Hundreds of the leading travel industries figureheads from across Africa and the Indian Ocean gathered at the World Travel Awards in Durban, South Africa on 6th October 2018 to mark what has become known internationally as the ‘Tourism Oscars.’
The World Travel Awards (WTA) serve to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry – and winners have become the benchmark for innovation, customer service, sustainability and values.
Ol Pejeta’s Human Capital Manager, Schola Waihenya was in Durban to receive the award. “This prize validates our belief that conservation can and does work best when it benefits the local communities. We’re the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, which comes at a high price. Yet we still managed to reinvest USD 750,000 into community projects last year. We hold some of the highest predator densities in Kenya, yet we manage to maintain a large herd of ‘conservation beef’ cattle. Our partnerships with tourism operations are critical to our model, which is about ensuring that ecotourism and conservation has the greatest impact where it is needed the most.”
Ol Pejeta Conservancy received 81,000 visitors through its gates in 2017 and hosts 10 tented camps, hotels and lodges. They offer multiple conservation activities to guests, including lion tracking and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience with the two last remaining northern white rhinos on the planet. Ol Pejeta is also home to a sanctuary for chimpanzees rescued from the illegal pet trade. Revenue from tourism and other enterprises is reinvested into community development projects such as school infrastructure, mobile health care for remote villages and support for local farmers.
Overall, Kenya was well represented in the winners line up, with Kenya Airways scooping Africa’s Leading Airline for Economy and Business Class, Diani Beach winning Africa’s Leading Beach Destination, Destination Kenya labelled as Africa’s Leading Destination Management Company, Masai Mara as Africa’s Leading National Park and many other Kenyan-based hotels and spas scooping accolades too.
The WTA ceremony in Durban marked the sixth leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2018 – a series of regional events to acknowledge the world’s outstanding travel brands. The regional winners will progress to the Grand Final 2018, which is being hosted in Lisbon (Portugal) on 1st December.