Zimbabwe has started implementing “green concepts” in the tourism sector
in a bid to attract more international tourists.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has announced it has entered into a
partnership with the U.K.-based Green Tourism Programme and Environment Africa
to offer green tourism grading throughout the country. Sugar Chagonda of
the tourism authority said the government is currently engaging members of the country’s
tourism industry to explain the concept of green tourism.
A pilot program was undertaken in February this year for the green
tourism certification of 14 operators in Victoria Falls and Hwange. Green
Tourism managing director Andrea Nicholas said the organization had looked at
everything from bedrooms and bathrooms to the type of food served in the hotels
and lodges considering what chemicals are being used and whether the products
are being sourced locally to promote local communities.
Nicholas was quoted in Zimbabwe’s News Day as saying: “From the time we
have spent here, it is evident that tourism businesses in Zimbabwe are
committed to going green and doing changes to how they have been conducting
However, Diane Lobel of African Portfolio pointed out that although
clients may indicate that green tourism is important and something they value,
it doesn’t play out in their selection of properties and experiences when it
comes to booking their safari. She says: “So while there is general
support for the concept of green and sustainable tourism, it really does not
feature as decision criteria in trip planning.”
Marcia Gordon, president and co-founder of Extraordinary
Journeys, explained that even though U.S. travelers are not actively asking for
green establishment, it is important to Extraordinary Journeys as a company.
She said: “It is important to us to know we can do well by doing good.”
Gordon adds that once clients are at a destination and see that they are
in places that are giving back, they are extremely grateful. “Seeing how
we give back to communities have made them more willing to recommend us to
their friends and family,” she said.
Emily Baldwin ofMicato
adds that clients don’t necessarily ask about sustainability when booking, but
they do expect Micato to select only like-minded lodging partners. She says:
“We are very explicit in our marketing materials that we value sustainability
and stewardship of Africa’s natural treasures.”
Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, said that travelers
who are mindful of the environment will choose to stay with accommodations
providers who focus on reducing their organization’s carbon footprint.
“Customer are looking to see real innovation to ensuring environment awareness
and not just token gestures,” Banda said.