I am currently based on the beautifully scenic Cape West Coast of South Africa, living in the very small coastal town of Jacobsbaai. It is a mere 1 hr 30min drive from Cape Town and a town with a quintessential west coast look and feel. Those of you who follow me on twitter.com/socialtourismsa may have seen regular sunset snapshots over the water.
I am currently working on environmental and cultural awareness in the town for the small community, making the handful of tourism businesses operating here aware of their impact on the environment and the sensitive coastal landscape. I am currently looking for funds to develop a community website. A portal for the community to come together to discuss coastal management issues, crime, prevention of abalone and crayfish poaching and promoting arts and crafts studios run from their homes.
On a regional focus, I am currently Tourism Development Chair for the regional Tourism organisation, Saldanha Bay Tourism and involved in various tourism development initiatives in the area.
On a professional services level I am working with !Khwa ttu San Cultural and Education Centre and their 2011 San trainees presenting seminars and training sessions on Responsible Tourism issues using !Khwa ttu as a case study to help trainees understand how Responsible Tourism can and should work in their favour in any future job opportunities they get as a result of the training received at !Khwa ttu.
My current environmental focus is on Recycling awareness on the Cape West Coast. I am working with a nearby SME recycling sorting station, called World Focus Recycling, on introducing the as yet ‘non-existent’ concept of recycling to the residents, restaurants and tourism businesses, in the area. I am looking for funds or sponsorships to begin a recycling collection service aimed at tourism businesses. Recyclables will be collected bi-monthly from the doorsteps of businesses, no sorting required (a concept not heard of for homes in the UK) as staff at WFR have jobs and a livelihood from sorting recycling. All the staff are from poor communities in the nearby townships.
I have completed my Masters Dissertation research project, the final requirement of a MSc Responsible Tourism Management from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK. This course is led by the ICRT - The International Centre for Responsible Tourism based at LeedsMet.
I am also an alumni member of the ICRT
I believe that it is not enough to simply understand, it's also important to take responsibility and to act. I have travelled and have seen the impacts of tourism in destination communities. I recognises interdependence (i.e. interconnectedness and the reliance on one another socially, economically, environmentally and politically) and the responsibility which flows from that. I am committed to Responsible Tourism and have a desire to make a difference. My aspirations, values and commitment to responsible tourism are shared by my fellow ICRT alumni who act as a valuable resource of information and expertise thus strengthening my network and support structure. Through my Masters in Responsible Tourism, my professors Dr. Harold Goodwin, Dr Xavier Font and Simon Woodward have provided support and equipped me with the knowledge and skills to take responsibility for the triple-bottom line sustainability of tourism. I share the ICRT commitment to "create better places for people to live in, and better places for people to visit."
My research essentially focused on 'Establishing the readiness for sustainability learning of small owner-managed tourism businesses by analysing their decision-making processes'. The project yielded interesting results which can be found here *Comimg sooon*.