As the plight of wildlife in Africa becomes increasingly dire, partnership will boost education and empower tourists to give back.
On Sunday, September 27, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will celebrate World Tourism Day under the theme “1 Billion Tourists, 1 Billion Opportunities,” which acknowledges the role tourism can play as a powerful driver of socio-economic change and sustainable development.
As the UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai notes: “Every time we travel, we become part of a global movement that has the power to drive positive change for our planet and all people.” In this vein, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Thomson Safaris are announcing a new partnership, one that will ensure tourists who travel to Tanzania, where Thomson Safaris operates, have an opportunity to get involved in the protection of threatened wildlife and the promotion of sustainable development projects in Africa. Please find below a press release on the launch of the new “conservation tourism” partnership.
Thomson Safaris, a leader in responsible Tanzanian Safaris, has partnered with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to further its conservation efforts in East Africa. The two companies will enable travelers to effect positive change and become ambassadors for conservation in Africa. Members will be able to contribute to programs that combat poaching, promote education, and develop sustainable agricultural practices, to name a few.
“Tanzania is our second home, and we strongly believe in engaging in sustainable ways to give back to the community,” said Judi Wineland, co-founder, Thomson Safaris. “The pristine wilderness, abundant wildlife, and cultural authenticity of Tanzania are rare to find anywhere else in the world today, and our partnership with AWF helps ensure tourism continues to be beneficial to the country and to the wildlife. Most importantly, this supports work that Thomson Safaris is already doing in Tanzania with the full involvement of the community.”
In Tanzania, tourism plays a critical role in fostering the growing economy. In fact, travel and tourism accounted for nearly 13% of the country’s GDP in 2013, and it’s expected that by 2024, it will account for half a million jobs in the country. For the continent, international tourism in Africa in 2013 was conservatively valued at $34.2 billion.
“These figures demonstrate the economic importance of wildlife in Tanzania and throughout Africa,” said Craig Sholley, African Wildlife Foundation’s vice president of philanthropy and marketing. “Tourists come to Tanzania primarily for the wildlife. Therefore wildlife preservation does more than simply save endangered animals; it supports jobs and continued economic growth. Thomson Safaris is a strategic partner in ensuring that tourism plays a positive role in helping to conserve Tanzania’s incredible heritage for future generations.”
“‘How can we give back?’ That’s the most frequent question we receive from guests returning from an immersive experience in Tanzania,” added Judi Wineland. “Guests return from Africa with a strong personal connection, and with recent events such as the killing of Cecil the lion, and reports detailing the drop in rhino and elephant populations, people are genuinely motivated to give back.”
The partnership, which includes a membership to AWF for all returning Thomson Safaris guests, enables travelers to immediately participate in programs with a trusted organization that has been doing remarkable work for more than 50 years.
 World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2014 Economic Impact Assessment
 United Nations World Tourism Organization
Header image: Craig R.Sholley – African Wildlife Foundation
Inset Image: Manyara Ranch Conservancy
About Thomson Safaris: Thomson Safaris sets the standard for exceptional experiences in East Africa, with over 34 years’ experience in leading Tanzania Safaris and Mount Kilimanjaro treks. Thomson was named to the 2013 Travel + Leisure World’s Best list, as National Geographic Adventure’s Best Adventure Travel Company on Earth (twice), and as the Tanzania Tourism Board’s Tour Operator of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, and Conservation Award winner. Learn more about Thomson Safaris at www.ThomsonSafaris.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
About African Wildlife Foundation: Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF’s programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa’s people. Since its inception, AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted conservation enterprises that benefit local African communities, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation—all to ensure the survival of Africa’s unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kenya and registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States. For more information, visit www.awf.org and follow us on Twitter @AWF_Official and Facebook at facebook.com/AfricanWildlifeFoundation.