We're hearing about it all the time and interesting new laws are appearing - often with too little thought and research about the implications of their application. Karen has decided to take a lead for us at Ahipara in this very important sector.
We've always had an eye on sustainability and ethical travel. We've been working with local communities, mostly Maori, for 20 years, donating to worthy causes like conservation and predator trapping for the last ten years, walking our own talk with replanting at our property Lauderdale, and so on. Most small New Zealand businesses are doing the same as this is in our genes. But this wasn't enough for Karen.
After that really awful first part of the Covid experience, Karen started rebuilding herself, and found that what interested her very much was sustainability. How could we go beyond the feel-good buzzwords and actually implement it in a way that made sense. We had long had a number of stamps given by national bodies attesting to the fact that we thought it was important, but there was nothing out there actually measuring what we and others do.
So Karen is currently studying sustainability and leadership run by the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council, has signed us up as a founder member of the Conscious Travel Foundation, has started us on the road to BCorp certification, and has been appointed to the Central Otago Tourism Advisory Board with a focus on sustainability.
Her drive is to be able to measure the impact every one of our clients has while travelling around New Zealand as well as help other businesses ensure their effect on their environment is beneficial. ie. they give back more than they take out. this is how we believe tourism should work in the future.
This should all not come as a surprise to those who saw us taking a stand against volume tourism well before this became popular. We were also one of the only corporates who took the time to read and comment on the draft of the tourism report by our Commissioner for the Environment.
This direction, together with Jean-Michel's ongoing focus on strategy and mentoring and bringing leading-edge thinking to tourism companies has resulted in us creating a consultancy business to give us a vehicle for helping others. This can be seen here.
We can promise that sustainability will be well and truly at the forefront of our minds for this next phase and welcome any moves from any interested parties - clients and suppliers who are interested in taking this further. Rather than letting poorly thought through political policy dictate our future, we firmly believe it is up to us to grasp the issues and take control from the grass roots up.