Cof­fee­beans Routes

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL -

Parker Cot­tage

Parker Cot­tage in the heart of Cape Town's City Bowl is more than just an­other bed-and-break­fast hos­pi­tal­ity es­tab­lish­ment set in a her­itage (circa 1895) build­ing. It's ar­guably the green­est her­itage build­ing in the city, and the coun­try for that matter. The new owner, Pamela Nayler aims to prove that not only new build prop­er­ties can be sus­tain­ably run.

And Pamela's aim is be­ing re­mark­ably well achieved, as Parker Cot­tage's re­cent Fair Trade Tourism ac­cred­i­ta­tion tes­ti­fies. Sus­tain­able tourism prac­tices in­clude us­ing rain­wa­ter for wash­ing ma­chines and ir­ri­ga­tion of their indige­nous gar­dens; wa­ter for show­ers, baths and rooms is heated us­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient air source heat pumps; and they ac­tively sep­a­rate waste for re­cy­cling by the needy through The Sal­va­tion Army.

In ad­di­tion, Parker Cot­tage look af­ter their staff in­cred­i­bly well. Per­ma­nent staff re­ceive 50% higher wages than the min­i­mum pre­scribed bench­mark for the in­dus­try and are mo­ti­vated with guar­an­teed Christ­mas bonuses and in­fla­tion beat­ing an­nual pay in­creases. Staff are also funded for at least one train­ing course a year to en­sure that they are up skilled and ad­vanced on their ca­reer path.

Their com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and sup­port in­cludes anony­mous fund­ing of two school schol­ar­ships at St Pauls Pri­mary in the Bo Kaap, reg­u­lar dona­tions of old li­nen, tow­elling, crock­ery, bed­ding and soaps to The Haven Night­shel­ter, sup­port­ing the work of Medicins Sans Fron­tiers with monthly dona­tions, and spon­sor­ing at least three room nights a year to char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tions around Cape Town for raf­fles or other fundrais­ing ef­forts.

Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects in­clude a pol­icy to pur­chase sup­plies and ser­vices from busi­nesses lo­cated in less af­flu­ent ar­eas and owned by his­tor­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als. One such in­di­vid­ual is their driver and guide, Chris Han­nival, who was en­cour­aged and sup­ported to start his own trans­port busi­ness. Chris now of­fers work to a fur­ther two driv­ers as a re­sult.

Travel. En­joy. Respect. #IYSTD17

Cof­fee­beans Routes

Travel is about shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and few tour op­er­a­tors en­able guests to im­merse them­selves in South Africa's ex­tra­or­di­nary mix of cul­ture and cre­ativ­ity bet­ter than Cof­fee­beans Routes.

Es­tab­lished in 2005, Cof­fee­beans has cre­ated a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion as a cul­tural and cre­ative tour op­er­a­tor, by fo­cus­ing on sto­ries. As founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor Iain Har­ris puts it: “We build ex­pe­ri­ences around sto­ries be­cause ev­ery­body has them. In South Africa, where most of the pop­u­la­tion was leg­is­lated into si­lence, our sto­ries can be equalis­ers. And this is African tourism's great op­por­tu­nity.”

Cof­fee­beans Routes pri­ori­tises cre­ativ­ity. They cre­ate travel ex­pe­ri­ences around South African sto­ries – con­tem­po­rary, ur­ban, African ex­pe­ri­ences that pro­vide nu­anced in­sights and com­plex­ity. They of­fer ex­pe­ri­ences in Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg, work­ing with a net­work of lo­cals, from tourist guides, cooks, mu­si­cians, fash­ion de­sign­ers and artists, to ar­chi­tects, spir­i­tual lead­ers, brew­ers, wine-mak­ers, his­to­ri­ans, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

Us­ing tourism as a key to un­lock eco­nomic po­ten­tial, Cof­fee­beans en­ables vis­i­tors to ex­plore the coun­try's cul­tural di­ver­sity and legacy, and they man­age it by cre­at­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Their ap­proach to sus­tain­able tourism prac­tice is to fo­cus on so­cial jus­tice, while in par­al­lel im­ple­ment­ing tan­gi­ble sus­tain­able tourism projects.

Says Iain: “En­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact starts with so­cial jus­tice. If rad­i­cal so­cial and eco­nomic dis­par­i­ties are re­duced, if so­ci­ety be­comes more equal, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity is a nat­u­ral byprod­uct. So the start­ing point for us is so­cial jus­tice, and our big­gest im­pact is through a re­spon­si­ble ap­proach to how we en­gage with peo­ple, communities and sto­ries, and how po­si­tion­ing new nar­ra­tives at the heart of tourism starts to level im­bal­ances. When we start to take own­er­ship of the en­vi­ron­ments we live in (given that so much has been taken away, making us in­den­tured ten­ants rather than cu­ra­tors), we nat­u­rally min­imise im­pact on the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.”

Cof­fee­beans Routes story telling tours have be­come so suc­cess­ful that they have been the re­cip­i­ent of many award ac­co­lades, in­clud­ing the African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Awards.

Travel. En­joy. Respect. #IYSTD17

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