Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ll know the travel industry is continuing to grow exponentially. Rewind even just 10 years, and travel has gone from being a pipe dream for many to being much more accessible. From luxury resorts popping up in remote island destinations, more young people choosing to travel, volunteering opportunities and study abroad programs – more and more remote destinations have been put on the map. But with increased tourism comes increased impact. Not only does the toll on our natural resources increase, but every brand-new must-see destination becomes at risk of over tourism – and that directly impacts the local communities.
So what can we do to ensure sustainable tourism? Being conscious in your choices as a traveller can not only massively downsize the negative effects, but can also leave positive impacts long after you’ve left. For us, making sure your money remains in the community once you’ve left is the most important part of how we do this. This means staying in locally owned accommodation, using local guides and eating in local restaurants. The aim is to give our guests the experience of a lifetime, while putting your cash in the places that need it most – combining real living experiences with the ultimate in activities, comfort and value for money. When this means visiting somewhere that isn’t locally owned, we strictly work only with businesses that share the same values as us – those who work hard and fast to benefit their local community and are dedicated to helping improve their local area.
When you travel with us you’ll fall in love with some of these communities and see just why we feel so strongly about working with them to help where we can. If you’ve visited the Philippines with us you’ll have met Boboy and his incredible family. Boboy is our boat captain and not only does he show us the most epic island hopping/camping adventure but he is also heavily involved with our school visits and is the reason our donations can have such an impact. If you get really lucky, you might be able to catch him coaching the local basketball team (aptly named One Life – obviously the best name in the league!). We sponsor them and provide their jerseys so they can play against other teams in the island. And of course, animals are part of the community too. We recently started raising money and working with a local animal welfare organisation to provide free spay/neuter and anti-rabies events for local animals, in May this year we provided free operations and medicine to almost 100 dogs and cats!
If you’ve travelled with us in Sri Lanka, you’ll have met Chandi. Another absolute legend, Chandi runs a homestay where she provides some of the best cuisine Sri Lanka has to offer and she is the epitome of hospitality. Her restaurant is tucked away, located behind a main road where lots of new restaurants are being built so it can be very hard for travellers to find. Her food is from the heart and made with so much love, our guests don’t stop raving about it for the entire trip. In the time we’ve spent working with Chandi we’ve seen her business flourish and expand as a direct result of the extra income and the reviews our guests go out of their way to leave her because they adore her and her food.