Safari lodge’s poverty reduction scheme takes silver at African Responsible Tourism Awards

Serena Safari Lodge

Serena Safari Lodge

Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge took the Silver in the ‘Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction’ category awarded at World Travel Market Africa.

The Silver Award was in recognition of Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge's key role together with its partners, International Labour Organisation, Africa Pro-Poor Tourism Development Centre, and Tech for Trade that has given a new lease on life for the women of Kimana’s Women’s Group in Amboseli, Kenya.

This group of HIV+ and socially affected small scale women farmers has become one of the main suppliers of fresh vegetables and herbs to the Lodge. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge has worked to ensure practices and standards of quality and cleanliness and assisted in other business logistics, such as setting up a business bank account. To achieve this, training was provided to the Kimana Women’s Group to produce and package goods in an internationally acceptable manner, and improve overall business skills, thus building capacity and improving markets. Ownership of their own land, working capital to bridge credit periods and strengthened business skills and quality assurance have won the women additional clients.

Serena Hotels plan to replicate this supply chain model in the Tsavo and Mara regions where the hotel group has safari lodges. This will expand the empowering benefits of long-run income, food security and improved health and nutrition to more households thus improving the quality of life.      

Speaking at the Awards, Heidi van der Watt, Managing Director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa, saying, “Our winners have a vision that extends beyond the commercial – linking business success with the wellbeing of local communities and the longevity of their environments. They want to make profits with principles, communicate balance sheets alongside beliefs, and won’t undermine passion in the pursuit of professionalism. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They are the future of tourism in Africa.”

Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Serena’s 24 properties are strategically placed in areas that are marginalised and more often than not lack basic infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. Serena Hotels believes tourism is the strongest driver of prosperity and operates various initiatives that touch on the holistic upbringing of children under their ‘adopt a school’ programme that has a multiplier effect for poverty reduction in these areas for the immediate and medium term.

The African Responsible Tourism Awards were established in 2014 to celebrate and inspire change in the African tourism industry. The Awards are affiliated to the World Responsible Tourism Awards.

They rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.

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