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Wilderness Safaris has won the coveted 2017 Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award, announced at an exclusive event held at the Bellagio on 18 August during the 29th annual Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas.
“We truly value the support we receive from our partners within the Virtuoso travel network and are honoured to have received this prestigious award as recognition for our commitment to our 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation”, said Craig Glatthaar, Wilderness Safaris US Business Unit Manager. “As Jane Goodall said, every individual matters, every individual has a role to play and makes a difference. I’d like to dedicate this award to all at Virtuoso for the role you’re playing in sustainability. Thank you to all of you who are taking care of the only home that we have”, he added on accepting the award for Wilderness Safaris.
Now in its seventh year, the Virtuoso Sustainable Tourism Leadership Awards recognise both a Hotel and a Preferred Partner that demonstrate outstanding leadership and commitment to sustainable tourism principles and practices. Wilderness Safaris won the Preferred Partner category, and, according to Albert Herrera, senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships for Virtuoso, “Wilderness Safaris demonstrates a superior commitment to product excellence, expert knowledge and outstanding client service, all qualities highly valued by this network. This award places Wilderness Safaris in a very exclusive category, as Virtuoso’s most celebrated partners are recognised as leaders within the industry.”
In FY2017, the Wilderness Group spent BWP10 million directly on biodiversity conservation and participated in 52 active research and conservation projects across seven countries in partnership with the Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Together with Children in the Wilderness (CITW), 2 706 children were supported in Eco-Clubs and 427 children were hosted on 17 annual CITW camps. The company also continued to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, further investing in solar energy with 11 Wilderness Safaris camps now operating 100% on solar power. Transparency is key, and all details regarding the Group’s commitment to sustainability can be found in its FY2017 Integrated Report.
“In addition to helping protect more than 2.3 million hectares across eight biomes in Africa, which harbour 34 IUCN Red List mammal, bird and reptile species, we are proud to have launched our ecotourism model into Rwanda, recently launching Bisate Lodge in June this year, and to contribute to the conservation of the rainforest ecosystems and iconic Endangered species like the mountain gorilla. We are constantly looking for ways to build further sustainable conservation economies in Africa, and could not do this without the support of our partners”, concluded Glatthaar.