[T.H.I.N.K.] A year in review
29 March 2021

 

Seeing the wood for the trees


365 days ago we went into lockdown in South Africa.
I remember, quite clearly, the state of disbelief as our world ground to a halt, the skies emptied of planes, and we were all glued to the news watching the impact of C-19 unfold on a global scale. At this stage I optimistically thought tourism would be back on track for the safari season from July 2020.
How fundamentally wrong I was.

This year, amidst all the craziness, grief and despair (and there have been many tears) has also given us time to pause, think and recalibrate. It has given us time to see the wood from the trees.

365 days later I am reflecting on what has HURT, what we are THANKFUL for and how we are EMERGING.

WHAT HAS HURT

  • Watching the disbelief and pain as our industry shrank to nothing overnight.
  • Feeling the enormous financial pressure our Members faced as their costs and responsibilities remain unchanged with radically reduced tourism revenue.
  • The negotiating and haggling over deposits, payments, postponements and cancellations... and on it goes.
  • The fear, losses and radical shift many of us have experienced in both a personal and business capacity.
  • Seeing how threatened and vulnerable our wild spaces are when no park and concession fees are paid.
  • The devastating impact on African based businesses together with already impoverished and marginalised communities who have no government support.

WHAT WE ARE THANKFUL FOR

  • Our extraordinary Classic Portfolio Members: in the past year, only 2 have moved on (Gibb's Farm and Machaba Safaris) while the remaining 15 have been rock solid in their commitment to Classics and the future of tourism in Africa.

  • My team of 19 amazing women who have supported each other and our Members through a year of radical change.
  • New business opportunities: from launching Marataba Conservation Camps and working with the investors to launch Coot Club, to a new management consultancy role at HBD Principe and taking on numerous projects for other Members.
  • Being able to connect with exceptional industry colleagues around the world via Zoom has radically changed how we interact. I have so enjoyed the regular catch-up session we have with other product owners as we share ideas on best practice going forward.
  • And finally, online school which gave me the opportunity to take a 16 week working road trip around South Africa with my girls (aged 10 and 11, this was a very special time).

HOW WE ARE EMERGING

  • While we will create a direct (B2C) narrative around our Portfolio, we neither have the capacity nor the desire to manage bookings and become a tour operator. We remain committed to our strategy of working closely with our key travel trade partners through our TOP500 campaign.
ACTION: EMAIL US to be aligned as a Key Partner going forward.

  • We are fully committed to driving purposeful and conscious travel across Africa and continue to strive towards: Transparency + Accountability = Sustainability. Be on the lookout for the Conscious Journeys we have been launching.
ACTION: CONTACT ME to find out more about our sustainable tourism philosophy.

  • Being brave, we are stepping out of our comfort zone and looking to make some big changes to the brand Classic Portfolio. We look forward to taking you on this journey with us!
ACTION: A NSWER 3 QUESTIONS on what you value most about Classic Portfolio.

  • As a 100% women powered business, we will be celebrating the impact and contribution women make by launching Wild Women Journeys (totally inspired by the way I personally love to explore Africa).

ACTION: GET THE SCOOP on what we have planned.

  • Across Classic Portfolio, our Members are open (besides HBD Principe and Odzala Conservation Camps due to access and wildlife protection), ready to welcome guests.

ACTION: CHECK AVAILABILITY and start journey planning across Classic Portfolio!

WATCH OUR UPDATED VIDEO


15 Visionary owners.
51 Privately owned camps and lodges committed to sustainability.
21 Protected areas in 10 African countries.

We are fully supportive to our trade partners and as always, Classic Portfolio remains your trusted group of PRIVATE owners offering UNIQUE experiences COMMITTED to the future of Africa.

While we are still traversing this dense jungle, I do hope you feel as feel excited as I do about the journey ahead.

Warmest regards
Suzanne


Suzanne Bayly-Coupe

OWNER, Classic Portfolio

South Africa

WHAT WE LOVE: Many of our team are South African and we are all extremely passionate about the country, its people, wildlife and scenic beauty – who would not be with an office in the Cape winelands! But most of all we are proud of what South Africa has achieved and the challenges we have overcome. It is a country that has diversity as its hallmark. From lush forests, vast savannahs, beautiful beaches, arid semi-desert, dramatic mountain ranges to its cosmopolitan cities, ‘Big Five’ wildlife reserves, winelands, gourmet restaurants and colourful shanty towns: South Africa has all any visitor could ask for. Strong on adventure, sport, nature and wildlife, it is also a pioneer and global leader in responsible tourism.

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Tanda Tula Safari Camp

Tanda Tula Safari Camp is one of South Africa's most luxurious East African styled tented safari camps. Owner-run and managed by Don & Nina Scott, Tanda Tula Safari Camp provides an unforgettable safari experience, with unprecedented attention to detail. Shaded by majestic trees and overlooking the Nhlaralumi riverbed, their 12 spacious tents boast their own private deck with uninterrupted views of the wilderness ahead. Each tent is complete with en-suite bathroom and outdoor shower. There are fantastic walking opportunities as well as 4x4 safari activities on offer at Tanda Tula taking advantage of its enviable location where game is able to roam freely between the Timbavati and Kruger National Park as they are not fenced. The Timbavati is also recognised for its low human impact, all lodges in the area coordinate their game viewing activities according to strict controls which ensure the sustainability of our bushveld and sensitivity to the wildlife making for an authentic and unspoilt experience.

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