The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. As UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai stated, “This declaration is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued”.
We chatted to Mbali Mbali’s Marketing & Operations Director, Fatema Lalji about how they have responded to each of the five key areas :
Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
Mbali Mbali is continually developing the skills of staff, to help create succession management, allowing staff to see their route from Housekeeper to Waiter, Guide to Assistant Manager etc. One former junior guide has now progressed all the way to lodge manager. Cooks are not just trained in food preparation but also in stock counting, portion sizes and record keeping. English language training is compulsory for all staff – to enable them to speak directly to guests in a professional manner. All staff also have the option to benefit from training in building, electrical, plumbing, and painting giving them skills that they can use at home.
Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
Mbali Mbali prefers to hire staff from mainly communities and sponsors staff’s children via loan schemes and scholarships into their own school in Kigoma. This has kept employee retention very high - at some locations staff have been there over 20 years.
Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
Hot water geysers are solar at Mbali Mbali offering 24hr power is which is usually solar generated through a battery inverter, lowering the carbon footprint. Fuel consumption is down 80% in the last 5 years.
A fully functional Recycling system is in place at all camps and all items are sorted, packed and removed to a recycling facility in Kigoma at the end of each season. All cleaning chemicals are all biodegradable, and all sewerage is disposed of through Eco-Friendly Septic Tanks.
Cultural values, diversity and heritage
We encourage clients to visit locals villages close to our properties. Guides escort guests to see things like the Clinic and the Primary School to interact with local children. If asked, staff are also encouraged to talk openly with guests regarding their own backgrounds, families, religions and Tanzania in general to help give a greater understanding of the surrounding communities.
Mutual understanding, peace and security
Mbali Mbali supports Tanapa who regularly conduct educational programmes in the villages, whilst in camp staff lounges have TV and Cable connections, along with an iPad to help staff stay connectd to whats happening in the “outside world” and continue online training.