“Sustainable tourism” can sound terribly boring and conjure up images of Birkenstocks (maybe even, shock horror, with socks in), bugs and bowls of cold porridge. Actually, sustainable tourism is simple: it is having a great time on holiday while at the same time making a positive contribution to the people, places and communities that make it happen. Sure, there are a whole lot of economic, social and environmental issues to take into consideration when deciding whether it is a legitimately sustainable business, but the great thing is that Simply South Africa only features businesses that make a real difference.
For me, a genuinely good holiday starts and ends with people. Real service is delivered with a sincere smile; great experiences are enhanced by a knowledgeable and passionate guide; and sustainable tourism businesses have a positive impact on the people that work there, as well as their families and communities. It’s a win-win: I get a great experience, and give back to those same people just by being there.
During my years of working in the field of sustainable tourism, I have had the great privilege of visiting many tourism businesses that do an amazing work of ensuring that tourism is a force for positive change. Across South Africa, small and large businesses ranging from budget to luxury are creating fabulous experiences for their guests, and a better life for their people. I want to tell you some of these stories. They are about the hard work, dedication, pride and purpose of normal people with dreams and visions of a better future.
I want to bring you a vast array of places to visit and things to do that won’t cost the earth (and more often than not, won’t empty your wallet either). Places where you can meet the real people of South Africa, and interact with them on their terms. Places where you can discover and learn and make new friends. And places where you are surrounded by happy people that are proud of their jobs and proud of their culture and land. There will be no artificial cultural villages, no sit-in-a-bus-and-take-photos-of-the-poor-people tours and definitely no disrespectfulness to people, animals or nature.
So join me on a journey around this weird and wonderful place called South Africa, the Rainbow Nation, and see a new side of tourism. A way to travel that will leave lifelong memories and a feeling that you contributed to the wellbeing of your holiday destination, simply by selecting a place that respects people, communities and nature.