What is Impact Tourism and why you should care?
If you love to travel and are longing to do it with a sense of purpose, you’ve come to the right place.
Though it’s always fun to end your latest adventure with a camera roll of Instagram-worthy shots and TikTok videos, impact tourism can make your trip even more memorable as it gives you that little push to create opportunities that drive positive impact while immersing yourself deeper into a culture that you’re already exploring. Here’s how you can contribute your time and unique talent by giving back to the local community all while creating authentic connections with locals.
What is impact travel?
Simply put, impact tourism is a type of tourism where travelers contribute time, talent and donations to economic, socio-cultural, and environmental endeavors. Focuses can include preserving nature, cultural environments and caring for the well-being of others.
Impact travel doesn’t mean committing all of your time and vacation days to philanthropy. Making a positive contribution can be as simple as skipping that fancy chain hotel and opting for a homestay so locals profit, or grabbing coffee at a neighborhood cafe over Starbucks. Here are some suggestions on how to start small when it comes to exploring more consciously.
A little goes a long way
Getting started is easy. Have some room in your suitcase? Squeeze in a couple of supplies for the kiddos at schools in need that you can donate to once you arrive. Research and connect with the communities in advance or seek out organizations that help you do so - like Pack for a Purpose. This non-profit’s mantra: Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact.
You can also get involved by focusing on community tourism which in a nutshell aims to ensure that tourism positively impacts the destinations that tourists frequent. By donating or working with companies like The Planeterra Foundation, an organization that supports community tourism by making sure travel dollars land in the pockets of those who actually inhabit the communities themselves we can strengthen community tourism around the world. In turn, economic opportunities are created, destinations are protected, and cultures are celebrated through travel.
Keeping in mind the environment
There’s no way around it - to travel internationally we need to take to the skies. But we can still help the planet when we adventure - both near and far.
As a general rule, the shorter the distance from home you travel, the lower your carbon footprint. Consider a domestic trip a few hours from home for a staycation. Find local, off the beaten track hikes and museums.
If you’re looking to go further, to more popular tourist destinations abroad, consider doing so outside peak summer months, and find homestays, local activities and guides in order to give back to residents rather than heading to tourist traps. And you don’t have to stay somewhere that’s eco-certified - consider farm stays that run off of solar power, serve their own fresh organic produce and employ locals.
And of course, transportation is such a big topic. Flying aside, let’s talk about other modes of transportation. When it comes to cars - the greater the number of passengers, the lower the carbon footprint per mile for each person. Some might also be shocked to learn that trains as a form of travel emit the lowest levels of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants, whether they are electric or diesel-powered.
There are endless ways to practice impact travel wherever you go. Simply being mindful of your adventures could create long-lasting, positive effects. Travel near, travel far, travel with a conscience - and don’t forget to bring Faye Travel Insurance along wherever you head to next.
These organizations are suggestions for ways to make an impact abroad. Faye is in no way associated with them or their mission. This post is meant to give you ideas and inspiration on ways to make a difference.