Monkeying around for sustainable tourism
On September 17th the Bench team (and you if you wish to join us) will be donning our gorilla suits to run 8km through London to raise money through the The Great Gorilla Run. It is all a bit of fun - although having tried on the monkey suit only once (to attempt to scare the kids) I soon appreciated that running in the suit might not be all that much "fun" - but it has a significant message. There are now only 900 mountain gorillas left in the world...
Just 900. Protecting our wildlife whilst encouraging growth through tourism is a difficult and ethical balance. Animals don't have boundaries, they don't understand borders and they don't appreciate that a farm was not built for them... So often we hear that it is the conflict between the local communities and animals that create the destructive behaviours. And tourism can be the catalyst to bringing both parties together - protecting a species by engaging a community into the tourism value of that asset.
The Gorilla Organisation have done a fantastic job in building awareness of community based conservation around the gorilla community in Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. At the Africa Hotel Investment Forum we will hear from Jillian Miller, the CEO of this organisation about how they have supported the rebuilding of a species on the brink of extinction and how they've been able to develop a future as a sustainable tourism asset.
Please support us on September 17th - which ever way you can. Donate generously, cheer us on, or be part of the fundraising team. Perhaps we shall see you in Rwanda where we will hear more about the great work.
An interview on the conservation of Gorillas in Rwanda, and how the country built an industry around it.
Senior Vice President Development, EMEA - Hilton Worldwide
In conversation with:
Chief Executive Officer - The Gorilla Organisation