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Friday, July 19, 2024

Community-based tourism: Authentic experiences on holiday

Flying halfway around the world by plane and then have cocktails served to you while you lounge by the pool is no longer “fashionable” or can be enjoyed in good conscious. In times of flight shame and climate change, a long journey should most certainly be worthwhile and meaningful. And this is exactly what community-based tourism stands for: the inhabitants share their country and their lives while travellers have the opportunity to take on social and ecological responsibility while also taking part in authentic experiences.

Sustainable travel is a give and take: experiences and encounters on the one hand, opportunities to preserve the culture, flora and fauna on the other. We search for authentic experiences when we travel, so we should also help to preserve this authenticity.

All of our partners support their local communities and social projects. It is especially nice when guests can also participate in these projects and experience the hospitality of the local people themselves – who also benefit from community-based tourism. They help decide how tourism develops and also have an additional source of income.

Homestays in India and unspoilt nature

For those who want a truly authentic experience of the Assam tea region and the culture of India, the Wild Mahseer in the eastern Himalayas will gladly organise one or more nights with a host family. At the homestays in the small communities, guests can not only explore the village, but also enjoy the delicious homemade cuisine, help with chores around the farm or try their hand at traditional handicrafts. Travellers can immerse themselves in the local culture and exchange ideas with the local people, while the communities of Mishing, Nysishi and Garo in turn have access to another reliable source of income.

Thailand: Extraordinary experiences to remembered forever

Thailand is one of the most popular and most visited destinations in Asia. Community-based tourism is not only good for the country, but also benefits travellers fleeing mass tourism. Thailand is known for its impressive biodiversity and lush green landscapes. A homestay is a great way to discover them and experience the life of the local people in a genuine way: Holidaymakers can learn to cook traditional Thai dishes, help create artisanal handicrafts or even accompany fishermen in their daily routines.

Organisations such as “Local Alike” work hand in hand with local people. Residents offer a wide variety of activities, from working on a mangrove farm to seafood dinner on a boat. The prices are set by the local provider, “Local Alike” receives only a small handling fee. Every tour, every experience contributes to the preservation of culture and nature and directly supports the communities.

Food for school children at the Zeavola Resort

The Thai Zeavola Resort invites all guests to visit the local Baan Laem Tong school and help with serving meals. Every Friday, the Zeavola staff cook for students and teachers. The project is financed by the hotel and its guests who donate up to €3,000 a year. Around 40 students come from a small Moken village just five minutes from the Eco-Resort. The Moken, also known as sea nomads, are very grateful for the support of the resort as food and funds are often scarce due to the remote location. Those who help here can get to know life on Phi Phi Island from a different perspective.

Holidays in the Berber homeland

The Kasbah du Toubkal is situated at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in Northern Africa. And it’s not a hotel in the traditional sense, but rather an invitation into the home of the Berbers who run it. The local community and the hotel guests should always have the chance to benefit equally. For guests, a stay at the Kasbah du Toubkal offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the Berber culture and lifestyle. 95 % of the employees come from villages in the region, and 80 % from within a distance of 2 kilometres. This is what sets the the Moroccan hotel in the Atlas Mountains apart from many others.

The Imlil Village Association – financed by a five percent overnight surcharge – supports local projects. A school for 80 children in a remote valley, for whom it would otherwise be impossible to attend school, has already been built. Other examples include financing a waste disposal system and making the first ambulance and driver in the area possible. The “Education for All”project particularly supports young, disadvantaged girls and gives them the opportunity to complete school and go to university.

Eco Luxury and Nature Experiences in Peru

The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is located in the Cusco region which brings together a diverse offering of unique natural experiences, social responsibility, guided excursions and a range of cultural activities. We highly recommend an excursion to Cusco Centre for Traditional Textiles: here, the employees showcase how wool is spun, naturally dyed and then woven into a wide variety of textiles. The women here have a secure job with fair wages. Each of them is responsible for their own craft from the wool production to the sale and for a single poncho this can take up to three months – so keep this in mind when negotiating!

The Inkaterra Asociación conducts ecological research within the Inkaterra hotels, in which guests can also participate. Above all, the Inkaterra Guides Field Station is an enriching experience for nature lovers, researchers, students and volunteers and invites everyone to explore the Peruvian Amazon through interactive excursions. That way, the rainforest can’t be closer or more authentic.

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