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POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

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POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM Powered By Docstoc
					                 Phone: +27 (0) 28 3841774 Fax: +27 (0) 28 3841774
                 Address: PO Box 547, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa
       E-mail: bookings@whitesharkprojects.co.za Web: www.whitesharkprojects.co.za
                       Reg No: CK/01091/23 VAT No: 4240195406



                  POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Responsible Tourism is a tourism management strategy embracing planning,
management, product development and marketing to bring about positive
economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

For tourism operators it is about providing more rewarding holiday experiences
for guests whilst enabling local communities to enjoy a better quality of life and
conserving the natural environment.

(Source: Responsible Tourism Handbook, 2002, South Africa)

White Shark Projects CC was established in 1989. It is a world-leading
organisation that focuses on the conservation of great white sharks through
responsible tourism and research. We are involved in conservation, film,
education, diving and viewing.

In 1991, White Shark Projects was instrumental in getting the great white shark
protected under South African law. At the time, the white shark population was
on the verge of extinction. Yet now we can enjoy the presence of this magnificent
animal in South African waters.

With offices in Kleinbaai (Gansbaai) and the Waterfront in Cape Town, South
Africa, White Shark Projects provides superior great white shark viewing and
cage diving to domestic and international tourists. White Shark Projects aligns
service delivery, conservation, education and research around one of the
greatest predatory forces of the seas. The expectations of clients are met by
excellent customer service, good quality information, reasonable rates and
operational efficiency. Crew and staff are distinguished by a functional and
technical expertise combined with hands-on experience that ensures effective
and professional service.
                               Mission Statement
'We are humbled by the privilege of interacting with one of the earth’s greatest
predators. Working face to face with this rare species, and causing no harm, we
are committed to furthering its chances of survival. Everything we do, we aim to
do in harmony with, and for the betterment of, our natural and social
environment.'

                  Economic and Social Responsibility
                          1. Locally derived and answerable
   •   White Shark Projects CC (WSP) is owned by three South African women.
   •   All its staff are South African.
   •   WSP is a full member of Cape Town Tourism, Cape Town Information
       Centre, Gansbaai Tourism Bureau, South African Tourism Services
       Association and SKAL International.
   •   A Responsible Tourism Code of Conduct is clearly displayed in our office.

                           2. Sustainable employment
   •   WSP provides 17 sustainable jobs. Sustainable employment in these
       historically impoverished communities is key to empowering local people
       towards a quality of life that can be sustained while the natural
       environment is conserved.
   •   The majority of our 17 staff members are from the previously
       disadvantaged communities of Blompark and Masakhane in the Gansbaai
       area.

               3. Education, training and personal development
   •   Our staff is professionally qualified and show a passion for their work.
       They are encouraged to attend appropriate training programmes. These
       include customer service, food preparation, tour guiding, drivers licensing,
       PDP licensing, first aid, pre-sea training, skippers’ ticket training, and
       English communication skills. Skills training programmes are regularly
       discussed with the local Gansbaai Tourism Bureau and Gansbaai
       Chamber of Commerce.
   •   Ninety percent of our staff is fluent in English. One employee is enrolled
       for his Western Cape ABET Model of Learning – also to complete his
       Grade 9 School Year and improve his English communications skills.
   •   All members of our boat crew have completed first aid training – and so
       have two other members of our lodge staff. A first aid kit is available in the
       'White Shark Lodge' to clients and staff.
   •   Our employees have been promoted to positions such as Administrative
       Clerk & Reservations Manager, Assistant-manager; Hostess; dive master;
       and tour guide. The company has the first qualified black skipper in the
       shark diving & viewing industry.
                          4. Ethical employers
•   Wages are linked to position and experience and are above average for
    the area. Staff members receive performance and service-linked bonuses
    every 6 months.
•   We hold regular staff meetings to ensure employee needs are met. Staff
    are encouraged to eat regularly and healthily. We encourage HIV/AIDS
    awareness through clearly displayed literature in the staff room.

                   5. Local economic responsibility
•   Products and supplies are purchased locally. These include food, building
    and boat materials, boat repairs and photographic and stationary
    requirements.
•   White Shark Projects supports local Masakhane tour guide company,
    'Thobeka’s Tours'. WSP helped the tour guide formulate her business plan
    for township tours and to have the company registered. We actively
    promote the business.
•   WSP also has reciprocal working relationships with accommodation
    establishments & restaurants in the Gansbaai area.
•   WSP has also working relationships with the Overstrand Municipality, the
    Gansbaai Chamber of Commerce and local businesses / suppliers.

                           6. Community projects
•   We regularly visit the schools of Masakhane where we talk about health,
    caring for our environment, and the value of protecting it. We learn about
    natural tourist attractions in the area and the importance of caring for
    them.
•   We teach the children the importance of recycling. This message is
    supported by our 'White Shark Projects Swop Shop' which we've set up in
    the heart of the Masakhane community. Children collect recyclable litter
    from the streets and their community and bring it to the 'shop' where they
    earn points for it. They use these points to 'buy' much needed school
    stationary or simple clothes. This project promotes recycling,
    environmental awareness, and provides for some of the children's basic
    needs.
•   The Swop Shop has been adopted by local tour guide, Thobeka Vivashe,
    who supervises the process. Through this reciprocity, visitors from far and
    wide learn the value of environmental and social commitment.
•   The White Shark Projects Annual Charity Golf Day is a well supported
    fund raiser – and is another way we help improve the quality of life of local
    people. Funds are distributed amongst local old-age centres.
•   WSP is involved in youth support initiatives in the poorer communities of
    Gansbaai. WSP staff member, Abraham Newman, is on the governing
    body of the Ikamva Youth Development and Computer Centre in
    Blompark, Gansbaai. WSP helps with fund raising and educational talks
    and outings.
•   We host visits from the children of Masakhane and take them on
    educational excursions. These have included trips to Cape Town to visit
    Robben Island, the Waterfront and more.
•   Our latest initiative is in Blompark where we will 'adopt' the Grade 1 class
    at the Gansbaai Primary Schools. There will be educational talks, outings,
    clean-up campaigns, and an introduction to our agents and visitors. The
    launch of this new initiative is on World Tourism Day, 27 September 2008.

                 7. Raising awareness and culture sharing
•   Through the White Shark Projects Volunteer Programme our volunteers
    (from all over the globe) and locals are introduced to a different and
    enriching cultural experience. This is achieved through their involvement
    in our community projects outlined above.
•   There is further culture sharing when our staff members talk to clients
    about their culture, traditions and the town of Gansbaai.
•   Our close relationship with local Masakhane tour guide company,
    'Thobeka’s Tours' is another way in which we introduce tourists to our
    local culture and social environment.
•   We raise client awareness of our social development initiatives and
    research programmes through our website and brochure.

                   Environmental Responsibility
                         1. Environmental education
•   There is a strong educational imperative to our diving and viewing trips.
    Our knowledgeable crew share information and insights to raise people's
    awareness of the need to conserve the great white and its environment.
•   Through our school education programme we encourage children to take
    care of their natural and social environments. This is reinforced through
    our White Shark Projects Recycle Swop Shop where we encourage the
    children to clean up their social environment while also teaching
    awareness of the natural environment.
•   On the Volunteer Programme students learn about great white shark
    biology, research, behaviour, conservation, changing attitudes, shark
    attacks, basic seamanship, underwater filming, still photography and shark
    tourism. We trust that they will apply this knowledge to further
    conservation in many and varied ways.
•   We have the experience, equipment, staff and knowledge to facilitate the
    successful filming of great white sharks. White Shark Projects has hosted
    film crews such as the BBC, National Geographic, and Discovery. We
    support attempts to promote the conservation of the great white shark on
    film and are thrilled that the footage is watched by millions of viewers
    worldwide.
•   We publish four newsletters annually. These are distributed free to
    subscribers and visitors. They share updates on company news,
    conservation initiatives and social development programmes.
•   White Shark Projects attends international and local festivals, trade fares
    and expos. Our educational display is a big drawcard and an effective way
    to share our message of conservation and social upliftment.

                  2. Working in our marine environment
•   Our experienced skippers handle the sharks with care to ensure they are
    not harmed or unduly disturbed.
•   Our boat has specially designed motors that lift completely out of the
    water so that the propellers do not harm the sharks.
•   We use only natural fish products when chumming (luring sharks to the
    boat).
•   As a Great White Shark Permit Holder, we operate to strict boundaries as
    laid down by the South African government.
•   We only take 17 passengers maximum to ensure client comfort.
•   The boat is surveyed annually by Marine & Coastal Management.

                       3. Research and conservation
•   The Tour guide or Dive Master collects daily data on the size, sex, scar
    markings and times of shark sightings. The data is forwarded to Marine &
    Coastal Management.
•   White Shark Projects is a member of the Great White Shark Protection
    Foundation. There is a valuable exchange of information between us.
•   WSP is also a member of the SA Shark Conservancy and contributes
    extensively to this conservation, reservation and cooperative partnerships
    building network.
•   We are involved in fin-printing. This is a photographic method used to
    catalogue and identify individual great white sharks. The sequence of
    notches on the dorsal fin of every shark is as unique as a human finger
    print. The dorsal fin can therefore be used as a primary characteristic for
    identifying great white sharks. This method is used to identify most, if not
    all, of our short term visitors to Gansbaai. Secondary characteristics like
    fin size, shape and body colour are also used to complement the dorsal fin
    IDs. The aim is to obtain a population estimate and to investigate
    population dynamics.

                      4. Practising what we preach
•   Our energy use at White Shark Lodge is closely monitored via our
    municipal account.
•   Staff is educated on the careful use of water and we follow water friendly
    practices. For example, we re-use waste water to irrigate our lawns and
    the Lodge offers showers instead of baths.
•   We have a trash bin on the boat so that waste is not thrown overboard. In
    the Lodge, waste is separated and then recycled at the Overstrand
    Recycling Plant.
•   We use computer technology and emails to reduce our use of paper.
   •   WSP has bought a shuttle bus as a means of transporting clients – and by
       that the consumption of fossil fuels are reduced.
   •   WSP also bought 4 of their male employees bicycles to get to and from
       work.
   •   Clothing and towels are being washed in cold water.
   •   We use the sun to dry towels.
   •   We only use local suppliers in the Gansbaai Area.

                                     Awards
   •   White Shark Projects received the International Eco-Tourism Award in
       1994 from SKAL International in the category 'Educational Programmes'.
   •   The White Shark Projects Recycle Swop Shop was a finalist in the
       Overstrand Mayor's Environmental and Conservation Awards in 2008.

Our challenge is to sustain a balance between the needs of the traveller and
those of our region. By joining White Shark Projects you contribute directly to the
conservation of the natural environment and the economic growth of the local
communities within which we operate. The aim is to create and sustain an
intercultural dialogue that is of benefit to all.

For White Shark Projects, responsible tourism means sharing South Africa’s
natural and cultural riches, while contributing positively to the preservation and
growth of the communities and environments we operate in. Our policy is one of
mutual respect: we ensure value for money and professionalism in our
relationship with visitors, while remaining cognizant of the needs of locals.

South Africa’s tourism industry is exploding, and we believe that those involved
should take responsibility for the development and preservation of the
communities and environments on which the business relies. At White Shark
Projects, we consider it our duty to foster sustainable job creation, social
upliftment and ecological awareness through active support. To this end, local
communities and environmental initiatives are involved in and supported by
White Shark Projects.

Our unique hands-on workshops offer a platform for interaction with locals, while
simultaneously providing economic benefit to the hosting community. Ultimately,
our aim is to encourage a two-way learning experience. Visitors are furnished
with a richer, more representative picture of South Africa, and locals are left with
a heightened sense of the importance and value of their own cultural and natural
heritage. Only through a continually bolstered partnership will we ensure that this
incomparable legacy will be preserved for future generations of South Africans
and visitors.

White Shark Projects – a responsible tourism operation – is clearly creating
better and more experiences for visitors and residents alike.

				
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