FAIR TRADE IN TOURISM
The very core reason Guludo Beach Lodge exists is to be a catalyst that enables poor communities to work their way out of poverty while protecting the environment. Our model for achieving this includes a commercial business (Guludo Beach Lodge) and a charity (Nema Foundation).
The business acts as the foundations for the charity; creating the driving force, income and logistical support as well as a market for new SMEs.
The business alone has a powerful impact on achieving our goals through the way it is run. The best way of describing how Guludo operates is to say all our decisions are made using fair trade principles.
The Fair Trade Concept
Fair trade is generally associated with tangible goods and products such as coffee, chocolate, and sugar in which farmers and producers in the developing world receive better prices, work in better conditions, and initiate more sustainable production methods for their goods. Fair trade addresses injustices associated with conventional trade in which poor producers are often discriminated against within a global marketplace. The idea of fair trade is establishing itself in the tourism industry as well. It is an industry where workers must also receive fair wages, good working conditions, and become empowered with commercial opportunities.
Fair Trade at Guludo Beach Lodge
Here are examples of how our fair trade principles are used in our business:
Employment: We employ 50+ local people from Guludo village and other surrounding villages. We pride ourselves in training and advancement of our staff as well in our encouraging of other lodges in the area to employ locally as well.
Supplying goods and services locally: We procure nearly everything needed in the day-to-day running of our lodge from a 5 km radius; often at higher cost than in if bought in the city. Supporting and encouraging local entrepreneurship (with its powerful multiplying effect in the region) is central to our ethos. This has been carried through from design of the lodge to operation with construction using local skills and materials, all furniture and furnishings produces by local artisans on site and even uniforms made with locally bought fabric by a local tailor.
Direct sales of goods and services to visitors by local people: We strongly encourage enterprise development and the direct sale of local goods to our guests. Several groups have been set up in the local area, including two palm weaving, a ceramic and bamboo weaving by our charity, Nema and many more are planned for the future. These groups sell directly to guests and us. Guests are encouraged to buy goods from these groups and shops to encourage further trade when visiting the local village. Nema is currently in the process of funding a local craft centre with a central shop to promote sales and create an area to work.
Taxes or levies on tourism revenues or profits: 5% of all lodge revenues go directly into our Nema charity. Many of our guests also contribute philanthropically.
Voluntary giving of resources: Both our guests and our company give money, goods (including pencils, clothing, books, etc.), and time to the local community. We also supply vehicles, fuel, and lodge resources.
Investment in infrastructure which provides livelihood benefits to the local community: Our Nema charity is currently involved water point rehabilitation project repairing (and sometime digging new) 26 water points. Nema is currently building two new primary schools and hopes to build a secondary school next year. Furthermore, we work with the local community to address their needs including the investment in a new craft centre and shop.
Monitoring our Progress & Impact: We monitor our progress through a comprehensive checklist of environmental, social, and economic checklist of actions which we feel exceeds most industry standards. Our checklist sets baselines and targets for improving every year.