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  • Writer's pictureSarah Pyrce

Tourism's Latest Efforts in Conservation, Sustainability, and Social Impact to Highlight this Earth Month

Eco-tourism embodies three key pillars: the environment, communities, and wildlife. As we approach Earth Month, we consider the ways we can modify our lifestyles to benefit the planet, including how we choose to travel. At REYA Communications, we proudly represent clients prioritizing conservation, social impact, and sustainability. From electric safari vehicles in South Africa to sustainable drinking water in St. Barths and much more, read below to learn more about these incredible initiatives. 


CONSERVATION EFFORTS 


Chimp protection project Volcanoes Safaris Kyambura Lodge

Volcanoes Safaris, Uganda and Rwanda 

Specialists in mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, Volcanoes Safaris comprises four luxury lodges. Volcanoes Safaris guests have exclusive access to the organization's many eco-tourism, conservation and community initiatives.


Chimp Protection Project 

Volcanoes Safaris’ Kyambura Gorge Lodge has developed a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute to protect an isolated family of chimpanzees under threat, known as the ‘Lost Chimps of Kyambura’ Two hours away in the Kibale Forest is the largest population of chimpanzees that the Jane Goodall Institute actively works to protect. Kibale is also home to Volcanoes Safaris’ new Kibale Lodge, set to open in July this year as their second lodge offering chimp trekking while committing to the conservation of these unique creatures. 


Lion Conservation Project

Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT) launched a lion and large carnivore monitoring project last year. Based at Kyambura Gorge Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, the project will establish an annual carnivore survey and create a shared research database in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). A key focus will be to keep a pulse on the population status of the country’s iconic tree-climbing lions through the use of the latest spatially explicit capture-recapture methods. These findings will also provide an understanding of how lions are faring in the park over time and insights into particular individuals, their space use, and sex ratios. Read more. 


Expert: Praveen Moman, Owner



Go2Africa Gorilla Trekking Positive Impact Safaris trip

Go2Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

Go2Africa is a multi-award-winning tour operator based in Cape Town that curates exceptional, personalized African safaris. Since 1998, the team has been committed to building first-hand knowledge of every destination, lodge, and activity they recommend from their 3000+ safari partners.


B Corp Certification 

Go2Africa received its B Corp certification last year, further exemplifying its unwavering dedication to sustainability, transparency, and ethical business practices. When planning a trip with Go2Africa, travelers are choosing a company that uses its influence and resources to drive positive impact in the world. Read below to learn more about Go2Africa’s impactful work. 


Positive Impact Safaris 

Go2Africa’s Positive Impact Safaris have designed a Trips with Purpose program and created over 300 different itineraries for guests that combine exceptional experiences with giving back to African communities, from community impact to wildlife conservation to environmental work. These trips allow travelers to visit or have a hands-on experience at a Positive Impact project and include an additional financial contribution from Go2Africa towards specific projects. For example, guests can participate in the Gorilla Trekking for a Cause trip, where they can meet these rare, incredible creatures face-to-face. When travelers book this trip, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and guests are able to visit the campus to see the organization’s work in action. 


Expert: Maija de Rijk-Uys, Managing Director



Delfin Amazon Cruises Bee conservation project

Delfin Amazon Cruises, Iquitos, Peru

Venture to uncover the Amazon Rainforest in the most unique and personal way. Delfin Amazon Cruises is the pioneer upscale river cruise operator in the Upper Peruvian Amazon, with three luxury cruises that will take you on a magical journey of discovery. Breathtaking sceneries, luxuriant forests, and nature at its finest come together with first-rate service to create an unforgettable experience.


Bee Conservation Project 

Through a partnership with BioAmaz, Delfin Amazon Cruises has contributed to the Bee Queen Coin project, which provides the beehives of stingless Meliponine bees to families in Peru. Their initiative spans 29 different species out of the almost 200 stingless Meliponine species. Importantly, communities have the flexibility to either sell the produced honey, bee wax, pollen, and propolis back to Bee Queen Coin or keep it for their own consumption. This dual-purpose approach enriches local diets, addresses nutritional needs, and simultaneously benefits their crops through enhanced pollination. The absence of a sting on the Meliponine bees eliminates the threat to the villagers and streamlines the beekeeping process. Onboard, Delfin Amazon Cruises' guests can enjoy the benefits of a Farm-to-Table garden, which hosts 10 beehives of Melipona Eburnea. This initiative is also intertwined with education efforts in local schools, where children visit the crops, learn from lectures, and help by making handmade signs. Guests of the Delfin I can visit the Bee Queen Coin center in Iquitos and witness the marvel of open beehives housing stingless Meliponini up close.


Expert: Aldo Macchiavello, Owner


SOCIAL IMPACT EFFORTS


Soly Luna Foundation school Sacred Valley Peru

Sol y Luna Foundation, Sacred Valley, Peru

The Sol y Luna Foundation gives Peruvian children born into extreme poverty the future they deserve through love, care, and education. The foundation consists of the Sol y Luna School, Paqari for special needs support, the Sol y Luna Home, and Roots & Wings for further education. Today, thanks to private donations and profits generated by the Sol y Luna hotel in Peru's Sacred Valley, the foundation enrolls 163 students while providing housing for 21. 


Sol y Luna School 

Founded in 2009, the Sol y Luna School accepts 163 students from ages 5 to 17 and from 20 different rural and disadvantaged communities, providing them with an education and the tools to build a brighter future. The school was established by the Sol y Luna Foundation, a non-profit institution that gives love, care, and education to children from Peru’s poverty-stricken communities. The foundation was created in 1996 and is run by Petit Miribel, who moved to Urubamba in the 1990s and has been dedicated to supporting the Sacred Valley ever since. The financial support to make the Sol y Luna Foundation possible meant leveraging the Sacred Valley’s potential for tourism, and in 2000, Petit decided to open a hotel. Walking distance from the school, Hotel Sol y Luna is a Relais & Châteaux member encompassing 43 casitas and two restaurants showcasing contemporary Peruvian cuisine. 


Expert: Petit Miribel, Owner



Maa Beadwork Project Kenya's Maasai Mara Asilia Africa

Asilia Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya

One of East Africa’s longest-standing safari companies offering incredible experiences and a strong commitment to empowering people and nature in the region. Asilia Africa operates 18 lodges between Tanzania and Kenya.


Maa Trust

The Maa Trust is one of Asilia’s valued Positive Impact partners. They work with community-owned conservancies in the Masai Mara in Kenya to support the protection of wildlife, Maasai culture, and ecosystems. In Maasai culture, women have few opportunities to earn an income. The Beadwork Project blends the traditional skill of beading with modern exposure to international travelers — allowing these Massai women to make their own money from selling their beautiful beadwork directly to visitors. Asilia guests have the chance to visit the Maa Beadswork studio and discover more about the vibrant artistry of the Maasai tribe. Other Masaai women earn an income together by owning a beehive. The Honey Project combines the conservation of African bees with the need for sustainable income generation. The Masaai women help harvest and bottle their golden nectar, which is then sold to camps and lodges across the Mara. The Maa Trust employs 684 women in their beadwork and honey project. Asilia supports with financial backing through direct donations and product orders for each of their camps, with 65% of their annual revenue coming from guests of the camps.


Dunia Camp

In Tanzania’s Serengeti, women have made history at Asilia’s Dunia Camp. Dunia Camp is the first all-female-run safari camp. Opened in 2016, the camp employs only women to become chefs, guides, managers, and housekeepers. These women may be mothers and wives, or they may be young and single. All are trading a traditional life path for women in Tanzania for financial independence and the ability to support their families. The women are nicknamed “Dunia Angels” because of the light and fearlessness they bring to the camp, inspiring others to join them in the bush. 


B Corp Certification 

As a proud Certified B Corporation, Asilia is committed to investing in ecologically and economically vulnerable regions. It works to turn these areas into viable conservation economies, benefiting local communities and the environment. People and nature are inseparable partners. Therefore, Asilia works closely with communities, authorities, NGOs, and industry partners to maintain this relationship.


Expert: Adrian Ghaui, Head of Impact and Sustainability


SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS 


Hotel Christopher St. Barts sustainable drinking water

Hotel Christopher, St. Barths 

Located above the rocky shoreline of the sought-after neighborhood of Pointe Milou, The Christopher has long been a refuge for those in the know on St. Barth for its understated elegance, with 48 rooms and suites and three villas. Guests can enjoy the Caribbean’s only Sisley Spa at Hotel Christopher, which boasts oceanfront treatment rooms and contemporary cuisine at RIVYERA restaurant led by 2 Michelin-star Chef Arnaud Faye.


Green Globe Certification

Hotel Christopher, St Barthélemy’s 5-star hotel is a proud recipient of the Green Globe Certification three years in a row. This certification recognizes the nature-first tourism and low-impact practices of Hotel Christopher, which remains the only hotel in St. Barts to obtain this award. The 2023 award highlighted the implementation of a self-sufficient water system, making Hotel Christopher the only hotel on the island to have its own purified drinking water production. 


Sustainable Water Project 

Through a partnership with the French sustainable water group AQUAchiara, Hotel Christopher’s water is bottled and purified for hotel guests and restaurant guests. In The Chrisopher’s two restaurants, led by French Michelin-starred chef ​​Arnaud Faye, the completely self-sufficient water system reduces CO2 emissions and eliminates the shipping and plastic impacts from outsourced bottled water. The innovative project, co-signed by ADEME, a French ecological transition agency, is the first of its kind on the island and a mammoth effort by the hotel in accordance with Green Globe commitments to operate at the highest level of sustainability possible.


Reef Conservation Project 

Hotel Christopher also supports a variety of environmental projects, including the ARTIREEF project, which aims to protect the 38 different species of coral at Pointe Milou’s reef. Located a few dozen meters offshore from the hotel, the project utilizes the Biorock Process, which uses metal structures with electric currents coming from the hotel to expedite new coral growth, which will flourish into beautiful underwater artwork with structures designed after the likes of the Eiffel Tower and Egyptian pyramids. By planting species that are endemic to the Lesser Antilles and protecting the coral against invasive exotic species, they hope to preserve the biodiversity of the local flora.


Expert: Olivier Leroy, General Manager



Cheetah Plains solar power carbon negative property

Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands, South Africa

Home to the exclusive-use luxury villa and sustainable safari experience in South Africa’s celebrated Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, Cheetah Plains is a sophisticated, innovative, eco-luxe safari run entirely on solar power. It provides guests with an award-winning, personalized, and flexible experience with five-star service and award-winning design.  


Carbon-Negative Safari Lodge

This year, Cheetah Plains became the first carbon-negative safari lodge in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve (SSNR). Recently awarded Africa’s Leading Green Hotel by World Travel Awards in 2023, Cheetah Plains embraces sustainability on every level, from its unique and award-winning architecture to its all-electric fleet of solar-powered 4x4 vehicles for a 100% off-grid game-drive experience. A pioneer of the sustainable safari experience, Cheetah Plains values nature and wildlife conservation, energy efficiency, water stewardship, waste reduction, empowerment, education, and responsible purchasing practices. 


Expert: Peter Dros, General Manager


To discuss any of these initiatives or learn more about REYA's clients and their commitment to conservation, sustainability, and social impact, please email alexandra@reyacommunications.com.

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