Ensuring we give back to the communities and people we work with in Pakistan, is a critical business model for Xperience Pakistan, to ensure that our company keeps this top of mind, we have ensured that we focus on 5 of the 17 SDG goals which were laid out in 2015. In 2015 many governments around the world adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The bold agenda set out a global framework to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change until 2030. Building on the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets is people-centred, transformative, universal and integrated.
Tourism has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly, to all of the goals. (UNWTO)
Every package we create and develop with our partnering companies in Pakistan, is measured against these goals, at least one of these have to be met for our packages before we would consider promoting these to our consumers. Over time we would like every package to cover all 5 goals and as we grow would like to incorporate other SDGs that have a direct impact on infrastructure and the environment.
The 5 goals that we are committed to focus on for the short term are;
SDG 1 – End Poverty in all its forms everywhere
As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation. Sustainable tourism development, and its impact at community level, can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, and empowering less favoured groups, particularly youth and women. (UNWTO)
As a company we are committed to ensure that 25% of our experience mix, have experiences which have a direct implementation of this SDG, working with SME’s and promoting local entrepreneurship.
By 2030 we would want 50% of our experiential mix to have packages that have been developed with SME’s and female entrepreneurs. Our current NPD pipeline is heavily focused on this.
SDG 4 – Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
A well-trained and skillful workforce is crucial for tourism to prosper. The sector can provide incentives to invest in education and vocational training and assist labour mobility through cross-border agreements on qualifications, standards and certifications. In particular youth, women, senior citizens, indigenous peoples and those with special needs should benefit through educational means, where tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness, the values of a culture of tolerance, peace and non-violence, and all aspects of global exchange and citizenship. (UNWTO)
Our Food Tours and Meet the Artisan tour in Swat are already fulfilling this, as we are working with and funding some of the L&D that is needed for these communities via our tours, to help them become independent and develop a business through which they are able to sustain and maintain themselves. We are already in touch with many institutes working with women and up skilling them as well as the SOS village in Pakistan. A minimum of £25 is donated to the Shahid Afridi Foundation, which is focused on 3 projects, one of which is providing free education in communities, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.
Over the next few years we are committed to ensure that by 2030, 50% of our packages have a direct impact on the education and promotion of entrepreneurialism of the more vulnerable people in Pakistan who don’t have access to opportunities that the mass have access to.
SDG 5 – Gender Equality
Tourism can empower women in multiple ways, particularly through the provision of jobs and through income-generating opportunities in small and larger-scale tourism and hospitality related enterprises. As one of the sectors with the highest share of women employed and entrepreneurs, globally, tourism can be a tool for women to unlock their potential, helping them to become fully engaged and lead in every aspect of society. (UNWTO)
Two of our current experiences are focused on the implementation of this SDG, ‘Meet the Artisan’ and ‘Food Tours with Chefling Tales’.
Our ‘Meet the Artisans’ handicraft experience in Swat, not only focuses on having a direct contribution towards their learning and development program to ensure the women can meet international standards but through our platform we hope to showcase their handicraft work, to encourage overseas boutiques to commission them for work, providing them with a regular work stream.
Our Food tours, which we’ve developed with the owner of Chefling Tales, is also about working with women. Chefling Tales have provided business training to women who have been cooking for their families for years, so that they are able to turn this into a business and assist them to bring an additional income to their homes. Guest participation on our food tours have a direct positive impact on these women and their families.
SDG 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth
Tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth, and currently accounts for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. By giving access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society- particularly youth and women- can benefit from enhanced skills and professional development. The sector’s contribution to job creation is recognized in target 8.9. (UNWTO)
This is very important for our company and a key philosophy we already follow across all our packages and itineraries that we offer our clients. Every package incorporates this SDG, however there are some packages which are stronger on this SDG than others. Our Food Tours and Meet the Artisans tours have a strong emphasis on this SDG.
SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals
Due to its cross-sectorial nature tourism has the ability to strengthen private/public partnerships and engage multiple stakeholders – international, national, regional and local – to work together to achieve the SDGs and other common goals. Indeed, public/public cooperation and public/private partnerships are a necessary and core foundation for tourism development, as is an increased awareness in the role of tourism in the delivery on the post-2015 Development Agenda. (UNWTO)
Our company philosophy is to work in partnership and collaboration, with local tour operating companies who have years of experience in the industry so that they can benefit from the push we wish to give for Pakistani tourism, it is not to take their business. As a company we also ensure we are working closely with government bodies in Pakistan and overseas so that we can guide and influence the direction that tourism takes, ensuring that local cultures, communities and the environment is being preserved.
Below is a table, which demonstrates which SDGs we have attributed to each of our tours / experiences.