Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism

!Xaus Lodge won the 2010 Imvelo Awards for Best Practice Economic Impact (independent category) in November 2010. This award is awarded annually by FEDHASA (The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa ) to recognise tourism and hospitality businesses that make a real, measurable and sustained contribution to Responsible Tourism.

“The value of winning this Imvelo Award lies in the confidence it gives the Lodge’s community owners and the management they we are an excellent Responsible Tourism destination – not just in our own eyes, but in the eyes of the broader tourism industry” says Glynn O’Leary, CEO of Transfrontier Parks Destinations, the management operators of !Xaus Lodge. “Confidence to persevere is an important part of the mix that makes successful projects come to fruition. We know that !Xaus Lodge is still a young project, and look forward to continuing to build this great community asset.”

Here is the explanation from the Imvelo Awards on why !Xaus Lodge are worthy of this prestige:

!Xaus Lodge is a community-owned, commercially managed lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Built as part of the !Ae!Hai land claim settlement and jointly owned by the ‡Khomani San and Mier, the Lodge was abandoned by the communities as a ‘white elephant’ before the management operators, Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD) were appointed. Since opening in 2007, and with only 24 beds, !Xaus Lodge has generated more than R5,1 million in income for the Gordonia area. The economic value of !Xaus Lodge lies in ethical business principles that generate a steady and growing income for the community owners and the area.

Direct community financial benefits: The Lodge is a community asset, and a percentage of monthly turnover is paid to the community owners.

Direct individual employment benefits: In excess of 85% of the staff at the Lodge are members of the local community, and their income is critical to people who live in an area that has up to 90% unemployment.

Direct new skills benefits: !Xaus Lodge employs hospitality staff, trackers and guides. It provides internship opportunities and supports formal training at !Khwa ttu and the SA College of Hospitality.

Micro-enterprise development: The Craft Village at !Xaus Lodge accommodates crafters who make and sell their crafts to guests.

Local area benefit: In the last financial year !Xaus Lodge spent over 92% of its operational expenditure in the Gordonia area.

Positive land-claim outcome benefits: !Xaus Lodge provides a world-class tourism destination that brings a regular income to the communities as a direct result of the !Ae!Hai land claim settlement.

Long-term asset creation benefit: The ‡Khomani San and Mier communities are the owners of the R11milion !Xaus Lodge, all its furnishings and the land on which it is located.