Projects worth copying from South Africa, Australia and Mongolia
March 10, 2022
ITB Berlin Convention 2022 presents and promotes socially oriented tourism startups
Tourism is not just about making money. In addition to purely commercial enterprises, socially oriented companies are playing an increasing role. On Wednesday, Rika Jean-Francois, commissioner for Corporate Social Responsibility at ITB Berlin, presented three innovative startups whose ideas and concepts were so convincing that they received support from Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde, Travel Massiv, ITB Berlin and TUI Stiftung. They were the Khusvegi English and Nomadic Cultural Camp in Mongolia, the Khwela Womxn initiative from South Africa and the Getaboutable project from Australia.
Making the world a better place through tourism – that was the idea behind the Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism, launched three years ago. The initiative engages and inspires people from around the world – according to Rika Jean-Francois, last year 132 projects from 52 countries applied. Women were at the head of 70 per cent of the startups shortlisted for the final – including the three projects presented on Wednesday.
The Khusvegi English and Nomadic Cultural Camp, which was honoured by the competition’s Launch Track, was basically the result of the pandemic. Marinel M. de Jesus, a legal expert and social entrepreneur from the US, wanted to offer her services as an English teacher in Mongolia and due to the pandemic was unable to leave the country for 294 days. During this time she became acquainted with nomads, their lifestyle and customs, in particular hunting with eagles. This gave her the idea for a community-based tourism project that would enable young nomads to learn English, as well as visitors to witness their lifestyle close up under the heading ’Be a nomad – celebrate life’. Information on the project and a 30-day introductory trip in June 2022 is available online at www.browngaltrekker.com/mongolia/khusvegicamp.
Grizelda La Cock from Cape Town presented the project which won the competition’s Growth Track. The aim of the Khwela Womxn initiative from South Africa is to support the livelihoods of young women in the tourism industry – by offering education, driving lessons, coaching and networking. Many of the women taking part who initially were from the poorest areas of Cape Town, but now come from all over South Africa and beyond, were previously without a job. It is now much easier for them to find a job or become self-employed. The term ’Khwela’ comes from the Xhosa language, and means ’to climb’. Additional information on this initiative can be found at https://khwela.org.za.
Also taking part in the session was a social entrepreneur from Canberra in Australia, whose Getaboutable project (https://www.getaboutable.com) was also in the final of the competition. The aim of Dr. Yasmine Gray, who herself suffers from multiple sclerosis, is to heighten awareness for the needs of sufferers especially in the Asia-Pacific region. “About 20 per cent of all travellers are in need of the required services, and these are definitely people willing to spend money, so there is a real market“, Gray said. However, regarding accessibility a lot still needed to be done especially in this region. “The US and Europe are about 20 years ahead of us here“, Gray added.