andBeyond Mnemba Island was one of two silver winners in the Best for Beach Tourism category at the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards, held at the World Travel Market in London in celebration of World Responsible Tourism Day yesterday.
Founded in 2004, the awards recognise the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world, supporting the principle that all types of tourism can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.
“andBeyond Mnemba Island is a prime example of our commitment to our core ethos of Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People. Although it is currently one of only two island properties in the andBeyond portfolio, it highlights the fact that the positive influence that we have on more than 9 million acres of protected wildlife areas also extends to the oceans,” says Joss Kent, andBeyond CEO.
Located off the coast of Zanzibar, andBeyond Mnemba Island worked with the Zanzibar Department of Fisheries and members of local fishing communities to establish the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area (MIMCA) in 2005. In addition to other measures, this protected area officially demarcated specific areas for snorkelling, diving and fishing. The agreement also resulted in the introduction of a daily recreational fee for the use of these areas. The revenue generated by this levy was used to fund local community projects and benefit local fishermen.
One of the main objectives of the establishment of MIMCA was to reduce the incidence of net fishing in the shallow waters off the coral reefs and several measures were introduced to encourage this practice. MIMCA has been so successful that the whole north-eastern coast of Zanzibar has now also been declared a conservation area.
The Island is also one of only two protected nesting sites for the endangered green turtle in Zanzibar and is deemed very important to Sea Sense, a non-governmental Tanzanian organisation and the NGO that Mnemba collaborates with on data sharing and training. The island was responsible for the first green turtle to be satellite tagged off Zanzibar, thus assisting to collect data on the migration patterns of the species.
The rarest antelope species in Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) estimates that there are between 300 and 600 Ader’s duiker remaining in the wild. In 2005 five of these antelope were introduced to Mnemba Island and have since tripled their number, with a population of 15 now living on the island.
Zanzibari suni were also introduced to Mnemba Island from Jozani Forest with the aim of diversifying and increasing their population. On Mnemba, where they have no natural predators, they have been breeding twice, rather than once, every year. Over the years, more than 250 suni have been moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar.
The biggest land crab in the world, so little is known about the coconut crab that they do not even have a conservation status with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), being listed as ‘data deficient’. Mnemba Island has a small but stable population of these crabs and recently hosted two researchers from Gothenburg University in Sweden, who conducted a study of the coconut crabs at Mnemba and nearby Chumbe Island.
andBeyond Mnemba Island also contributes significantly towards local communities, supporting local school and income generating activities. By drawing 75% of its staff directly from local communities, the lodge provides employment opportunities for local residents. The projects carried out in surrounding communities in conjunction with its community development partner, Africa Foundation, have provided over 150 children with the opportunity to be educated, allowing them the means to learn computer literacy.
For further information on andBeyond please visit: www.andBeyond.com