According to Deborah Calmeyer, the CEO and Founder of ultra-luxe Africa travel specialist ROAR AFRICA, one silver lining that has emerged from this past year is the end of passive, irresponsible travel as it relates to critical conservation and environmental issues in destinations like Africa.
“Passive ignorance is finally not an option and now is the time to make as great an impact on the environment as possible,” says Calmeyer. “The devastating reality we are now facing is that without tourism dollars funding crucial conservation-related programs and campaigns, Africa will not survive. The very existence of precious wildlife and wild spaces is literally hanging in the balance.”
To this end, and as part of its commitment to being on the responsible and sustainable end of travel, ROAR AFRICA has become the first travel company to partner with Proof of Impact, an innovative tech company that transforms impact data into positive community investment outcomes. Through this first-of-its-kind partnership, a revolutionary offset program which restores biodiversity and improves livelihoods will be embedded in all ROAR AFRICA trips beginning in 2021.
What sets this revolutionary offset program apart from others is its focus on the entirety of the travel experience. While existing offset programs focus solely on long-haul flights, this groundbreaking approach extends beyond just the flight to Africa to every element of the journey. This includes internal flights, fuel, plastic used, non-renewable energy utilized on site, safari vehicles, even human waste. These activities are not only neutralized, but a portfolio of impact events verified by Proof of Impact are created to then fund projects that go beyond carbon offsetting to actually having a real impact on people’s livelihoods and restoring biodiversity. All these events funded by ROAR AFRICA will be made visible and tracked by way of an interactive dashboard app that guests will be able to access to track results and even donate in real time. Guests also get to physically visit the programs they are contributing to, thereby seeing their impact first-hand.
“We are not only offering a carbon neutral solution to our clients, but also enabling them to track in real-time the significant impact this funding has on the livelihoods of individuals and communities in Africa. When influential travelers see first-hand the effects of climate change and the solar and conservation projects in the communities, they are moved to help in whichever way they can,” says Calmeyer. “The days of just buying carbon credits with no proven impact are over; travelers want and can now engage with the places and communities they are sharing experiences with through this unique offering,” she adds.
As an example, ROAR AFRICA has chosen the forthcoming environmental projects for its forthcoming Emirates Executive Jet Safari taking place in August of 2021 and again in 2022 and 2023:
- Installation of 69 solar panels in local villages in Rwanda
- Planting of 1,300 trees
- Access to fresh water for 3,000 people in Kenya
- Funding the protection of a rhino calf through Rhinos Without Borders in Botswana
“From a quantitative perspective, by collecting and verifying environmental and social data the carbon footprints and externalities of trips are mapped and measured,” says Fleur Heyns, Co-Founder of Proof of Impact. “This goes beyond just offsetting by reducing carbon, which is currently being questioned as having any impact on the planet. Instead, people traveling with ROAR AFRICA will be able to go on a virtual impact journey that is not about greenwashing their activities, but rather about making a real sustainable impact in the place they are visiting and positively contributing to impact events and causes that matter in those places,” she adds.
ROAR AFRICA has long been committed to conservation, humanitarian work, and economic education and development in Africa. This new direct-cause-related initiative is just the newest example of how ROAR AFRICA and its clients combine their resources to make a profound and powerful difference. “Our hope is that all our guests will be able to support these kinds of projects and initiatives in real time in the communities they visit. This ensures our vision to making responsible travel not just matter, but thrive in ways never before imagined,” says Calmeyer.