Transforming local lives
The Ilha Blue business initiative has as its core purpose ‘ to transform local lives through employment, training and increased access to opportunities. Aims that can only be achieved through a long-term commitment and by challenging those entrenched practices that deny local people a fair go and lead to exploitation.
In six years since its foundation by Australians Peter Allsop and Gail Woods the business has created permanent employment for 9 local people, and well paid casual employment for many more. Ilha Blue has given locals, particularly youth, new and exciting ways of learning about the business of tourism which has lead to new business opportunities, raised standards of small/micro business operation and in the case of 5 former employees, progress into further tourism education and training including university.
Awards and recognition
Earlier this year (2017) in Cape Town, Ilha Blue was awarded Gold in the African Responsible Tourism Awards. This award recognized Ilha Blue’s success in a ‘Engaging People and Culture’. The best in Africa no less! The company has also received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence every year for the last four years – this certificate is based on customer reviews and shows our commitment to customer satisfaction. Our ability to get the best out of a local workforce is validation of our belief that by giving positive support and encouraging a sense of ownership, people anywhere can achieve great things; responding with enthusiasm and pride in what they do.
Ilha Blue have recently been nominated for the World Responsible Tourism Award which will be presented in November this year at the WTM in London. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
Apart from formal recognition, Ilha Blue is very proud to have gained the support of similar responsible tourism businesses, scientists, academics and others involved in conservation, development NGO’s and of course the many thousands of travellers that have experienced what we offer and now recommend us to their friends when they visit.
Our next big challenge
Ilha Blue understand the importance of getting more women and girls involved in what we do. This is both an equity issue as well as recognition that through educating girls we can transform communities. Investing in women and providing equitable education and employment opportunities is an investment in economic growth, a healthier workforce and yields excellent social benefits for the current generation and those to come. The next wave of girls are more likely to attend school and stay longer; develop skills to improve their future livelihoods and in turn champion education for their daughters. Women are empowered to take a more active role in social, economic and political decisions.
We never work alone, when we achieve something its because we have great people to work with us. Our new challenge will be no different and we’ll be calling on all our networks to get the very best outcome for the women of Ilha. Today we have an important meeting which, if successful will be the first step towards meeting this exciting challenge. Wish us well!