Small-scale efforts, great results! Every month Club Africa speaks to business experts with extensive knowledge of the local business and investment environment in Africa
Acting for Life: "More than just survival"
Interview: Prof. Vellas, Director of the Tourism, Ethics and Development program at Acting for Life
Small-scale efforts, great results
Every month we speak to business experts with extensive knowledge of the local business environment in Africa. This month, we speak to Prof. Vellas, Director of the Tourism, Ethics and Development program at Acting for Life.
The basic idea behind Acting for Life is that "Life should be about more than just survival". Acting for Life is a French organization that aims to raise living standards all over the world, including Africa. Developing sustainable tourism can make a big difference for underdeveloped areas on the continent, says Prof. Francois Vellas, who is seeking the help of Flying Blue Club Africa Members.
One of the focal points of Acting for Life is developing sustainable tourism as a factor in development. Prof. Francois Vellas of the University of Toulouse (France) and Director of the Tourism, Ethics and Development (TED) program at Acting for Life, explains: “We provide technical and organizational assistance to develop small and medium enterprises and micro-enterprises in the tourism sector in Africa and other parts of the world. We promote sharing best practices that prove to help people tap into small-scale tourism, by helping them discover their talents.”
Acting for Life has a practical approach. Prof. Vellas: “We try to avoid mass tourism because of its negative environmental impact. Small-scale initiatives tend to work best. For example, we have a program that links disabled people – the poorest of the poor in less developed countries – to managers of international hotels. Not as staff, but as providers of locally produced handicrafts hotels can offer their guests as a gift. The hotel buys the items, offering local people an honest living. We successfully implemented this in Mozambique and Togo and are now seeking to duplicate this methods in other parts of the continent”, says Mr. Vellas. He hopes to receive suggestions from Flying Blue Club Africa Members for areas and hotels that might be interested in this concept. You can contact him at email@example.com.
There is a practical approach to create environmental awareness among local tourism activities in underdeveloped countries. “Making people aware of sustainability is key to their future. We have developed a method that really makes the idea of sustainability come alive, on a very hands-on level with lots of do’s, don’ts and useful hints. The information has been translated to local languages and is being used to change people’s attitudes toward waste, water management and conservation.” The program will be extended to Western Africa.
Work on developing sustainable tourism is never finished. Prof. Vellas insists that well-prepared local initiatives result in tangible results. “On the Indonesian island of Weh, for example, a relatively small sum of money was invested to install buoys for snorkelling and diving operators to moor, preventing damage to the reefs. This doesn’t just protect the coral, it also protects local tourism for future generations. Local businesses have become very aware of this, whichis a big plus”, Prof. Vellas says.
Does your business participate in similar initiatives and would you like to share your thoughts on these projects with us? Learn how to get your CSR initiative showcased on Flying Blue Club Africa here.
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