Rebuilding.travel

Barbara Schott, Tierranjani Africa Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya

I have been working in development for over 17 years. My sector focus lies in regional economic development, SME promotion, and responsible tourism development and sustainability. After working 6 years in Myanmar on various assignments, incl. Community-Based Tourism development, responsible tourism development and planning, local economic development initiatives, and sustainability matters, I moved to Kenya in 2019 and started with a Kenyan friend the tourism consultancy Tierranjani Africa. We are providing support, advisory, and training to stakeholders in the tourism and travel sector in Kenya and in the wider African context. With COVID-19, we are also supporting companies and organizations designing relevant strategy and organizational responses and crisis management.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there is a need for systemic change in tourism. As an expert recently argued in a webinar about the impacts of COVID-19 on tourism in Kenya “every destination is now a start-up”. That really stuck with me.

While the impacts on tourism and travel are devastating, we have a real opportunity here to change our approach to tourism and travel. Finding real and applicable solutions for destinations and organizations is our objective as Tierranjani Africa.

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We need to rethink existing models and go back to the drawing board while supporting those who are most vulnerable, e.g. our communities, biodiversity, and ecosystems. A more holistic and participatory approach that ensures that e.g. income is flowing back into the communities and conservation, the diversification of income streams of domestic markets, and local communities to avoid over-dependency or over-tourism, are all issues that should be tackled now in order to not revisit our past mistakes.

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