Breakfast in America and Canada!
Marc Baker and I flew to the USA on May 14th to conduct a month long marketing exercise We traveled to New York, Connecticut, Toronto, The San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Cruz and to Newport Beach just south of Los Angeles.
We returned home to the land of lions on June 11th- just in time to watch the World cup !
In fact we stopped over in New York on our way home to see England's' first game on the 10th. In Toronto we saw Niagara Falls and caught a baseball game. The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox and the hot dogs were great. In Connecticut we kayaked a beautiful spot called 'The 5 mile River', we drove the Californian coastline from Santa Cruz to LA, in New York and San Francisco we dined out in style and in Newport Beach we came face to face with cosmetic surgery and its many guises!
All in all it was quite an education.
After 13 presentations talking to over 350 people we felt exhausted but highly enthused. Our talks were not just to make new contacts for safaris but also to deliver a message. We wanted to explain how our ethical, low impact and quality tourism was helping conservation efforts in Tanzania.
The variety of areas we use these days is extensive- some are new areas in the parks whilst others are outside the protected areas network. By working closely with National Parks and local village communities we spread the experience we have gained and try to protect new areas by spreading the tourist dollar - by making it work towards a sustainable future for wildlife and village communities that live with the burden of wildlife on their land. And it is a burden for them. The wildlife uses the very resources that these people depend upon for basic survival and without an income coming their way from wildlife related activities it is impossible to ask these people to care about wildlife.
So few communities have benefited from wildlife over the past 20 years but now many are starting to believe that income from both photographic and hunting tourism can be a real development advantage. It is the only future for our wildlife outside of protected areas- it is the only way to help conserve the biological integrity of our parks. We must move away from a dependency on foreign aid and create a more sustainable wildlife conservation scene in Tanzania. Marc and I certainly believe this and work very hard to promote this belief.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone that helped us make these presentations such a success and for putting us up in their homes whilst we did. Many contributed to the costs by providing food and drinks in their homes.
We were truly moved by all the support we received.
Back to work now as safaris start on the 23rd of June ... Come on England!