Africa’s biggest tour operator has joined a Kenyan-based conservation programme called the Long Run Initiative. South Africa’s Wilderness Safari joined the initiative saying it will help promote cultural and biological diversity across the continent. The Long Run signs up tourism projects which must adhere to its 4C’s philosophy of conservation, community, culture and commerce.
It is an initiative of the Kenyan-based Zeitz Foundation, started in 2008 by Jochen Zeitz the CEO of sports wear manufacturers, PUMA. “My Foundation is headquartered in Kenya, so welcoming our first African Long Run Supporter is an exciting addition for us,” said Zeitz in a statement. “As the owner and operator of numerous iconic sustainable tourism brands and destinations across Africa, Wilderness Holdings is setting a precedent for others in the industry to follow responsible and sustainable tourism practices.” Wilderness Holdings is Africa’s biggest safari operator with a network of 53 safari destinations, and a fleet of 49 aircrafts.
The organisation said it wants to promote conservation of pristine wilderness areas and the lives such areas support. “We believe that in conserving these areas, and including the local communities in this process, we will make a difference to Africa and ultimately the world,” said Andy Payne, Wilderness Safari CEO. “Our planet would be a dull place without both cultural and biological diversity.”
A statement from Zeitz Foundation said Wilderness Safaris is in the process of embedding the 4Cs across its operations. Wilderness is the second most prominent organisation to join the initiative. Members usually pledge to support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects around the world.
They demonstrate their commitment by signing the Long Run Charter, committing themselves to promote more sustainable lifestyle choices. Zeitz Foundation is based in Kenya but has representation in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.