We aim to increase economic benefits for local people from tourism excursions and improve the environmental impact of tours on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista.
Why? Tourist excursions are an excellent opportunity to create economic benefits for local people, but if not managed well, they can have negative impacts on local wildlife, the environment and local communities. Our research found that the impacts of tours on these islands are concentrated in certain areas, but due to the lack of benefit for local people, the negative impacts often outweigh the positives. Our studies showed that there was a perception amongst tourists that there wasn’t much to do on Sal and that many tours offered the same experience. In addition, tour guides recognised the need to implement responsible practices, but often didn’t have the relevant knowledge to be able to do so, for example how to protect the endangered loggerhead turtles that nest on Sal.
We have created the first ever best practice manual for nature-based tours across Cabo Verde, in collaboration with a local NGO, Project Biodiversity. The guide includes good practice for watching sea turtles, sharks, whales, and birds, as well as ways to protect the sand dunes.
Over 60 guides have so far been provided with training in responsible guiding and also best practice in turtle-watching and dune excursions.
Cape Verde’s hospitality school (EHTCV) has agreed to adopt the Responsible Guiding training as part of the official guide training curriculum.
We have signed an agreement with the environment and tourism departments of the national government to work together for the improvement of nature-based guiding, including through training and better licensing of guides.
We provided a report to the Cape Verde government, that considers options for a national standards scheme (such as certification or licensing) for excursions.
We’re supporting excursion providers to design and adopt a “responsible excursions code of conduct”.
We have researched the impacts of excursions on the islands’ environment and local communities and have presented our findings and recommendations to relevant government bodies and destination council.
We developed an Insider Guide to Sal to help visitors explore the island. It’s available to tourists at the reception of several hotels on the island and at Sal’s airport.
Improving nature-based excursions will help to ensure the guides can make a better, more secure living from tourism. We hope that, following training, guides will become leaders in responsible practice, inspiring others to improve the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism. In the long term, natural habitats, such as turtle nesting sites, will be protected. Such sites represent important natural heritage of the islands and draw tourists. This project is also helping to improve the visitor experience in Sal, building a quality, unique reputation for the destination, and ensuring that visitors to the island enjoy themselves and want to return.