Ethical travel and tourism has the ability to change the lives of entire communities - as the story below shows.
The Pilanesberg National Park is a small state-owned reserve about 90 minutes' drive from Johannesburg. It's particularly famous for its proximity to the love-it-or-hate-it Sun City, South Africa's answer to Las Vegas.
The Pilanesberg Tourism Incubation programme is a three-year business development project: the idea was to identify 50 Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises operating within or close to Pilanesberg and enroll them for development support for the 3 years.
The support takes many forms, not just financial. There's mentorship, coaching and marketing all provided totally free.
What's particularly great about this is that Fair Trade in Tourim SA was chosen as the provider for this programme: it has a a demonstrated ability to promote inclusive tourism growth benefitting SMMEs and co-operatives located around protected areas in South Africa.
“Unless local black businesses are given the opportunity to integrate into the formal tourism economy around national parks, the future of these parks and communities will be dire,” said Ms Edge CEO at FTT. “Rural communities need to derive real tangible value from the wildlife economy and FTT is committed to playing a productive role in facilitating this integration".
Pictured is Refiloe Tladi, one of the Women In Tourism tour operators identified by The Incubation Programme for assitance and support.