Tom Armitt recently joined the Travel Foundation as a new Destination Programme Officer.
Half way through my second month at The Travel Foundation, and I am starting to get my head around the responsibilities that I have been assigned.
I was first put in charge of the Cape Verde programme: an interesting destination for me as I started my tourism career in West Africa researching the possibilities for the development of community-based Ecotourism in Senegal, and working closely with local communities to design and manage heritage trail tourism experiences in Sierra Leone.
Cape Verde has a lot of potential for the implementation of Sustainable Tourism principles within its fast-growing tourism industry. While big-complex, all-inclusive tourism is holding sway, the 10 island archipelago seems to have learned from other nations’ mistakes and has set its sights on sustainability. It has recently been in the news for increasing its renewable energy output by 300%.
On Sal, the island where The Travel Foundation works, a Destination Council has been created, bringing tourism stakeholders together from the public, private and third sectors to ensure that sustainability principles are made part and parcel of the island’s tourism development strategy. Slowly but surely this initiative is taking root, and the council has built on some of the Travel Foundation’s past work with the Cape Verdean Crafts, Discover the Real Sal and Better Beaches programmes.
In my opinion, the future is bright for Cape Verde, the future is sustainable tourism!
– Tom Armitt
To celebrate World Oceans Day and Make Holidays Greener Month, the Travel Foundation worked with the Sal-based NGO SOS Tartarugas to organise a beach clean in Serra Negra, Cape Verde.
25 participants collected approximately 700kg of rubbish over 3.5 hours, including fishing nets, plastic boxes, wood and glass – enough to fill three pick-up trucks.
Members of the Sal Destination Council kindly supported the beach clean:
- APP (water and electricity company) donated 100 rubbish bags
- Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea donated 25 litres of drinking water and rubbish bags
- RIU Hotel donated 30 bottles of juice, rubbish bags and cups
- Guiantur, the Association of Tourist Guides, gave use of their pick-up truck
- City Hall of Sal donated rubbish bags
The event was also supported by the Protected Areas Project, which provided a pick-up truck and driver, and School Kim Barbosa, which provided catering equipment. A traditional Cape Verdean hearty stew called cachupa was made by a lady called Felipa for the beach clean team.
The Travel Foundation’s National Programme Manager for Cape Verde, Débora Abu-Raya said, “Despite the amount of rubbish we collected from Serra Negra, we still have a long way to go before the beach is clear of plastic. As our Better Beaches project progresses, we’re hoping to encourage more local residents and visitors to come to beach cleans and take better care of the beach environment. I’m sure we will get there!”
By Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme Officer