Posted: March 17th, 2022
Grootbos, South Africa
Tourist destinations and companies are increasingly coming to realize that limits have to be placed on growth to minimize the environmental effects tourism has on attractions if the impacts of tourist developments are not to destroy the attractions that tourists sought in the first place. In the tourism literature the terms ‘tourist carrying capacity’ and ‘sustain- able tourism’ have been used to describe the maximum desirable level of tourism development that could be sustained over a medium-to-long-term period.
There are many examples from around the world of destinations, hospitality providers and event managers who are adapting their business models so that they recognize the importance of operating according to principles of sustainability. One such example is Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and Lodge in South Africa. Grootbos is a luxury camp two hours north of Cape Town.
Grootbos, which is operated as a charitable foundation, provides five-star accommodation for guests providing a crucial revenue stream. It is also an important nature reserve set in the Fynbos area. Fynbos is an area of natural heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape with a Mediterranean climate and is known for its exceptional degree of biodiversity. The Grootbos nature reserve was instrumental in setting up the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy in 1999 and currently consists of 21 landowners, who manage approximately 12,000 hectares of Fynbos.
The Grootbos private foundation also offers a number of different sustainability initiatives:
‘Growing the Future’ – trains a number of people each year in the growing of vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and the principles of successful animal husbandry.
‘Green Future’ – provides annual, practical-based training programs for unemployed local people in the fields of landscaping, horticulture and ecotourism.
‘Spaces for Sport’ – offers a multipurpose facility which is considered a community development project.
The site was chosen due to its unique position in the centre of three racially diverse communities. Guests are given the opportunity to plant a tree in a patch which was damaged by a fire in February of 2006. Approximately 1,000 trees have been planted to date. Each guest receives a tree planting certificate with the co-ordinates of where the trees have been planted.
1. Explain the issues raised by Grootbos in relation to the impacts of tourism.
2. Explain the business model Grootbos has developed and assess its effectiveness. Be as specific and detailed as possible.
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