A little about how we are trying to put back in...
Tourism is a very tricky subject and one that is constantly debated around the world. Is air travel the reason for the global warming crisis that we are in? Is tourism to remote communities destroying the fabric of their society and losing traditions forever? Can tourism be used as a force for good in developing nations and provide regular income and jobs for the local communities?
All of these questions, and many more, are at the heart of the issue and rarely, if ever, is there an obvious answer. What works well in one country around the world today, may not work at all in its neighbour. One thing, having traveled many miles around the world and seen tourism both at its best and at its worst, that The South America Specialists firmly believe is that, if those that are traveling are open to being absorbed by their destination rather than trying to impose themselves on it, then travel can really work.
There is absolutely nothing like the education that witnessing another culture and community gives, and the potential to learn out of these experiences is priceless. With this in mind, we carefully select all of the lodges and destinations that we sell and will only do so if they conform to certain criteria, such as community awareness, sustainability and a code of conduct. On the whole, we prefer to use companies and properties that are smaller and so really manage themselves and their impact.
On top of this, on coming across certain charities in Africa and South America, we have committed to donating a percentage of our profits per year to charities working in areas that we feel are to the benefit of these continents, to help them get onto a global standing, without sucking the life blood from the earth. Please see a few examples of local organisations we work with:
The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund
For every client we send to Patagonia we commit a donation of $25 to the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund. The Fund works to ensure that the Park will be a destination that we can all enjoy in the future. 100% of donations to the Fund are allocated as grants to local projects in Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales working on trail restoration, reforestation and community development efforts.
The LATA Foundation
As a contributing member of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) we are also an active participator in their many charitable and communal activities which include rainforest regeneration in Costa Rica, dental care for children in Argentina amongst many others. For more information please visit their web site.
Although we contribute through many of the properties that are based in Africa to conservation, we are also very aware that the future for the people of Africa is also in realising a system that allows them to help themselves. Farm Africa is, we feel, very much ash this at its heart and so are proud to send funding to them on behalf of ourselves and our clients. For more information please visit their web site.
We have recently started working with Responsible Travel, an organisation who promote only responsible tourism. Hosted on their site, are a few of our favourite itineraries across Africa and South America, that have been put together using carefully selected eco-friendly camps and lodges.
Across the national parks and game reserves in Africa and South America, the camps and hotels we have chosen treat local people with respect and fairness. They respect the traditional and pastoral values, livelihoods and grazing areas; believe that the conservation can pay and bring benefit to the local communities; and support an inclusive workplace that promotes diversity. This pays back, because well cared for locals let you get closer to their culture, their people and their nature… Everyone is happy!
Sustainability is also a big part of Responsible Travel. It’s inspiring how remote camps and hotels are becoming so dedicated to long-term sustainability, and we feel their commitment should be boasted to the world. As well as protecting the environment with solar panels and waste management systems, they recognise that wildlife and livestock can and need to co-exist with managed regional grazing, and work towards supporting wildlife and research programmes in the local area. For more information, please see their web site.
**For more information about us and what other benefits and protections you have please click here.**