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BUSINESS TRAVELLER

Giving Back in Ethical Tourism; B.A., UNICEF Team up for Change for Good for Tanzania; Donating Old Luggage Helps Kids; Saving Turtles in Zanzibar.

Aired September 13, 2008 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER. I'm Richard Quest, this month reporting from Tanzania. I'm in Dar es Salaam, which is the commercial center of this vibrant, bustling country.
When we travel for business or pleasure, we get a chance to see new cultures, experience different ways of life and, of course, meet interesting people. We also realize that we are amongst the most privileged people on this planet.

So on this month's program we've decided to look at the various different ways that, as travelers, we can give something back.

Coming up, small change in Tanzania. It's making a big difference for those in need.

Wheels of Fortune, donating old luggage to those starting new lives.

And baby steps on the beach, we're saving turtles.

What links this small change with these people? The answer, of course, this little envelope. It's very familiar to frequent travelers. We find it in the backseat pocket of most international flights.

Now, if you're like me, you've always wondered where does all that spare currency go? Who actually benefits? That's why we're in Tanzania this month, to give you some idea of how the money is spent. And as we hope to show you, this little envelope really is a very effective means of making a Change for Good.

UNIDENTIFIED FLIGHT ATTENDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, if I could just take a moment of your time and ask if you wish to make a donation, cash or loose change or any money...

QUEST: And it all starts here, on board. Homeward bound, pockets and purses stuffed with currency from a country left behind. British Airways has been collecting spare change this way for 14 years, little by little, across thousands of flights.

Then in a secret counting room, the cents become dollars. The dollars become seven-figure sums. To date, $50 million has been raised. It's true, every little bit helps.

And this is one of the places where the money is spent, in Tanzania, where B.A. focuses on maternity clinics. Here, pregnant women come to be tested for HIV. Those who test positive learn how to prevent transmitting the virus to their babies. With the right medicine transmission can be reduced from 40 percent to just 2 percent.

WILLIE WALSH, CEO, BRITISH AIRWAYS: How old is he? 14 months. Yes, a happy baby.

QUEST: B.A.'s chief executive, Willie Walsh, knows the numbers, but he's never met the people who benefit face to face.

WALSH: You have this picture in your head of what it's going to look like. You imagine what the people are going to be like. And then you actually get to see it. And it's staggering. It really just put everything into perspective.

QUEST: Tanzania's HIV projects have received more than half a million dollars from Change for Good.

And this is really what this clinic is all about, the little one, just three hours old.

The benefits are immediately obvious, babies born free from HIV.

To really make it work takes more than just money though. The flight attendants play a crucial role. So they're taken to see the projects for themselves. When they make the announcement, they do it with more feelings.

UNIDENTIFIED FLIGHT ATTENDENT: Thank you for listening and thank you for your continued support.

BRUCE HARRIS, BRISTISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT ATTENDENT: You have to believe in the good things that people can do. And people can do good things an aircraft. Just a few pennies. I've seen hundreds of those envelopes going into the bag and it makes a big, big difference. We've seen it today.

QUEST: The Change for Good scheme was set up by UNICEF in 1987. Its simplicity was its greatest asset. And 20 years on, that remains true.

DAVID BULL, DIRECTOR, UNICEF U.K.: People feel as though it's not costing them anything. And they're making a contribution to make the world a better place for children. UNICEF U.K. and B.A. sit down together and talk about which countries we want to support. Usually, they're countries where B.A. passengers fly so that they can relate to it.

QUEST: The relationship between airline and charity is close. B.A. has a lot of say in the countries supported and ultimately knows that other charities would like a piece of this pie.

WALSH: We have a set criteria. We try and figure out, you know, the contributions that it will make and the association with British Airways. But, yes, it's a very difficult one. And I get a lot of people saying to me, come on, UNICEF have had it for so long, please give us an opportunity. And that is a difficult one. It's a difficult challenge.

QUEST: Answer it. How do you answer that fact? UNICEF have had it for 14 years. Give to someone else.

WALSH: Well, I think it is something that we will have to think about. We work very closely with UNICEF. It's been a great relationship.

I suppose one of the concerns that we all might have is, does this might get stale after a while? You talk about trying to keep it alive. And it relies on good will. Is there a risk that people have heard it all and some say, well, yeah, yeah, yeah, and that they actually stop contributing? And that's clearly one of the warning signals for us, if we felt that that was the case.

QUEST: Most major airlines have a little envelop ready to take your money. Whether it goes to UNICEF, Save the Children or some other charity, it all starts by giving away your spare change. And with the contributions of others, real change can take place.

WALSH: It's a simple message. This is fantastic work, making a huge difference. Kids being born with a chance of survival. Kids being born free of HIV-AIDS. And all down to the funding that our customers and customers on other airlines have contributed to help educate people and provide them with the skills and the tools to ensure that these children have a chance in life.

QUEST: When we come back, beautiful beaches, the Indian Ocean. And, yes, you can still be an ethical tourist, on CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: The magnificent shoreline of Zanzibar, an island that's part of the Republic of Tanzania. You can get here by ferry. It takes just two and half hours from Dar es Salaam.

And welcome back to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER where we're all about giving something back. In other words, how can we see the world's beauty spots and not do any damage?

In many cases, this isn't about giving something up or giving something away. It's all about the choices we make on the road. In other words, how do we practice ethical travel?

The guidebooks tell you where to go and what to see. But to be an ethical tourist requires thought, research and a willingness to care. And the process begins before you arrive at your destination.

TRICIA BARTLETT, DIRECTOR, TRAVELERS COURSE (ph): Ground yourself, at least, at the very, very latest while you're on the plane and your flying to that place. Where am I going? What's the culture of that country? What imbeds those peoples' lives? What's important to them? And when you go there, find a way of understanding that better so you can respect that people that you're actually going to be working amongst.

QUEST: Once on the ground, get out and about. Walk the streets around your hotel. See what it's like. Instead of reading notes in your room, read them while having a coffee in a nearby cafe outside the hotel. And forget expensive restaurants. Have dinner somewhere fun, recommended by your local partners.

If you can, go to a local market. There is nowhere better to get the flavor of the city you're visiting.

All right, so we've seen cloves and coriander and spices before. That's not the point. I'm getting an idea here of how the locals are buying their spices, their foods and their staples, like rice. And as long it's safe and I take a bit of care, this will be one of the highlights of my trip.

Even the mundane can be very different, for instance, this household market. Who'd have though to come here? It's giving me a window on another way of life.

What do you do with this?

I have no intention of buying a bucket or a broom. But it's good to see where the locals buy them and find out how much they pay, about $1 for a big pot.

Be prepared to have your eyes opened, even if the sights can be distressing. Resist the temptation to do the obvious, such as giving children sweets and candy. What seems harmless can be damaging.

BARTLETT: When's that child going to see a dentist? Don't even think about it. If you want to give pens or money away, find a hospital, find a school. Children do need pens. They do need books. It's a tragic fact of our lives that people in poor countries might get free schooling but can't afford their uniforms and the equipment they need in that school.

QUEST: In every trip there comes that moment when it's time to buy the souvenirs. And invariably, you end up in a place like this. Look familiar? Well, now's the time for us to practice our ethical tourism. After all, did you ever wonder where does all this stuff come from? Is there some factory mass producing statues of elephants?

Here in Dar es Salaam, not quite. The factory is actually at the back of the shop.

Most tourists will never see this side of the shop. I only knew about it because I asked.

So now I know my souvenirs really are locally produced. I can take a picture and show my friends and family where their presents were made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the center for these crafts. We have a lot of crafts and there are many crafters but I don't have a market.

QUEST: No market?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No market.

QUEST: That lack of tourists means few sales will be made here today. Ah, I can make a killing on the price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it for twenty.

QUEST: No way. Too expensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you, how much?

QUEST: Seven thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven thousand?

QUEST: Seven thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven thousand, you kill me.

QUEST: Seven thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.

QUEST: Seven thousand now.

I love a good bargaining session as much as anyone else. But it can go too far.

How much did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said twenty.

QUEST: I'll say ten thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pay fifteen.

QUEST: Ten thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen. Fifteen.

QUEST: Ten thousand and it's yours. Ten thousand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know this is ten thousand.

QUEST: Ten thousand doesn't...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. All there is into me. Pay fifteen.

QUEST: Ten thousand. Ten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pay fifteen.

QUEST: Ten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen.

QUEST: Ten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen.

QUEST: Ten, ten, ten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

QUEST: Ten thousand. Ten thousand. Ten thousand.

So I got my candles for half prices, which we first said was just about right. But you have to be careful. This may be the only money this store makes today. Don't bargain too hard. You might be taking somebody's food off the table.

There's only so much we can do on our trips. Often, we must put pressure back home on the corporate travel department. Ask questions about how they choose the hotels we stay in. Do those hotels have suitable child sex tourism safeguards? And do they pay a living wage to their staff? And don't forget, what is their environmental policy? And create a fuss if you don't like the answer, even if it doesn't make you popular.

We can't carry the conscience of the world on our individual shoulders. But we can make sure each of us does our bit.

And just be open to experiencing something different. Stay away sometimes from the tourist traps. For instance, a drive along this country road and I happen to cross this wedding. And yet, they've let me go in to have a look.

Ethical tourism is really nothing more than ethical common sense. And remember, when in Rome...

Coming up after the break, luggage you'll be pleased to leave behind.

And taking baby steps on the beach. In Zanzibar, we're saving turtles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: This suitcase has seen better days. It's a bit battered and bruised. But to be sure, the zip still works and so do the wheels. No, I think it's time to get rid of it. It's passed its prime. But it does seem a shame to throw it away. There must be some place I can donate a case like this to a good home.

There are large bags, small bags, and bags that have seen better days, and all about to be given to worthy new owners, foster kids in California who regularly get moved from one home to the next.

JOSEPH SCALIO (ph), CALIFORNIA TRUTH (ph): It gives you that sense of belonging, that you actually have something, so it's not humiliating when maybe you've established friendships in the community, for instance, and you have to leave that home and then the kids see you carrying a trash bags and everything like that and they're wondering what's going on. That kind of dehumanizes you a little bit. So it they see you with a suitcase, it's like you have a little bit of identify.

QUEST: To encourage more people to donate luggage to Suitcases for Kids, the travel web site Tripadvisor has laid on this special outdoor movie evening in San Francisco's Union Park Square.

SARAH WATCH (ph), TRIPADVISOR: The average child in the foster case system will move seven times during their time in the system. And many of them, without the intervention of Suitcases for Kids, actually have to move their things in garbage bags. And that's really a difficult experience for them. Suitcases for Kids comes in and provides, through their partnerships, donations of free or gently used luggage that can help these kids have an easier time.

QUEST: Travelers often fall in love with trusty suitcases. They're battle scared, parasail bashed. They've faithfully carried our belongings around the world. Even so, few fliers can imagine how, to a small child, a scuffed suitcase is the closest thing to home.

JOY COLEMAN (ph): I think that anything that you get while in foster care, you're going to cherish because it's yours. And it's something's given to you. And not all youths receive gifts. And so whether it's used or new, you're going to cherish it. I know that a lot of business people like to buy designer luggage and suitcases. So if you have some of those old suitcases laying in the back of your closet, you can just make good with them and donate them.

QUEST: And even if Suitcases for Kids isn't available in your country, that old bag shouldn't end up on the heap. Find a local foster home or hostel and, for once, be pleased that you've left your luggage behind.

Banana cake and banana tea, this I've got to try.

With such beautiful beaches, many tourists get no further than the resorts where they stay, which is a great shame really because today's tourist really should get out and about. And here in Zanzibar, there really is quite a bit to do "From Sunrise to Sunset," including banana tea.

Variety is the spice of life. And in Zanzibar, there's plenty of both.

Let's start in Stone Town. There's plenty of ordinary souvenir stores, but as an ethical tourist, I want to find the right store. For instance, this shop, a cultural center that's run for the benefit of the local people.

This is a novel ethical souvenir I'm going to take home. It's a recycling hat made out of plastic bags.

A whiff of cloves, the scent of vanilla and a hint of chili, so many spices and all grown here in Zanzibar. Oh.

There's plenty of plantations to visit to experience this sensorial feast.

DARA ROSS (ph), PLANTATION OWNER (ph): This is the cloves. Obviously, you must go up the tree and pick them like this and then we're doing like this. Then we spread them in the sun about one week, then goes black or dark brown. And they're the way you get them in England.

Cinnamon tree is the queen of the spice because from this tree we don't waste anything. We can use the bark of the tree, the roots and even the leaves. The bark for the spices and roots for medicine. And the roots smells like tiger balm.

QUEST: So-so spices, but what about lipstick.

ROSS (ph): This is for the ladies. When you open inside, and inside there are seeds like this. And the seeds like this, women of Zanzibar, when squeezing like this. After squeezing them, then this produces the color. And the women, they put on their lips. And this we call Zanzibar lipstick rose.

QUEST: An authentic experience often means getting involved in local projects -- volunteering. Becoming a temporary volunteer is called traversal (ph). So make sure you do your research and chose the charity or project properly.

PETER DE BOER, (ph): Most of your live you just want to do something for somebody else. So I decided this is my year, this is the moment. And now I'll do something for somebody else. Also, what's really nice is like the diversity of work. We paint walls. We teach. We gather rubbish at the beach. It's really cool.

QUEST: Ultimately, it's your hotel that will have taken most of your money. So here, make sure it's somewhere that's doing good in the community, like the Matemwe Retreat. 80 percent of the staff here are employed from Matemwe Village up the road. Hotel profits are contributed to a new school. And foundations have been laid for a clinic the villagers say is badly needed.

INGO SPELTER (ph): We give opportunity to the guest. If someone is interested in supporting the local education, he can really see what we are doing. He can walk there. He can communicate with the locals, get a bit involved, understand it better. And even if they want to contribute more, they have a better feeling understanding what they are doing, for example, the turtle project.

QUEST: Turtles -- now this is something to be seen. Tourist trails have trampled on turtle nests.

Chiroco (ph) is a villager in charge of a project which, so far, has rescued 40,000 eggs. By his watchful eye, the eggs are safe to hatch.

Choosing a hotel with strong ethics may seem like a ton of hassle. But with payoffs like this it's worth every ounce.

And that's CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER for this month. I'm Richard Quest in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

We can do some good as we travel. Perhaps it starts with that little envelop on the plane.

Wherever your travels may take you, I hope it's profitable. And remember the old rule -- take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. And I'll see you next month.

END