Our Story is a long story. So get comfortable, recharge your glass (with wine preferably – save water -there’s a drought in Cape Town) and read on…
Beverley and I (I, being Des Langkilde – publishing editor, blogger and chief bottle washer) started publishing the Tourism Tattler Travel Trade Journal magazine and online travel trade content nearly 15 years ago (since 19 May 2003 to be precise). Since then, we’ve travelled extensively, written copiously, and reported conscientiously, about our travel experiences through Africa and the continent’s exotic islands.
NB: Before you quit reading this, scroll down – we need your help to make our latest Walk4Africa project a reality.
While our focus has always been on the travel trade (the business side of tourism with an emphasis on knowledge sharing for SMEs to grow their businesses) we are also mindful that travel consumers (tourists) also read our content, so we maintain a positive reporting style and avoid negativity. In fact, since publishing the Tourism Tattler Travel Trade Journal digital magazine on multiple distribution platforms (which collectively have over 200 million users), our readership is now more travel consumer than travel trade – see the infographic and readership stats on our advertising page.
Besides the magazine and TourismTattler.com website, we’ve also launched several travel-related online channels, including Bookings2Africa.com – an Online Travel Agent (OTA) booking portal, the Adventure Africa GeoDirectory (a trade directory listing sub-domain off the TourismTattler.com website), and TickIt.travel (a travel deals website).
Our latest social responsibility \ conservation project, Walk4Africa.org aims to circumnavigate the entire coastline of Africa on foot (a distance of some 26,000 km / 16,100 miles) – that’s about 32,500,000 walking steps, so if we walked for 6-hours per day at an average walking speed of 10 minutes per kilometre, it would take 722.22 days (1.97 years) of continuous daily walking to cover the distance. Of course, we won’t be attempting this feat in one hit – the walk will be planned in stages over a period of 4-5 years. In short, this is definitely a long-term project.
The purpose of the Walk4Africa project is to raise funding for research & development of a “Pick-It-Up” project. During our travels through Africa, we’ve witnessed the unsightly, and environmentally unfriendly, effects of pollution blighting the beauty of Africa’s natural heritage, and specifically its beaches and marine ecology. The solution, it seems to us, is to motivate locals to “pick it up”.
The aim of the “Pick-It-Up” initiative is threefold: (1) To educate citizens (young and old, rural and urban) across all African countries on the importance of picking up litter, collecting waste, and dropping off the waste at collection depots, and thereby receiving monetary rewards for doing so. (2) To create much-needed self-employment for Africans of all ages. (3) To create a pollution-free environment that fosters tourism growth.
Whilst African countries and the continents’ islands leverage their wealth of natural assets and diverse cultures to attract tourists, we have noticed that they all share three common denominators that collectively inhibit potential tourism growth.
These inhibitors are pollution, unemployment and crime. So, let’s look at each inhibitor in turn:
Pollution. Travel along any tourism route that passes through rural or urban human settlements and pollution, specifically in the form of discarded plastic shopping bags, bottles and sweet wrappers, visibly taints the natural beauty of the terrain. The root cause of this problem is that the economically disadvantaged locals do not have the privilege of being environmentally conscious. They are struggling to survive, to earn income and to put food in the bellies of their children. The evident pollution simply does not have any economic value to contribute to their survival and is consequently ignored. And will continue to be ignored unless a tangible value is perceived.
Unemployment. We have witnessed island subsistence fishermen (and women) scrounging the shoreline rock pools for food while ignoring piles of beach sandals and plastic waste strewn along the high-tide line. What if that pollution had a monetary value, and an easy way to collect it and to be rewarded for having done so?
Crime. Most petty crime in Africa is the result of the unemployed seeking to survive. Would they choose an honest days labour if given the option to earn an honest income? We think so!
At this stage, the concept and distribution model of the ‘Pick-It-Up” project has been formulated, but a lot of research and data mining is needed before the initiative can be launched. This requires time, and more importantly, money for R&D. This is where Walk4Africa comes in.
The plan is to walk the coastlines of each of Africa’s 38 coastal countries in pre-planned stages. As each stage is launched, itinerary packages will be sold to eco-conscious tourists who will join us for parts of the walk (in “glamping” style of course) to raise funds. We also plan to raise additional funds through crowdfunding, corporate sponsorships, and advertising on the Walk4Africa.org website and social media channels.
This is where YOU come in!
If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’d be interested in joining us in making the Walk4Africa project a reality. We need directors for the non-profit NGO registration (we’ll be raising public funding, so need to be accountable and transparent with how the funds raised are used). We need Tour Operators and Travel Agents to handle the tour packages. We need logistics experts. We need equipment (there’s a long list that includes SatNav mobile phones and GPS monitoring equipment). We need sponsors. We need media partners. And above all, we need YOU.
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Des & Bev Langkilde (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com)