Safari Lodges, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusion


The theme of the 2009 International Disability Awareness Day served to bring to light the needs of people with disabilities in relation to the Millennium Development Goals. As the lead sentence of the article below from the African Safari Lodge Foundation affirms tourism can be effective in rural poverty alleviation. That effectiveness will be enhanced through application of the guidelines and best practices developed by those working in Inclusive Tourism:

The ASLF and tourism best practice

It is  widely accepted that nature tourism, also referred to as ecotourism, has enormous potential to alleviate poverty in rural areas of developing countries. Around the world countries with significant natural beauty are developing models to help ensure a fair spread of benefits to neighbouring communities. The ASL Foundation has identified the need and the opportunity to improve the best practice information sharing through the links established in certain countries by the work of the Ford Foundation.

The Ford Foundation is actively involved in supporting human rights and poverty alleviation projects and programmes in India and southern Africa. Through its offices in these countries, the Foundation seeks to encourage an exchange of ideas and strategies by practitioners - so that they can learn from each other about how to improve the performance of the different projects they work in.

The African Safari Lodge Foundation in South Africa is one of the Foundation's grantees. The Foundation's African Safari Lodge and Rural Development Programme works to enhance the ability of the safari lodge industry in southern Africa to contribute to the alleviation of poverty in the region.

Although African Safari Lodges are a specific type of industry geared to the conditions that exist in African national parks and protected areas, they do share features with nature tourism enterprises of the type that exist in other developing countries such as India. In addition, some of southern Africa's biggest (and most socially responsible) lodge development companies have begun to explore the possibilities of developing similar enterprises in India and Latin America.

In view of its experience in analyzing and implementing integrated conservation and rural development programmes in a part of the world where there are examples of global best practice, the ASL Foundation is able to organize an exchange of analysis, experience, practice and lessons between practitioners of pro-poor tourism in India and southern Africa.

As part of this exchange programme, The African Safari Lodge Foundation recently hosted a practitioner's workshop in Johannesburg  with many of the foreign participants going on a field trip at the end of the workshop to visit the community-owned lodges, Thakadu River Camp and Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve in North West Province.

Various case studies had been commissioned and were presented to the participants from India, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa over 3 days:


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