Supporting planning for sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible eco-tourism ventures worldwide


Grootbos LRD South AfricaSustainable, responsible tourism can play a key role in preserving the cultural integrity, ecological processes and biodiversity of natural areas. Encouragingly, modern travellers are becoming increasingly discerning and environmentally responsible, and many tourist destinations are striving to reduce their ecological and social footprints. In this context, the Long-Run Initiative (LRI) aims to promote sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible eco-tourism ventures and other privately managed natural areas around the world, through the achievement of a holistic balance between four major pillars: conservation, community, culture and commerce (known as the 4Cs). The LRI was created by the Zeitz Foundation which also supported its early development, but it has now transitioned to become an independent, member-financed global programme. The LRI is built around Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) certified Long Run Destinations (LRDs), Long Run Alliance Members and Long Run Supporters. Supporters are organizations from a variety of different sectors that believe in and support the LRI mission, while Alliance Members are sustainable tourism destinations on the path of continuing improvements to eventually become certified LRDs, which are global leaders in sustainable tourism. The LRI currently includes 8 LRDs, 27 Long Run Alliance Members and 38 Long Run Supporters spanning six continents, and the Alliance Members and Destinations together manage or significantly influence the management of approximately 7.2 million acres, protecting numerous rare and endangered species.

Our contribution

Wolwedans LRD NamibiaHaving been involved in numerous sustainable natural resource management and community-based conservation planning projects in Africa over the past decades, CDC was ideally placed to provide technical support for the design and implementation of the Long Run Initiative. In this regard, CDC played a central role in the development of the Global Ecosphere Retreats® certification scheme, particularly the design of the internal self-assessment and external evaluation processes underpinning the scheme. In addition, CDC has provided technical guidance and mentoring to a number of Long Run Destinations across three continents, facilitating their adoption of a holistic approach to delivering on the 4Cs. While piloting the GER certification process, CDC worked hand‐in‐hand with the destinations to understand the impacts they seek to achieve, the outcomes that need to be delivered to achieve those impacts, and the potential synergies and frictions between the different pillars of the 4Cs approach, in order to identify locally‐appropriate, sustainable management solutions. CDC continues to provide assessment and mentoring support to the LRI and to Long Run Destinations and Alliance Members in enhancing their delivery of the 4Cs pillars, and in identifying and promoting best 4Cs practices that can be adopted throughout the LRI network.


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