Business Opportunity for Southern Africa

Mejdi Tours has pioneered dual narrative tours to, amongst other places, Israel and Palestine and Northern Ireland. Their two-guide model equips groups with two local guides, each representing unique cultural, religious, political, and ethnic narratives.

Africa is the world's most diverse content, it offers a great range of opportunities for "meet the people" experiential tours and we know that the market trends favour tours that provide opportunities to engage with local people and their cultures. Booking.com's 2022 research reported that nearly two-thirds (63%) of travellers wanted to have experiences that are representative of the local culture.

Mejdi Tours is “founded on the belief that tourism should be a vehicle for a more positive and interconnected world.” MEJDI translates to both “honour” and “respect”, the business was established to “change the face of tourism through a socially responsible business model that honours both clients and communities.” Travellers engage with a diversity of views about the places they visit, and multiple narratives.

Mejdi runs tours in Morocco and Egypt. Aziz, one of the founder directors, will be in Johannesburg and then Cape Town in April and is speaking at WTM Africa on April 11th. Mejdi is looking for suppliers so that they can create dual narrative tours in Southern Africa.

If you would like to meet with Aziz to explore the business opportunity please contact Aziz (aziz@mejditours.com) AND Kim (kim@mejditours.com).

This TED Talk is a great introduction to Aziz.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

It was Abraham Lincoln who warned, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” In David Copperfield, Dickens wrote, “Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” That was the nineteenth century. Just as we speak of “common sense” failing to recognise that it is not common, we mouth platitudes without acting on them.

The UK government published The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review in 2006, it concluded “the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.”

The adage “Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow” is attributed to both Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde and reported as “comical.” Procrastination has characterised the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Today’s playbook is based on the 2010 book “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming” by American historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. They document how “keeping the controversy alive” by spreading doubt and confusion after a scientific consensus had been reached was the basic strategy of those opposing action.

Jennifer Jacquet, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science at the University of Miami, published “The Play Book” in 2022. Described by geneticist and science populariser, Adam Rutherford, as “Very funny, as satire should be, until you realise it’s deadly serious.” It is a convincing read, a ‘how-to manual’ for procrastinators. Satire can unwittingly encourage the very behaviour it seeks to reveal, especially when it benefits those who follow the playbook.

“Written in the form of a corporate handbook for tobacco, oil and pharmaceutical company executives, it is a litany of obfuscation techniques, denial, delays and outright lies, including: how to recruit an academic ‘expert’ who is willing to compromise their integrity (or is just short of cash), how to massage the statistics, how to use legal and even physical intimidation against reporters and activists, and how, just as in a casino, to keep your customers comfortable, unquestioning, unthinking and playing along for as long as possible.”

A charge sheet against the powerful, it is also a guide to effective action by those seeking to put off until tomorrow what should be done now, today. As it says on the cover, this is a ‘how manual’ “How to deny science, sell lies, and make a killing in the corporate world.”

The French theologian and social activist Peter Maurin reminds us that: “The future will be different if we make the present different.” We shall reap what we sow – or at least our children and grandchildren will.

We face a “polycrisis.” Jonathan Derbyshire, writing in the Financial Times, in January 2023, chose polycrisis as his “year in a word” . “Noun: collective term for interlocking and simultaneous crises of an environmental, geopolitical and economic nature.” He traced the coining of the word back to the late 1990s and the work of the “French social scientists Edgar Morin and Anne Brigitte Kern, who employed it to describe the “interwoven and overlapping crises” facing humanity, especially in the ecological sphere.”

The Tourism Panel on Climate Change has just published my paper on Tourism in a Finite, Climate Challenged World. We face a poly-crisis; we also know how to fix many (most?) of the problems we face. We need to stop procrastinating and pursuing business as usual and step up to take responsibility to make the changes essential to our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

‘Tourism and The Doughnut Economy’ by Harold Goodwin

TOURISM IN A FINITE, CLIMATE-CHALLENGED WORLD

Travel & tourism — and humanity — is faced with perhaps its greatest challenge: the existential threat of climate change. The travel & tourism industry contributes to climate change via its GHG emissions, and is adversely affected by the extreme weather events that are the products of climate change. The sector now has to both mitigate and adapt.

Part I of this Horizon Paper paper reminds us that Earth is finite; that there are limits to growth; that climate change is an existential threat; and that denial is dangerous. 

Part II addresses the problem of defining terms such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘climate resilience’ in the context of interlocking crises.  

Part III examines limits to growth and planetary impacts, focusing on Kate Raworth’s ‘doughnut economics’, or seven ways of rethinking economics for the 21st century. 

Part IV considers the implications for travel & tourism of inadequate action in an emerging new climate-constrained world.

Download this Horizon Paper from TPCC.info/downloads

Potassium in our soil is running low, threatening global food security – new study proposes a way out

Professor Kevin Anderson (29'11'2023) A Habitable Earth Can No Longer Afford The Rich – And That Could Mean Me And You

Sources
https://traveltomorrow.com/ai-and-satellite-imagery-reveal-the-expanding-footprint-of-human-activity-at-sea/ and

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06825-8#Sec5

Responsibility is being taken, progress is being made


Mark Jones posted in early January, “Things can only get better”, and warned, “Pessimistic readers may want to look away now.” Mark points to the work of Hans Rosling, who, in  Factfulness, reminded us that “health, but income inequality, child mortality, population growth, education, violence, crime and conflict and dozens of other topics” are better than they were.

You can test whether you are overly pessimistic on a wide range of sustainability and other issues here.

Every year in the Responsible Tourism Awards, we hear from those who have taken responsibility in businesses and destinations and have proven examples of how tourism can be made more sustainable. These are just a few of those that have crossed my desk In the last couple of weeks.

We know what the sustainability challenges are. We have the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and WTTC, amongst others, calling for positive impact tourism.

We know what needs to be done. Many more businesses and destinations need to take responsibility and make a difference.  We need to follow the leaders.

https://traveltomorrow.com/responsibility-is-being-taken-progress-is-being-made/

The Global Travel Hall of Fame now has a Sustainability category …

In November 2023 Harold was listed in the Global Hall of Fame Academy as the Founder of the Responsible Tourism Movement. 2023 was the first year that Sustainability Awards have been presented. Harold was recognized alongside Inge Huijbrechts who collected the Award on behalf of the Radisson Hotel Group.

Unbeknown to me Vicky Smith, of Earth Changers, nominated me for the individual lifetime contribution. I was gobsmacked to hear that I had been entered and stunned to discover that I had been selected to be inducted.

"Judges from industry-leading entities Jacobs Media Group, the World Travel & Tourism Council and The Travel Corporation recognised that to receive this award at Hall of Fame, the winner needed to do more as a contribution to tourism than just doing a good job within your business. The judges were looking for truly exemplary people who had done something to change the course of our industry for the better.

Harold has been deemed to have done just that and deserves to be recognised for his phenomenal achievements amongst the industry’s leading lights. We are confident that his continued efforts will inspire others to strive for excellence and inspire the next generation of travel leaders for the global travel industry to follow in his footsteps."

I am grateful to Fiona Jeffery, who had the presence of mind to record this video on my mobile phone and I thank her for it. View VIDEO

LISTEN TO ANNA: We cannot waste any more time- we must act now to leave our world fit for future generations - for our children.

Glenn Mandziuk, CEO, & Claire Whitely, Head of Environment at the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA), were amongst the first to sign the 2022 Responsible Tourism Charter, which updated the Cape Town Declaration adopted in 2002. In two decades, we have learnt a great deal about how responsible businesses can benefit themselves and their neighbours in destinations by adopting sustainable practices.

I was at their Mainstreaming Net Positive Hospitality Summit last week, where I heard Anna Dacam, Environment Programme Manager at the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, speak for the first time.

Listen to Anna and spread the word.

The SHA has donor members and partners representing globally 50,000 hotels, 7 million rooms, more than 270 brands and more than 40 supply chain and strategic partners Back in July I wrote here about the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s hospitality benchmarking framework tool. Developed with EY the tool will track and compare sustainability progress across each ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) topic within the Hospitality sector. This is a significant part of their Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality programme, “a practical, four-stage guidance framework as a free resource that supports all parts of the hospitality value chain to progress in a cohesive, strategic manner. It includes detailed action guidance for hotel operators, brands and asset owners, applicable to both single or multi-unit organisations.” As a UK-registered charity, they make resources freely available on their Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality website.

In conversation with Glenn Mandziuk about SHA and Net Positive Hospitality

Can travel contribute to peace?

Mejdi has pioneered dual narrative tours to, amongst other places, Israel and Palestine and Northern Ireland. Their two-guide model equips groups with two local guides, each representing unique cultural, religious, political, and ethnic narratives.

I recorded this with Aziz on Sunday, 15 October, when the Middle East was in crisis, as it will for some time.

This is the poem Aziz reads to me, to us:

Travel Tickets

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Global Governance Project G20 Summit Why Responsible Tourism?

It is the lived culture of communities that attracts tourists, and better places to live in make great places to visit for those seeking new experiences

For destination governments, both national and subnational, the question to ask is whether you want to use tourism for sustainable development or to be used by it.

Thirty years after the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, there is still mounting concern that we are not achieving sustainability quickly enough. The Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to encourage businesses, destination governments and tourists to take responsibility, was intended to make tourism more sustainable and inclusive. South Africa was the first to include responsible tourism in its post-apartheid national tourism policy in 1996. As we have seen in the annual awards, businesses from homestays to major hotel groups are increasingly taking responsibility to make tourism better and using tourism to make “better places for people to live in” – and better places to live in are great places to visit. Surveys by Expedia and Booking.com have demonstrated that travellers want to travel more sustainably and struggle to find sustainable travel options.

Domestic and international tourism can provide significant economic benefits for local communities in rural and urban areas. The pro-poor tourism work pioneered 20 years ago demonstrated how tourism can create additional livelihoods for people who are economically poor and marginalised. Economically poor but often culturally rich local communities offer opportunities for positive encounters for those seeking different experiences.

Empowering communities

In the Responsible Tourism Awards, presented each year since 2004, we see many cases of businesses, communities and non-governmental organisations improving tourists’ experiences and co-creating memories. This contributes to viral marketing and, more importantly, provides additional livelihoods that enrich local communities. It is the lived culture of these communities that attracts the interest and appreciation of the domestic and international tourists in their music, dance, craft, art, food, religion and way of life. Their everyday life is the tourist’s adventure.

India is currently the world’s leading destination for responsible tourism. First Kerala and then Madhya Pradesh adopted the principles of responsible tourism and adapted them to address local issues in order to make tourism better and ensure that economically poor and marginalised local communities benefit from tourism, creating additional livelihoods and a sense of pride in their culture and helping stem the flow of young people leaving the communities where they were born.

In Kerala the Responsible Tourism Mission has demonstrated what can be achieved when all levels of government, from state to village panchayat, work together with businesses and empower local communities to shape their tourism to meet the experiential interests of tourists, developing meaningful connections that ensure respect between host and guest, and managing negative impacts to keep them to a very low level. Tourism provides additional livelihood incomes, at the household level. Madhya Pradesh has built on Kerala’s experience and is developing homestays, rural tourism, responsible souvenirs, solid and liquid waste management, access for people who are differently abled and skills training, and making destinations safer for women. Sarawk, too, has adopted responsible tourism as its tourism strategy to 2030.

There is also a responsible tourism trend emerging in Indonesia, responding to the growth in demand for sustainable experiential travel and tourists seeking meaningful engagement with local communities. Tourism can make a major contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with governments, businesses and communities working together to extend lengths of stay and create environments where tourists enjoy, and pay for, local cuisine, storytelling, performances of music and dance, and purchase crafts and responsibly produced souvenirs.

I have had the privilege to travel extensively in the Global South as a tour leader, consultant and academic. Responsible tourism has emerged as a way of creating better places for people to live in and for people to visit. I have learnt from engaging with communities to develop tourism that meets their needs and the aspirations of tourists, and shared that experience and gained more through the responsible tourism movement. So much more could be achieved if South-South exchange was funded and those with experience in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh could engage with those in Indonesia and elsewhere in the Global South to develop similar approaches to achieving sustainable development through tourism. 

Global Governance Project G20 Summit Why Responsible Tourism?

Resilience in West Africa

The Gambia in West Africa closed it borders for nearly a year to keep Covid out. Adama Bah discusses how the people fared. It is clear that with remittances from the Gambian diaspora amounting to nearly 60% of GDP during the Covid lockdowns and a strong sense of responsibility for the welfare of all within the family The Gambia has proved very resilient. Tourism is 20% of the economy in normal times, closing their borders to fend off Covid cost the country dear. The Gambia survived and recovered from the coup and travel bans in 1994, Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and most recently Covid.

13% of the population are now fully vaccinated and they have not yet passed 365 deaths. The Gambia has reopened for tourism with 30% occupancy. But most of those coming are repeat visitors which means that they do not spend much on craft

The Gambia is a culturally and socially rich country despite the low level of income per head. Resilience in The Gambia is based on the closely knit family and the extended family system. Everyone is their others brothers’ and sisters’ keeper and that obligation continues with the diaspora, the emigres are expected to contribute to their immediate and extended family.

As the African proverb goes it takes a whole village to bring up a child

At WTM Africa we are discussing how to make tourism businesses and destinations more resilient.

Tuesday 12th April 15:45-16:15 Investment for Responsible Tourism & Resilience

Development banks, commercial banks and private investors all have a role to play in financing tourism. Hermione Nevill, from the International Finance Corporation, will take a destination-lens to explore some of the financing mechanisms in play, and how they are changing in the context of recovery in Africa. There will be a presentation about what the IFC is doing and an opportunity for Q&A.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group

Tuesday 12th April 16:15-17:00 We need to Increase Our Resilience

The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of our industry to travel bans and fear. Cape Town was not the first destination to suffer from severe drought and a large reduction in arrivals – and it will not be the last. What can businesses and destinations do to increase their resilience? What can you do? What do you need to do?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Lee-Anne Bac, Director, Strategic Development and Advisory

Simon Blackburn Sustainability Director, African Safari Collective

Gareth Morgan, Acting Executive Director: Future Planning and Resilience City of Cape Town |

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group