5 Meaningful Voices In The Push For Responsible Tourism

From carbon emissions to the exploitation of land, tourism can be highly detrimental to the environment and local cultures. Committed to engaged, responsible travel in countries around the world, the groups and individuals listed here provide information, services, and unique excursions that advance sustainability while abroad. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 People and Groups Promoting Eco-Conscious Traveling

Name Description
Quasar Expeditions Provides unique, environmentally-friendly travel experiences in South America, including at the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu
The Responsible Tourism Partnership Works to support the development of responsible and sustainable tourism businesses and initiatives
Basecamp Explorer Operates a collection of destinations across the globe - from Kenya to Norway - in an enlightened and responsible way, supporting projects like reforestation and waste management
A Little Adrift A site run by Shannon O’Donnell, it focuses on slow, local-level grassroots travel and connecting to cultures through food and service, among other things
Volcanoes Safaris Revives gorilla and chimpanzee tourism in Uganda and Rwanda, offering luxury lodges that are sensitive to local culture and aesthetics and connect to the local community

Basecamp Explorer's Sustainable Tourism

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The Conservation Efforts of Volcanoes Safaris

In Depth

Traveling abroad has long been an immensely popular activity, but observers around the world have raised concerns about exploitative and environmentally damaging forms of tourism. In response, many companies and organizations promote alternative adventure options, designed to preserve natural habitats and empower communities within host countries. In no particular order, here are five resources for ethical world travelers.

Leading us off at #1 is Quasar Expeditions, a provider of high-end travel experiences that support conservation efforts in the regions that its guests explore. With sustainable facilities for lodging, and experienced naturalists acting as guides for wildlife encounters and nature excursions, this company helps travelers visit rich ecosystems and vibrant cultures while minimizing environmental impact.

Quasar's travel offerings include a cruise through the Galapagos Islands inspired by Charles Darwin's voyage, an exploration of Incan ruins in Peru, and wildlife safaris in Patagonia. The company helps fund conservation partners including Galapagos Conservancy, an organization protecting wildlife within the famed archipelago, and the reforestation group Carbonfund. Quasar's blog shares travel tips and ecological news about the regions where its excursions take place.

Quasar's blog shares travel tips and ecological news about the regions where its excursions take place.

Following up at #2 is The Responsible Tourism Partnership, dedicated to promoting forms of recreational travel that enhance the well-being of the people and ecosystems in destination regions. This organization provides advising services to the World Travel Market on initiatives such as the World Responsible Tourism Awards, for which RT founder Harold Goodwin chairs the judges' panel.

RT works to raise awareness of issues like the strain of excessive tourism on popular destinations, or the ecological dangers faced by important natural locations around the world. The organization also assists with initiatives such as the cultural enrichment touring program within Uganda's Bwindi National Park. RT shares informational resources on topics such as the environmental impacts of irresponsible tourism, or travel businesses that empower local economies.

At #3 on the list is Basecamp Explorer, which offers travel opportunities in scenic natural areas, while partnering with local inhabitants for conservation and economic development. The company's wildlife safaris in Kenya, featuring high-end wilderness accommodations, support the Mara Naboisho Conservancy in protecting the region's threatened species. Meanwhile, Basecamp Explorer's outdoor adventures, and rustic lodges, in Norway's Svalbard archipelago help fund a nature reserve and various sustainability initiatives.

The company's wildlife safaris in Kenya, featuring high-end wilderness accommodations, support the Mara Naboisho Conservancy in protecting the region's threatened species.

Along with its environmental efforts, Basecamp Explorer creates economic opportunities for residents of its programs' destination regions. Initiatives like the Basecamp Maasai Brand of traditional Kenyan handicrafts, or Arctic dog sledding expeditions led by Svalbard hunters, enable locals to profit from their skills and knowledge. The company's programs also foster cultural and scientific learning, with offerings such as traditional campfire storytelling and visitations to a historic Russian settlement.

Entry #4 is A Little Adrift, a resource from global traveler Shannon O'Donnell that offers advice on making meaningful, mutually beneficial connections through journeying abroad. The project shares guides to destinations from Croatia to Thailand, including regional overviews, detailed examinations of cultural practices, and slice-of-life stories. Many entries also wrestle with questions of ethics in tourism and how locals can benefit from visitors.

A Little Adrift promotes travel as an opportunity for genuine engagement with others, and a means to give back to communities within destination countries. The project provides information on supporting socially responsible ventures, with articles highlighting beneficiaries of microfinance efforts, and discussing ethical options for tourist experiences. O'Donnell also operates A Little Adrift's sister organization, Grassroots Volunteering, a database of community-based service opportunities and social enterprises.

O'Donnell also operates A Little Adrift's sister organization, Grassroots Volunteering, a database of community-based service opportunities and social enterprises.

Closing out our list is #5, Volcanoes Safaris, offering eco-tourism at primate habitats in Uganda and Rwanda. Visitors stay in luxury lodges while taking guided treks to view wildlife including chimpanzees and gorillas, or learning about facets of local culture such as tea cultivation or traditional dances. Through the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, guest stays help to fund community improvement projects and conservation efforts.

Among the benefits VSPT has helped bring to its host regions are a new village for a displaced indigenous tribe, a Women's Coffee Cooperative for vocational training and sustainable income, and a community eatery providing work experience for disadvantaged youths. The organization's Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project combines recreational travel with environmental stewardship, and its blog discusses responsible travel efforts in the area.