A local Tanzania tourism company, Thomson Safaris, recently announced plans to join forces with Sustainable Travel International (STI), a non-profit organization and global leader in sustainable travel development.
Together, Thomson Safaris and STI are working to develop plans to refine and expand sustainable travel practices in the region that will support both the local culture and environment.
In a report by the Guardian, the founder and director of Thomson Safaris, Judi Wineland, said that the company was eager to begin its work with STI as a way of preserving the vast wildlife, wilderness and culture that Tanzania had to offer for current and generation to enjoy.
According to Ms. Wineland, STI provides an eco-certification program to train tour operations to accurately measure the impact that they and their tours are having on the environment and to subsequently apply methods to decrease the overall impact.
Thomson Safaris has won awards for Humanitarian of the Year and Tour Operator of the year, in addition to being a finalist for the Cond Nast World Savers award the high ratings that it received in 2008 and 2009 from National Geographic Adventure.
In light of these recognitions, Ms. Wineland said that she and her company remain committed to continuing to work on their goal to become a strong leader in community-based travel and sustainable tourism.
“As a firm,” said Ms. Wineland, “we have been committed to sustainable travel in Tanzania for nearly 30 years and we believe that, through such initiatives, we look forward to expanding those efforts so that the wonderful animals, wilderness and the cultures of Tanzania will thrive for generations to come.”
In keeping with its environment-friendly program, Thomson Safaris has already installed ten solar panels to be used as a power source in its offices in the US and is working to install and include solar-powered lighting, water-saving toilets and showers as well as carbon-neutral heaters at its campsites in Nyumba, Tanzania, which is known for its excellent views of wildlife.
In addition to its work with STI, Thomson Safaris also works with other non-profit organizations in order to fund sustainable projects throughout the country.
Some of the additional organizations that Thomson Safaris works with include Friends of Tanzanian Schools (FOTZS) and the Kilimanjaro Porters’ Assistance Project.
According to Ms. Wineland, approximately 40 percent of the travelers with Thomson Safaris visit local schools in the country and participate in voluntary projects.
In the recent report by the Guardian, Ms. Wineland indicated that funding for projects in schools where about 11,000 children are educated every year in Tanzania was recently facilitated by FOTZ in addition to their work and donations elsewhere for textbooks and construction of teachers housing.