Asilia Africa

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - Main im­age: Bird life abounds in the Selous Game Re­serve, home to Royo ya Selous camp in Tan­za­nia.

Asilia Africa

Roho ya Selous, in the UN­ESCO world her­itage site of Selous Game Re­serve in south­ern Tan­za­nia, is the lat­est ad­di­tion to the Asilia sta­ble of eco­tourism camps. As an im­pact com­pany, Asilia is a leader in the African eco-tourism in­dus­try.

So, what is im­pact in­vest­ing? It's a very spe­cific type of in­vest­ing, which oc­curs across all types of as­set classes. Its ba­sic premise is to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on so­ci­ety and the en­vi­ron­ment. It can also be thought of as sus­tain­able phi­lan­thropy. Op­er­at­ing 18 camps in East Africa, Asilia's vi­sion is to turn vul­ner­a­ble ecosys­tems into vi­able con­ser­va­tion economies.

A num­ber of turn­around sto­ries bear tes­ta­ment to Asilia's vi­sion. The es­tab­lish­ment of Sa­yari as a semi-per­ma­nent camp in an area that was over­run by bush­meat poach­ers, and as a re­sult was de­void of tourists, was piv­otal to the north­ern Serengeti's turn­around.

In 2010 Rekero Camp in the Ma­sai Mara Game Re­serve joined the grow­ing Asilia tribe. Since then Naboisho Camp in the all-im­por­tant Naboisho Con­ser­vancy (it­self nur­tured into be­ing by Asilia and other stake­hold­ers) show­cases the ben­e­fits that lo­cal peo­ple can de­rive from na­ture if the will and know-how ex­ist. For its in­no­va­tive and ex­em­plary gover­nance model, the Naboisho Con­ser­vancy won the pres­ti­gious African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Award in 2016.

Asilia's model of tourism em­ploys large num­bers of ru­ral dwellers where few other op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist. With over 800 con­ti­nen­tal cit­i­zens on its pay­roll, it is a grow­ing em­ployer gen­er­at­ing size­able rev­enues to na­tional gov­ern­ments in the form of fees, levies and taxes – ap­prox­i­mately US$7.8 mil­lion in 2016/17. In ad­di­tion, Asilia raised a fur­ther $236,000 for con­ser­va­tion and so­cial de­vel­op­ment projects in the ar­eas where it oper­ates. Di­rect con­tri­bu­tions from the com­pany to the same projects amounted to $137,000, over and above this.

The ex­tra $370,000 was do­nated to ef­fec­tive and vet­ted part­ners in East Africa. For more in­for­ma­tion on Asilia's part­ners and their projects please go to: Asil­ia­giv­ing.org.

This sense of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to real peo­ple and places is an at­trac­tion to in­ter­na­tional tourists. It also helps en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the wild ar­eas where Asilia oper­ates.

Travel. En­joy. Re­spect. #IY2017

Sun down­ers at Roho ya Selous, Tan­za­nia. Im­pact in­vest­ment: mak­ing a sus­tain­able dif­fer­ence to the lives of lo­cals.

Roho ya Selous bed­room in­te­rior, Tan­za­nia.

Roho ya Selous room ex­te­rior, Tan­za­nia.

Vil­lage vis­its ben­e­fit lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Naboisho Con­ser­vancy, Kenya.

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