Amy Dickman.
Asilia is the largest contributor in Tanzania to a UN-REDD carbon offsetting scheme which supports the biological diversity in the Makame WMA adjoining Tarangire National Park.
6: It promotes gender equality
Dunia Camp, East Africa’s first almost all-woman safari camp, is running like clockwork. The team consists of 24 women and 2 men (mechanic and maintenance). Our guests love the vibe and the fact that they’re part of improving women’s lives.
Evelyn Sintoya, a guide at Asilia’s Naboisho Camp, was highlighted by the World Travel and Tourism Council as an excellent example of tourism’s transformational role.
7: It promotes good health and wellbeing
Asilia ensures that its staff eats well balanced, healthy meals when on duty. In addition, we collaborate with dentists who volunteer their time to provide dental services in rural areas, where dentists are thin on the ground.
8: It promotes responsible consumption and production
90% of Asilia energy in camps is generated by solar. For those unavoidable emissions, we use a UN-REDD certified programme to maintain forest land in Tanzania. We’re the second largest contributor worldwide.
In addition, all waste is recycled and Asilia provides biodegradable lunch packs and straws to guests.
9: It promotes partnerships and collaborations for the sustainable development goals
Asilia works with a number of partners. They include NGOs: African People & Wildlife, Carbon Tanzania, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Honeyguide Foundation, Kamitei Foundation, Kenya Wildlife Trust, Ruaha Carnivore Programme and The Maa Trust, who are our implementing partners.
We also work with WildAid to increase conservation awareness in East Africa.
Our investment partners include Norfund and other impact investors.
And, of course, we work closely with national governments, local authorities and communities
10: It provides and improves infrastructure in remote areas
Where infrastructure is weak, our presence improves access. For example, the road that we built to The Highlands has benefited all the local communities in the area.
The increase in air traffic that we generate to outlying areas also assists rural villages in times of emergency.
If these points sound familiar, you’re right. They epitomize 10 of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Asilia is consciously working towards a sustainable future for all.