Social & Environmental Sustainability
Closer to Africa is founded on the principal of achieving complete sustainability for Tourism starting from within our communities. Our journey has lead us to pursue a new model for Responsible & Sustainable Tourism, one that puts equal emphasis on Social Conservation, not just Environmental. Wherever Travel & Tourism meets people, or where location and locals are integrally linked through culture, religion, heritage or tradition, there is almost always an inherent way-of-life that’s been preserved by and through the generations of locals that reside there. This is what enriches the location and underpins its value as a tourism destination. Our efforts aim to preserve this legacy and help to offset Over-Tourism in communities by building sustainable experiences that fund carefully selected initiatives with the ultimate goal of cultivating a more socially and environmentally sustainable future for Tourism within our communities.
By choosing Closer to Africa you are supporting an entire eco-system of like-minded local suppliers whilst playing your part to ensure the future sustainability of the communities you love travelling to. We try and make it easier for travellers, service providers and travel professionals to meet sustainable community development goals whilst enjoying authentic experiences of the best quality.
Our 10% Community Kick-Back
We only select community initiatives and projects to receive funding if they impact on 1 or more of the UNWTO’s Tourism Sustainability Development Goals. By designing tours around these projects, we not only ensure that our support goes to off-set where impact is felt the most, but we also help these projects to become financially sustainable by combining tourism revenue with donor income. Our projects include regular Feeding Schemes, Community Workshops, Soup Kitchens and Sustainable Gardening Projects, all facilitated through community NPO’s.
UNWTO Tourism Sustainable Development Goals
Our model for Sustainability is closely Aligned with the UNWTO and meets 13 of their 17 Tourism Sustainability Development Goals.
Over-tourism in communities erodes heritage and culture by displacing locals, this is the currently reality in many neighbourhoods popular with travellers the world over. We believe that that Tourism should be an aid in a locations conservation objectives and not an obstacle or hinderance.
The impact of over-tourism on a culture-rich community can be seen in how subtle changes in the way locals move around in and use their neighbourhood, if Tourism is left to grow without the right checks in place this quickly shifts towards a displacement of locals through rising property prices and consequently, an erosion of heritage and culture that once vibrated through these communities, now visited only for the landscape and history.
If over-tourism is the action and erosion of heritage is the outcome, then as a solution, Responsible Tourism practises should be the corrective action and Sustainable Tourism the outcome.
Empowering locals by using community site guides and home-based suppliers and host should never be seen as a responsible practise, this is their right just as it is for us to make a living or to explore unrestricted so it is or at least should be the ’Norm’ and perhaps for us, the starting point.
Our Closer Experiences lie at the heart of our efforts to transform community tourism to be more conscious and inclusive. These experiences connect at least 3 of the best and most authentic local suppliers to create a half-day and full day excursions that gives back 10% of tour profits to a selected community NPO or social welfare initiative. These initiates range from community feeding schemes to sustainable gardening projects. Closer Experiences also allow travellers to connect to a community cause or initiative and continue supporting this after they have left the designation through
We integrate with community organisations and CIVIC bodies to understand conservation objectives and work to find solutions through tourism.
We design tours to include multiple local service providers, we limit capacity and restrict schedules so that we have the lowest impact on a location as possible.
Closer to Africa is dedicated community tour operator based in Cape Town, South Africa. We on a mission to transform the African travel landscape to be more sustainable for future generations to enjoy and more inclusive for all. Our tours are designed for the conscious traveller looking to explore neighbourhoods for their unique heritage, culture or traditions, but in a way that contributes towards the conservation and preservation of these communities. Our experiences are life-changing and offer closer connections to people & places, whilst simultaneously having a positive impact. By combining ethical local suppliers, we create experiences that kick back 10% of profits to a community initiative or NPO with a focus on social sustainability. Our tours leave a minimum impact on locations by decreasing maximum capacity and frequency. We also try to have enough product variety which helps to reduce impact on popular sites. Closer to Africa is dedicated to community social development through tourism. Our strength lies in our ability to work with civic bodies and community organisations to develop social welfare and community development initiatives funded by our tours.
Our relationships forged with Civic Bodies and Community NPO’s are truly like partnerships in every sense. We are like-minded people that share common values and goals for Community and Tourism. We work together to understand the location’s unique social issues and tourism impacts and try and build tour products with conservation in mind. These tours help to fund initiatives that offer solutions to social problems as well as help to offset Over-Tourism and the impact on local heritage. Community Partners include but are not limited to: AMAL, The Bo-Kaap Civic Association, Boorhaanol Islam Movement, The Bo-Kaap Community Gardens and Khulisa Streetscapes Project.