If you are lucky enough to go on a trip to Africa, be prepared to have the adventure of a lifetime. There are no shortages of breathtaking landscapes, wildlife safaris and formidable mountains to climb and explore.
But sometimes those adventures come with a high price tag and local communities and environments get depleted or exploited as a result.
At Fair Voyage, social and environmental responsibility and ethical tourism is not merely a part of our business, it is the core. We have made it our mission to provide conscious travellers with life-changing and unforgettable ethical tours that have a positive impact on local communities around the world.
Why ethical tourism is at the heart of everything we do
Tourism is a powerful vehicle for economic growth and job creation all over the world, but it can also contribute to the exploitation of local people and the degradation of their environment.
In Tanzania, one of the main tourist attractions is climbing Kilimanjaro. It is the team of porters, guides and cooks that make such a journey possible. The problem is that many of the porters and guides are subjected to poor working conditions and often receive inadequate meals and equipment to climb the mountain. In some cases, they are not given the tents, sleeping bags or warm clothing that they will need while they are on the mountain. There have also been cases where sick or injured porters are not given the medical care they need.
In the most extreme circumstances, some of the porters have been left to die on the mountain and are quickly replaced by other porters who are then subjected to similar conditions.
Lack of pay is another problem that many porters face. Porters may need to bribe their guide to get the opportunity to work as a porter in the first place and even once they get the job, they are paid only few dollars a day for their work. They often then get cheated out of the tips by their guides who receives the tip left by well-intended tourists on the porters behalf.
At Fair Voyage we strictly only work with suppliers that pay their porters and staff teams fairly. This is one of the reasons our tours are slightly more expensive than other companies. As a result, porters are compensated fairly for their work and travelers get a much better – and safer – experience as a consequence.
Our mission is to ensure that the suppliers we work with treat their staff members and local teams fairly. All of the guides and porters that work on our trips receive the support, equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
How does ethical tourism benefit travelers?
Ensuring guides and porters are treated fairly means they will have the support they need to make it possible for you to have a safer, better quality trip. They are also more likely to prioritize your wellbeing over the prospect of earning a tip. For example, if you are climbing Kilimanjaro, they are unlikely to pressure you to get to the summit if the altitude is detrimental to your health.
Conversely, guides who are treated poorly are more likely to prioritize their tips and earnings over your safety.
Booking an adventure with an ethical travel company will open up a whole new world of experiences for you and make it easier to build meaningful and memorable connections with people from all over the world.
If you enjoyed this blog about ethical tourism, you may also enjoy our other blog: ‘How to tell whether your Kilimanjaro tour operator is ethical‘. To find out more information about booking ethical Kilimanjaro tours visit our Kilimanjaro Content Library.
For more information and context on the challenges facing the travel industry, you may also like to read the following article published on Medium ‘5 reasons why the travel industry isn’t (yet) sustainable‘.