Tourism can and should be a force for local development and is a powerful tool for cross-cultural understanding.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), out of every 100 $ spent on vacation by a tourist from a developed country, only 5$ stays in the destination’s economy.
Many Western tourists come to developing countries to spend their time in a bus, with a Western tour guide, staying in Western-owned hotels and driving around to “see the country”. The tour operators are trying to create a Western environment, which defeats the entire purpose of going to another country in the first place. Local people aren’t benefiting in anyway from tourists. Instead, locals watch foreign companies use up massive amounts of natural resources to build their resort fortresses while the poeple living on the other side of the walls in some areas had no access to clean drinking water – not to mention their own coastal beaches. (“Looptail”, Bruce Poon Tip)
Social enterprises that bring underserved communities into the tourism value chain, and most of the time are giving back their profits to a Foundation arm to help even further the community (healthcare, education…).
- G Adventures (34,400+ people in 2016 benefited, 50 social enterprises)
- Reality Tour & Travel (India, 6,000 people impacted in 10 years, 80% profits to the community)
- Grassroutes (India, increase of 25% in annual family income, 1,000 households impacted)
- KOTO (Vietnam, 600 disadvantaged students trained, 100% profits to fund their education)
- Aviijatrik (Bangladesh, 1000 people impacted)
- Cayuga Collection (Costa Rica, 450 locals employed in 8 hotels, linked to a foundation)
- Azizi Life (Rwanda, 400 artisans, non-profit)
- The Skwachàys Lodge (Canada, 24 aborigines housed, 100% profits to the community)
- Mdumbi Backpackers (South Africa, shares held by local employees and the community)
- Sumba Hospitality Foundation (Indonesia, 39 students the first year)
- Magdas Hotel (Austria, 20 refugees)
Hospitality Social Entreprises
Social enterprise in the tourism industry, with 100% profits going to a foundation.
- The Fair Warung Balé (Indonesia, 60,000 free medical treatments per year, 100% profits to the foundation)
- Good Hotels (UK/Guatemala, 100% profits to NGO)
- Makabata Guesthouse and Café (Philippines, 100% profits for the protection of children)
- Hotel Birgkarhaus (Austria, 100% profits to Foundations)
- Eco-Logic Retreat (Thailand, 13 local employees, 100% profits go to children education)
Sustainable Tourism Platforms
Internet platforms connecting travelers who want to have an impact to community-based ecotourism organizations or tourism-related social enterprises.
G Adventures offers authentic adventure tours in a responsible and sustainable manner. All aspects of the tours are crafted to boost the local economy (meals, accommodation, handicrafts, transport, experiences) and sometimes include visit of social enterprises created by their NGO arm Planeterra. An annual contribution also goes to Planeterra.read more
Visit.org is an online platform to nonprofits and community-based travel organisations be found by travelers.read more
Tours in slums and local villages in India. 80% of the profits from the tours fund the company’s sister NGO Reality Gives which supports education programs for the slum and villages communities.read more