Blue Amber prioritizes socially and environmentally responsible development

19 Sep 18

Increasingly travelers want to make an impact. Times are changing and so is the face of global tourism.

Gone are the days of heady excess and reckless abandon. Now, a new generation of mostly millennial socially and environmentally conscious travellers not only want to see the world but make a difference while doing so. A recent Phocuswright poll of over 2500 Americans found that 86% of travellers donated money while travelling, with 72% saying that giving is important, very important or extremely important.   

In Africa, opportunities to give are abundant especially as tourism is expected to be a powerful tool to drive jobs, economic growth and development. World Bank data shows that tourism was responsible for creating 13.1 million jobs in 2012 and that it would create more than 16 million jobs – direct or indirect by 2021 – as more and more people visit the continent.  

With tourist numbers set to increase and travellers set to demand “holidays with a heart”, tourist destinations, property developers and even hotels are under increasing pressure to be socially responsible.  

In East Africa, Pennyroyal Ltd. is setting new standards in an ear of socially responsible travel by pioneering community outreach, sustainable development and ecotourism in Zanzibar.  

The British developers of Blue Amber Resort – set to be Africa’s largest resort upon completion – are implementing a series of social initiatives to uplift local communities and conserve the natural beauty of the idyllic Tanzanian archipelago.

The resort has established Best of Zanzibar, a corporate social responsibility programme, through which it aims to use education and skills development initiatives to empower and foster sustainable local communities.

“The Best of Zanzibar approach to Corporate Social Responsibility is founded on the ideal that

being accountable [to] its communities, culture and environment defines Pennyroyal’s role in society,” said Saleh Said, Director of Pennyroyal Gibraltar.

Best of Zanzibar is to develop in tandem with the resort, with its series of wide-ranging initiatives extending beyond the local community as the developers aim to make a positive impact throughout Zanzibar.    

“We at Pennyroyal are focused on improving the life standards of the local Matemwe community. Furthermore, we are striving to eradicate poverty in Zanzibar through Best of Zanzibar. A huge project we’re confident in executing with the utmost support from the local Government,” Said added.

To date Best of Zanzibar has launched a mobile clinic as well as facilitated an after-school tutoring programme and feeding scheme for primary school children. Young people are also being taught entrepreneurship and soft skills – including CV writing and interview skills –  to improve employability and end a poverty cycle experienced in some communities. It has also launched an eight-month tailoring programme, which will allow participants to cater to the resort community.

The resort has committed to employing more than 1000 locals, all of whom will undergo fully-sponsored vocational training, during its construction phase and expects to employ others in operational roles upon completion.   

The employment opportunities, which come with a development such as Blue Amber Resort – which spans 420 hectares on a small island – are expected to reduce unemployment and have a significant positive impact on economic growth, said Said. Latest data from the Zanzibar Employment Services shows an unemployment rate of 14.3% on the archipelago while a 2017 Africa Report by Knight Frank found Tanzania to be one of a small group of African nations to have maintained GDP growth in excess of 5% in 2016.

In addition to making a positive social impact, Blue Amber is striving to have the lowest ecological footprint of any resort in the world by implementing large-scale renewable power and water management strategies.

It will also use a portion of profits to fund further initiatives, thereby ensuring sustainable community development and empowerment in Zanzibar.  

Tourists visiting Blue Amber Resort can look forward to enjoying its world class facilities and making good lasting memories while knowing that they, together with Pennyroyal, are improving people’s lives and making local communities stronger and more prosperous.