The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries. In 2016, the tourism industry’s global economic contribution was over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars. Yet, according to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program), for every $100 spent by a tourist on a holiday to a developing country, only $5 remain in the host community. That’s a tourism leakage of 95%! With the new year here and new adventures to plan, consciously considering the social, economic, cultural and environmental impact on destinations visited has never been more important.
This year, make your adventures count by choosing unique, community tourism focused trips that support sustainable development. As always, it can be tricky to find trusted, respectable and fun adventures abroad that keep your values of sustainability and social good in mind. That’s why we’ve made it easy by choosing 6 of our favorite community tourism organizations positively impacting humans, animals and the planet.
At Operation Groundswell, you’re not just a backpacker, you’re a backpactivist, redefining what it means to travel like a local and give back while abroad. Specialising in adventure and volunteer travel, packed with education based on your choice of destination, Operation Groundswell is the ideal choice for young travelers with a passion for social good. Explore gender and religion issues while backpacking through North India, or learn the secrets of the sacred valley in Peru. Operation Groundswell currently offers programs in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America.
With a belief that the travel industry can be one of the world’s leading industries for social good, GOOD Travel promotes and facilitates trips combining all our values in sustainability. From carbon offsetting their guides and donating to local charities on every trip, to partnering with tourism businesses that take pro-environmental action, this small group, impact travel organization has got you covered for all things social good while adventuring through exciting destinations such as Peru, Fiji or the Congo! GOOD Travel is currently offering 5 trips throughout 2018, with 12 countries on their list for personalized itineraries.
This online booking platform connects travelers with local and sustainable experiences around the world. Lokal Travel works with hand selected family-run businesses, community cooperatives and social enterprises doing good, allowing every adventure you take to positively impact the local community. With experiences in over 18 countries, including remote ecolodges in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity (!), to experiencing family-owned homestays in the Himalayas of Nepal, Lokal makes it easy to connect with the most unique and memorable experiences, helping you travel more responsibility and empower local entrepreneurs.
Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is a for-purpose travel and event company sharing the power of volunteerism through immersive and one of a kind volunteer opportunities. They offer immersive service experiences through Travel excursions and Corporate events. Whether you’re traveling or staying closer to home, HFDG provides everything volunteers need to get involved: planning, access to worthwhile charities and causes, accommodations and, of course, fun. Through travel and immersion, you are challenged to to step out of your comfort zone to learn, grow and try new things.2 Have Fun Do Good participants are exposed to new people, experiences and locations during organized volunteer projects throughout the country. This type of exposure is a crucial factor in developing volunteers, civic leaders and change-makers.
This wildlife and community tourism organization empowers local entrepreneurs working in the tourism industry by leading trips to Tanzania during the off-season. Off-Season Adventures is all about creating memorable experiences for their travelers, while allowing them to stay true to their values in sustainability. Every trip taken with Off-Season Adventures is carbon offset, with a percentage of revenue donated to communities surrounding the accommodation facilities visited, assisting with water and waste management, electricity and education resources, and health services. Tanzania’s off-season runs from March to May, where the country takes a huge dip in tourism but yet, has so much to offer during this time. With Off-Season Adventures, choose from pre-set itineraries filled with culture and wildlife, or customize your own adventure while exploring the gorgeous country without the mass crowds of tourists.
Cuba Curious? Good Trip specialises in people-to-people trips through one of the most vibrant islands in the Caribbean with a focus on experiencing local culture, understanding financial, political and ecological interests, and protecting destination areas. Good Trip has also just launched their trips to Panama and Guatemala, featuring their Spanish immersion program, allowing travelers a unique experience to connect with community, culture and language studies. Whether you are looking to zipline through national parks, walk ancient foot trails over active volcanoes, or connect with local artists, Good Trip has got you covered.
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