Together for The Long Run
Covid-19 has changed our world in unimaginable ways. Tourism has ground to a halt, and livelihoods are at risk. Highly connected lives are increasingly confined, and resource that was channelled towards sustainability and innovation has had to be pulled back to address basic survival. It’s a troubling time, and our thoughts go out to everyone affected.
Amid the crisis, we’re eager to find hope and opportunity. Hope that the world will come back stronger and better; that priorities will be recalibrated, and we’ll heal with a renewed respect for people and planet. And opportunities to create a more sustainable future, build resilience, and to learn from one another.
While supporting members to recover and cope, many of whom rely on tourism income for vital community and conservation projects, we’ve unravelled glimmers of light. Loyal customers are happily postponing trips or donating funds to keep projects running. Meanwhile, employees are rallying to support one another — taking extra holiday or reducing hours to safeguard everyone’s jobs. Others are helping to educate confused communities about the risks and prevention of Coronavirus.
As an organisation founded on connectedness — between teams, communities, nature and a global network of conservationists — this crisis is a reminder of just how fundamental connection is. Despite the need to part ways physically, The Long Run and its members will be doing everything possible to keep this connectedness alive.
For starters, here are a few heart-warming stories from Long Run members all over the world:
Help where it’s needed
Eager to maintain team morale and motivation, several Long Run members are sending employees out on community tasks. Nikoi and Cempedak in Indonesia are encouraging lodge staff to kick-start local beach cleans, come up with innovative ideas so that leftover food doesn’t go to waste, and help scrub up some of its Island Foundation not-for-profit projects. Meanwhile, The Safari Collection is redirecting school meals that are no longer needed due to closures to others in need.
In Kenya, lodges Borana, Segera, Sasaab and Cottar’s 1920s Camp are using their network of staff to help educate the local community about Coronavirus. Taking scientific information to households and community groups, about what the virus is, how it spreads, and prevention methods, is helping to combat fake news and undue panic.
Dreaming of travel
The world may be grounded, but we’re still dreaming of adventures that do good. Lodges and destinations are eager to keep up engagement to provide hope for future bookings and postponed plans. The Long Run members will keep the dream alive with a ‘Nature Never Stops’ campaign, bringing inspiration from the field to screens wherever you are. From deep-sea dives at Six Senses Laamu in The Maldives to Kualoa’s Jurassic Valley in Hawaii, lodge managers and rangers vow to fuel wanderlust.
Donating in the interim
Alongside hundreds of other tourism businesses and destinations, Long Run members use funds from tourism to support important conservation and community work. If the income dries up, projects are at risk. Although unable to travel, some loyal customers are donating to keep projects going. One example is a repeat guest at Segera that has offered to provide the funds to keep an employee’s driving lessons on track.
Planning the big return
On top of crisis management, Long Run members are planning to get proactive with downtime. We’re working with members to roll out sustainability training to staff and embed The Long Run’s 4Cs even further. Some lodges are encouraging staff and residents to make the most of empty lodges and reserves. For example, deep in the Pantanal, employees at Caiman Ecological Refuge are experiencing the ranch from the perspective of the guest. Over in the Indian Ocean, Six Senses Laamu is capturing sustainability practices on video to share with their wider team and community while working remotely.