Hospitality industry employees don’t often receive a place to stay as a benefit that comes with accepting a particular job, but those who work in Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat have the option of staying in an accommodation that could positively influence the industry at large.
Stanley Tollman, Chairman of The Travel Corporation, and Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection are seeking to improve the life of hotel employees by giving them a safe place to live that features a community atmosphere, plus the chance for career advancement. The project is called the BK Family Village. It was built in 1995, but has recently undergone significant improvements.
It isn’t a surprise that this project has caught the attention of several people in South Africa and beyond. Notable people include Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and Helen Zille, the Premier of the Western Cape of South Africa. Both individuals have been vocal about their support of the project.
The fact that the BK Family Village is seeking to improve the livelihoods of hotel employees by providing housing is being hailed as a unique effort, and the charitable aspect should also resonate strongly with inbound campaigns such as travel podcasts and social media promotions.
Hotel employees work in a remote area within the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa’s Western Cape. Although it’s renowned for beauty, residents sometimes sacrifice being part of a community, especially if one member of a family leaves to earn an income while other relatives stay at home.
The tight-knit nature of the BK Family Village makes it possible for families to stay together while simultaneously supporting themselves. In total, 126 people live there, and 71 are employees.
Residents can take advantage of several housing upgrades like fully furnished rooms, new carpeting, more bathrooms, and a nursery for children. Solar heating geysers were also installed, following Bushmans Kloof’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Residents will also have access to fresh produce grown in community gardens.
People who stay in the BK Family Village will also be able to cultivate their desires to learn and continually advance their careers. The facility features high-speed Internet access and a library. Learning can begin an early age, since the nursery features engaging resources to stimulate a young person’s curiosity.
These enhancements naturally fit with Beatrice and Stanley Tollman’s ongoing educational outreaches, which include schooling for about 270 children through kindergarten to seventh grade, courtesy of funding from the Tollman Family Trust. This initiative allows school-aged kids to interact with peers while receiving formal education.
The Village also features a community meeting hall with space for up to 80 residents. While there, people can do things like watch a sports game on a flat-screen television, attend a church service, or enjoy a performance from Bushmans Kloof’s award-winning choir. Trees have also been planted in the exterior gathering areas to give people a shaded and pleasant place to spend time with others.
The Tollman’s are certainly doing their part to provide a beneficial place for employees, and if other industry leaders follow suit, that could cause a wave of change for South African staff accommodations, as well as facilities located elsewhere.