Magazine article Geographical

Louise De Waal: Establish Boabab Travel, a Small Tour Operator That Channels Up to an Incredible 80 per Cent of Client's Fees Back to the Host Country. Christian Amodeo Speaks to Her about Her Philosophy and Hopes for Travel Business

Magazine article Geographical

Louise De Waal: Establish Boabab Travel, a Small Tour Operator That Channels Up to an Incredible 80 per Cent of Client's Fees Back to the Host Country. Christian Amodeo Speaks to Her about Her Philosophy and Hopes for Travel Business

Article excerpt

Louise de Waal establish Boabab Travel, a small tour operator that channels up to an incredible 80 per cent of clients' fees back to the host country. Christian Amodeo speaks to hopes for travel business

What made you establish Baobab Travel?

My business partner, Shari Jackson, and I were frustrated with way most tour operators run their trips, especially those to developing countries. Baobab Travel was born out of a combination of a love for Africa and travel and a desire to actively work with, and support, local communities in the developing world.

What is your background?

I trained as a physical geographer at the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) and my PhD was in river management. Shortly after graduation I moved to the UK, where I first worked as an environmental consultant, before I secured a position as a senior lecturer in environmental science for eight years at the University of Wolverhampton.

What would you say are the main differences between Baobab and other responsible-travel companies?

While other companies organise selected trips with a responsible-travel angle, Baobab's firm ethical principles underpin every aspect of the company. We're fully committed to operating all of our trips on principles of responsible travel, ensuring a form of sustainable tourism that benefits host communities economically and is sensitive to indigenous cultures and the environment. Responsible tourism isn't just about tour operators behaving responsibly--it's also about spreading the word. A well-informed tourist is able to behave responsibly and fully appreciate the host country. Prior to departure, we provide our customers with a detailed information pack containing cultural, historical and environmental information specific to the destination(s) to be visited. This pack is more comprehensive than the standard health and travel advice traditionally provided by tour operators.

How much do you give to the host country?

Baobab Travel ensures that 75-80 per cent of all holiday revenue received stays within the host countries by working directly with suppliers, rather than working with Western intermediaries and multinational hotel chains, and giving preference to locally owned companies. Many of our suppliers provide ecnomic benefits to local communities through raising community levies or investing in community projects. …

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