Niarra Travel Appoints Lindsey Walter as Managing Director

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London-based tour operator Niarra Travel has officially appointed Lindsey Walter as Managing Director, effective immediately. Walter has been serving as Acting Managing Director since October 2023, guiding the company through a crucial phase in its development.

As a co-founder of Niarra, Lindsey has played a pivotal role in shaping the business since its inception during the Covid pandemic. With over 20 years of experience in tourism and hospitality, Lindsey has spent 14 years with Oppenheimer Generations where she managed global hospitality sales and marketing for the award-winning conservation project,  Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa, before moving into a role with its parent company Nianova Advisors as Head of Commercial Development. It was in that capacity that Lindsey co-developed both Niarra Travel and Weeva Limited.

Driven by the UNWTO statistic that only US$5 of every US$100 spent by tourists in developing countries remains in the destination, Lindsey and her colleagues founded Niarra Travel with a mission to promote responsible and sustainable tourism. Niarra aims to shift the narrative, highlighting the significant role of transparency and fair value exchange in the tourism industry.

Lindsey states: “Choosing property partners and service providers committed to sustainability is vital, but equally crucial, if not more so,  is ensuring transparency and fair profit distribution thereby reducing extraction and leakage in tourism dollars and ensuring more funds remain in the destination.”

Niarra Travel’s business model focuses on transparent and equitable contracting with product partners, ensuring a larger share of profits stays in the destination. Since its inception in September 2020 Niarra has left in the region of £400k in Africa, which in a more traditional tour operator model would have left the continent and become part of the chain that sells trips to Africa. This showcases that tour operators can prioritise both purpose and profit and that tangible sustainability is something that both tour operators and hospitality providers can and must do in tandem.

Lindsey says: “The industry needs to think innovatively because donating a percentage of profits annually as a matter of philanthropy or charity is simply not enough on its own to drive sustainable tourism at the rate at which is needed to see real impact and change. While these are still incredibly important economic drivers for tourism and conservation, real sustainability means systemic change and challenging the way we think about doing business so that less money leaves the destination in the first place. This is not our USP, it is simply our way of doing business and is central to our own sustainability philosophy.”

Comments from three of Niarra Travel’s partners

Asilia“Niarra Travel’s innovative, positive impact focussed, business model, enables us to increase substantially the Asilia Giving donation generated by each booking. With no money wasted on administrative costs, this means more money for conservation and local community projects across East Africa. Whilst enjoying an unforgettable safari, Niarra Travel clients can also be sure their investment is having maximum positive impact.”

andBeyond and Africa Foundation – “Africa Foundation and andBeyond are proud and privileged to be a partner to Niarra Travel. Through their approach, they provide consistent long-term investments, which enable our work with communities and in conservation to continue, and they spread the message that travel, done right, can have a major positive impact on the protection of conservation areas and empowerment of rural communities.”

The Safari Collection – “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Niarra, whose unwavering support goes beyond ‘business as usual’. Together, we embark on a journey of leaving a positive impact on communities and wildlife , intertwined with the ethos of sustainability. Our collaboration signifies a shared commitment to shaping a brighter future for generations to come, acknowledging the profound impact our choices today hold for tomorrow.”

Niarra Travel aims to inspire other tour operators by demonstrating that tourism can be both transformative and responsible when purpose and profit are balanced.

Arnold Meyer, CEO of Nianova Advisors and Chairman of Niarra Travel, says, “Lindsey’s extensive experience and innovative approach, combined with her strong business relationships, position her as a forward-thinking leader. We are confident she will continue to drive Niarra as a disruptive force in the tourism industry, delivering exceptional, life-changing experiences for guests.”09


First published at – Global Travel News