Transfrontier Parks Destinations

The TFPD Foundation has been established to source financial support and volunteer assistance for specific projects that will positively support rural community development for the communities who own lodges that are managed by Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD).
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CBT is best defined as “tourism owned and /or managed by communities and intended to deliver wider community benefits.”[1] Developing a business in a community on a sufficient scale to benefit the whole community is challenging and very few initiatives are successful, the failure rate is high. The work of the Pro-Poor Tourism Partnership identified the ways in which tourism could be used locally to benefit the economically poor and there were a few successful initiatives, but there are very few examples where the benefits can be quantified.[2]

Transfrontier Parks Destinations has brought together a group of business-oriented social entrepreneurs with commercial finance, marketing, safari activities and hospitality management expertise to work with communities to realise household and community value through tourism, recognising that sustainability require viability and that conservation requires decent livelihoods for those who live with the wildlife. All of TFPD’s lodges are community-owned and offer rich natural and cultural heritage experiences, they are destinations.    They each offer experiences which enable travellers to engage with the communities and their environments with respect, creating livelihoods for community members, revenue streams for the community as a whole, and great experiences for the travellers and holidaymakers.

TFPD has successfully used tourism to create sustainable livelihoods for community members and to develop viable commercial businesses, owned by local communities, businesses which are sufficiently commercially viable to make a significant contribution to community funds and which create opportunities through employment and local enterprise. Each lodge provides a focus for genuine sustainable local economic development.

Transfrontier Parks Destinations demonstrates that business-oriented social entrepreneurs can by partnering with communities make a reality of the aspirations of CBT – where so many fail.

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Consider the economic impact of TFPD’s !Xaus Lodge

“The !Xaus Lodge funding model fits into a classic public-private-community partnership (PPCP) tourism model.

  • The State provides the ‘public’ support – the initial grant as well as various subsequent measures of infrastructural support;
  • The operator is private and uses commercial banks for operating funds where required and
  • The communities own the asset, its fittings and furnishings and receive an income from the Lodge operations, as well as an equity stake in the operating company.” more

“In the 8 years of its operation under management of Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD), !Xaus Lodge comprising a mere 24 guest beds, and located deep in the desert of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), has contributed more than R28,9 million (US$1,9 million) in income to the area in which it operates. This is a significant achievement for two reasons: the first that there are so few economic opportunities in the area and the second that these contributions were made despite the lodge being regarded as a ‘white elephant’ by its owners, given its locations & substantial infrastructural problems.”

Contribution to the local economy 2007-2016

“Since then the lodge has become a stable, sustainable business and an international attraction for responsible tourists looking for extraordinary experiences and it is the only successful commercial operation arising from the land claim settlement. In addition to the percentage of revenue that the communities earn as rental, local employment and procurement is prioritized. Guests provide a significant market for local crafters.  125 individuals are supported by the income earned by 25 permanent employees and a further 112 people benefit from the income earned by 16 crafters.  This means 3.4% of the total population of the Mier Municipality are dependent on !Xaus Lodge.”   more

“Crafters working at the Lodge have sold R892,400 worth of crafts since the Lodge opened.  In addition, other crafters in the area who do not work at the Lodge have sold a further R478,000 worth of good to tourists.  This access to market is critical for a viable crafting economy. Assisting the local community to create a currency from the indigenous skills and knowledge encourages young people to continue to practice their culture.” more

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[1] Goodwin H (2013) Community-based tourism in the developing world: delivering the goods? Progress in Responsible Tourism 3(1): Goodfellow: 31-56 p.31

[2] Goodwin H (2009) Reflections on 10 years of Pro-Poor Tourism, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events 1 (1) March 2009: 90-94 and Goodwin H (2008) Tourism, local economic development, and poverty reduction, Applied Research in Economic Development 5 (3) December 2008: 55-64