An enjoyable evening was had by all at Arusha Coffee Lodge in Tanzania, where Land & Life and Elewana Collection hosted a celebration of UNWTO World Sustainable Tourism Day. Approximately 80 representatives from the top tier of Tanzania’s travel and tourism industry came together to celebrate the achievements in community and conservation and the strides taken in sustainable tourism in Tanzania. Live music, canapes and drinks welcomed the guests to Arusha Coffee Lodge as they mingled.
Guests included the Vice Chairman of the Board of Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Henry Kimambo and the CEO Sirili Akko, the Chairman of the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) Julian Edmunds, and the team from Responsible Tourism Tanzania (RTTZ) Damian Bell and Julius Lesanoi.
Government representatives included Mr Michael Ndaisaba Tourism Officer from Arusha City Council and Ms Flora Mwambo from Arusha Regional Commissioner’s office.
The private sector was well represented, with attendees from almost all the large scale and many smaller local tour operators and hospitality companies, food and beverage suppliers, and more.
The guests enjoyed watching the Official Message from the President of the UNWTO Mr Taleb Rifai, who spoke of the need to work together to harness the power of sustainable tourism to contribute to global development. Guests also watched a short film from the International Year of Tourism 2017 team’s Travel.Enjoy.Respect. campaign and heard some words from Elewana Collection’s Hannah Wood on the importance of a sustainable approach to tourism and the activities of the private sector in conservation and community.
A light-hearted “Do-ers and Dreamers” competition was held, for companies and organisations to highlight their sustainability achievements to date and to encourage conversation and sharing of innovative ideas. Prizes were donated by Shanga by Elewana and the Honeyguide Foundation and the judging panel consisted of Damian Bell and Julius Lesanoi (RTTZ), and Tira Schubert (London-based East African and conservation specialist journalist).
First prize for sustainable tourism practice in action was won by Laurens Sans of Nyayo Discovery for their impressive range of community and conservation activities, including donating 10% of all profits to projects supporting local Maasai tribes. The prize for most innovative future suggestion was awarded to Niall Anderson of &Beyond for suggesting banning the use of fins in marine parks as so much damage is done to coral and marine life directly from fin use.
The evening was a great success, generating much discussion of the role of the individual stakeholder in sustainable tourism and the importance of the sector in contribution to regional development. Land & Life and the Elewana Collection are happy to have hosted the event and plans will be made for a follow up event next year.