During the pandemic, like many other travel company founders, I had the time to really think about my company. The thing I kept coming back to was what we do and, most importantly, why we do it. This ‘why’ kept me inspired, even in the most trying periods, and the desire to share AMADI’s why with others has motivated me to write this blog.
If done well, travel is an incredibly powerful force for positive change. It can have a profoundly positive impact on the wildlife, wilderness and communities in the destinations that you visit (and even within yourself). On the flip side, we need to acknowledge that travel creates negative side effects such as emitting greenhouse gasses and putting pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity. Sadly, in the case of over-tourism, it can even be the cause of spoiling destinations, local communities and their culture.
Therefore, in order to justify travel in today’s world, we need to limit as many of the negative effects and, in turn, amplify the positive effects as much as possible. The result is a kind of travel that creates more positive than negative impact. We call this type of travel ‘net positive’.
What measures have we taken to ensure that every AMADI journey is net positive?
Firstly, we looked at ourselves. Everyone in the chain needs to make their contribution. We commit 1% of our revenue (we are 1% For The Planet certified) to a number of hand-selected organisations that I personally know and commend for their impact and the hard work they do on the ground. We are also certified members of The Long Run and founding members of The Conscious Travel Foundation, to ensure we keep learning and progressing along our journey.
Secondly, we try hard to create more transparency. We calculate and offset the carbon emissions (negative impact) for each AMADI trip and add up all the community, conservation and national park fees that are directly paid out as a result of each trip. We share all of these with our guests in their travel documentation in the ‘Impact Overview’ section.
Thirdly, we looked at each individual, company and organisation that we send money to downstream. This is the single most important lever of all – and demonstrates that we are putting our money where our mouth is. Our trade partners are a carefully curated subset of the industry who share the same set of values as us, and also believe in a more conscious way of travel.
As a result, we aim to create trips that not only positively contribute to destinations and communities, tell an empowering story of the new Africa and create unforgettable memories, but also educate travellers. Our ultimate goal is that AMADI clients go on to influence others; we want to create a ripple effect that leads to greater impact and longer-lasting change.
Africa is a special place. It’s home to some of the last true wilderness areas on this planet. Without action, future generations will not have the privilege of witnessing and experiencing it as we do today. Net positive travel plays a significant role in protecting these vulnerable ecosystems – and the wildlife and communities that live in and around them.