INDIGENOUS TOURISM: BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and to celebrate, we’re delving into the world of Indigenous tourism and how this can support the preservation of cultures and languages. Whether or not you’ve already read our introductory piece on this topic, we thought we’d set the scene by sharing some best practice examples of successful Indigenous tourism projects from around the world. We’ll then be sharing some of our favourite Indigenous ecotourism stories from our own backyard through the Ecotourism: Celebrating Language and Culture series. For more information on any of the below projects, check out their websites.

Ecotomarapi website.Bolivia

TOMARAPI Eco Tourist Lodge, Oruro Bolivia

The Suni Uta Choquemarka, an Aymara indigenous group, is located in the heart of the Sajama National Park (Bolivia’s first protected area). The construction of the Tomarapi Eco Tourist Lodge was done in harmony with the landscape, using materials that did not harm the environment, including unique details in the facilities so that travellers can enjoy necessary creature comforts in their adventure in the altiplano. Tomarapi has local guides that will introduce you to the community and their customs. This community is helping with the conservation of Sajama National Park while at the same time the lodge provides the community with economic alternatives to reduce the migration of families and continue conserving biodiversity.

Find out more: TOMARAPI Eco Tourist Lodge, Oruro Bolivia

kapawi ecolodge Ecuador 1

KAPAWI Ecolodge, Ecuador

Kapawi Ecolodge was built following ecotourism principles, inspired by the “natural history of the area, including its Indigenous cultures, whose areas have been adapted for this activity in a spirit of appreciation, participation, and responsibility”. When it opened in 1996, Kapawi Ecolodge set the standards for community ecotourism in Ecuador, promoting practices that protected wildlife, generated local employment and empowered local communities. Kapawi Ecolodge was built respecting Achuar construction styles and using building materials from the forest. Energy is generated 100% from solar photovoltaic panels, while local building materials are still used to preserve the Achuar style. Many lessons have been learned over the years, including the need to develop community enterprises to ensure that local materials, like leaves for the roofs, are farmed in local communities to reduce the pressure on natural resources from the forest.

Find out more: KAPAWI Ecolodge, Ecuador

Ximena Alvis.Comida Raramuri Mexico

EXPERIENCIAS RARAMURI, Chihuahua, Mexico

The Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) has been working for the last four years on a project funded by the Christensen Foundation and with two local organizations (CONTEC and Mano del Mono). The project includes two Indigenous communities, Huetosachi and Bacajipare, located near the rim of the spectacular Copper Canyon. The experiences offered to tourists here include participating in cooking and handicraft demonstrations with the women in Huetosachi and a variety of hikes and storytelling experiences in the canyon led by licensed guides from Bacajipare. One of the key lessons from this project has been the business model generation for tourism, focusing on the communities involved and taking the time to create with them their tourism experiences, negotiating with tour operators and respecting the culture and environment of the communities. The project has also attracted media, won several awards, and been chosen by the Chihuahua State Tourism Department as an outstanding example of responsible cultural tourism.

Find out more: EXPERIENCIAS RARAMURI, Chihuahua, Mexico

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.kenya1

THE SANCTUARY AT OL LENTILLE, Kenya

Opened in 2007 as Laikipia’s first lodge, The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille in Kenya features private villas and is a pioneering example of sustainable tourism, community partnership and world class architecture. The team, together with the local communities, has proudly created, conserved and protected over 40,000 acres of pristine wilderness.

Ol Lentille is a pioneering example of how private partnerships with the community can successfully work in Kenya. Tourism has greatly impacted and improved the lives of the local community with over 5 USD million being raised and invested in the community: building schools, hospitals and water sanitation projects. In partnership with the Maasai community, this project balances luxury travel and economic development with ambitious conservation and community development programmes.

Find out more: THE SANCTUARY AT OL LENTILLE, Kenya

Uganda community tourism

UGANDA COMMUNITY TOURISM ASSOCIATION (UCOTA), Uganda

UCOTA is the official umbrella body that brings together and advocates for the interests of community tourism groups in Uganda to ensure that the local tourist host communities benefit from tourism. To date, the association comprises over 70 member groups country-wide, representing 2,121 individuals of whom 63% are women. The groups operate small tourism enterprises ranging from traditional/ basic accommodation, interpretive guiding services and restaurants to craft shops, music dance and drama performances.

The impact of the community tourism group enterprises to the livelihoods of the locals is already manifesting through several community projects supported by the groups by way of responsible tourism, such as construction of clinics, schools, provision of safe water and literacy programs.

Find out more: UGANDA COMMUNITY TOURISM ASSOCIATION (UCOTA), Uganda

mulala.Tanzania

MULALA, Tanzania

The women of Mulala have united in the form of the Agape Women’s Group. Through this group, they try to support economic activities of the members and start new income generating projects, like the Mulala Cultural Tourism Programme.

The Mulala women offer different tours:

  • A tour of Mama Anna’s quaint cheese making unit.
  • A nice garden where you can relax and enjoy a beverage or a simple, traditional meal
  • Guided tours criss-crossing coffee and banana farms, walking through the forest reserve or by the Marisha riverbank and enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Also, you can visit the farms of the Agape Women’s Group. The women will explain their farming methods and show you the various economic activities they have started, like cheese making, bread-making, flower seeds, chill growing and sewing. 

Find out more: MULALA, Tanzania

3sister Adventure Trekking.Nepal

3 SISTERS ADVENTURE TREKKING, Nepal

Lucky, Dicky and Nicky Chhetri are three Nepalese sisters and pioneers in the field of female trekking guides. Since 1994, they have worked towards empowering women in Nepal through their trekking agency 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking and their NGO Empowering Women of Nepal. Entering an uncharted territory in the early ‘90s, no one would have dreamed of a Nepalese woman guiding a trek.

Breaking down social barriers, they created a training program through their NGO, Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN). This training program teaches local women the necessary skills for trekking and guiding. The success of these women has inspired others. Since 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking was established, close to 2,000 women from all over Nepal have completed the training. Many have become guides and/or gained self-confidence to find employment elsewhere. Their goal is to encourage women to become self-supported, independent, decision-making women.

Find out more: 3 SISTERS ADVENTURE TREKKING, Nepal

Sapa

SAPA O’CHAU, Vietnam

In 2010, Shu Tan, Founder, Sapa O’Chau started the Sapa O’Chau cooperative. This is the first boarding facility where youth could board and study at the government high school only located in town. Youth also learn English from international volunteers and get their tour guide licence after a course with an NGO.

Today, Sapa O’Chau runs on the same social enterprise principles on which it was founded: working hard and giving back to Sapa and all ethnic minorities. It is made up of five inter-connected pieces: the boarding facility, the hotel, café, the Hmong handicraft store and the tour operation. In 2016, Sapa O’Chau Travel won silver for World Responsible Tourism Award – Poverty Reduction and inclusion and a finalist for the Tourism for Tomorrow Award. The founder, Shu Tan, spoke at Ecotourism Australia’s 2017 Global Eco Conference in Adelaide.

Find out more: SAPA O’CHAU, Vietnam

 

Did you know?

If you want to get involved with Indigenous tourism in Australia, Ecotourism Australia offers a ROC Certification program. This program encourages the tourism industry to operate in ways that respect and reinforce Indigenous cultural heritage and the living cultures of Indigenous communities.

ROC certified tourism operators are committed to protecting cultural authenticity and integrity, developing sound business practices, environmental protection and acknowledging Indigenous people’s spiritual connection to the land and water.

 

A-Z OF EASY-TO-IMPLEMENT HOUSEHOLD SWAPS

Have you ever wanted to make a difference but not known where to start? You’re not alone. Thankfully, making a change through your everyday consumption, to reduce your impact and help the environment, is easier than you think. To give you some inspiration, we’ve created this quick A-Z reference guide on simple swaps that you can easily make in your everyday life. We’d love to hear if you’ve tried any!

Swap…

A – Aluminium foil for silicone baking mats

B – Body wash for a bar of soap. Often, these come package free!

Photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash

Photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash

C – (Takeaway) coffee cups for bringing your own mug or keep cup. Mason jars or insulated water bottles work well, too!

D – Diapers for cloth nappies

E – Electronics being on at the wall for 24 hours for electronics being switched off at the wall when you’re not using them

F – Food packaging for bulk foods. If you don’t live near a bulk foods store, purchasing (unpackaged) fresh fruit and veggies at your local market can also help you cut down on packaging.

G – Buying new gifts for considering regifting items that don’t suit you, and instead of buying gift wrap, try wrapping gifts using things you already have, like tote bags, scarves or newspapers.

H – Plastic hairbrushes or combs for wooden hairbrushes or combes

I – Paying too much for energy for insulating your home better

J – Buying jars to store food and other items for recycling jars you already have.

K – Your K-Cup coffee maker for a French press.

L – Your old lightbulbs for energy efficient bulbs and turn them off when you’re not using them

M – Conventional makeup for zero waste makeup. Here some recommendations.   

N – Chemical cleaning products for natural ones: make them or buy them, your choice.

O – Buying more for organising more – take inventory of what you already have and use it up before buying more.

Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

P – Swap paper plates and plastic cutlery for real plates and real flatware next time you have a picnic

Q – Wondering about your carbon footprint for quantifying your carbon footprint. Here is an easy way to do it.

R – Plastic bottles for reusable ones

S – Single-use tea bags for tea strainers

T – Plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones

U – Using everything once for reusing things that have served their original purpose. Here are some great ideas!

V – Meat for more veggies! Here are some ideas.

W – Throwaway plastic dish clothes for washable fabric ones

eat me first box from inhabitat.com

eat me first box from inhabitat.com

X – Food waste for checking eXpiry dates. Pay attention to them and put perishable fridge items in a triage box in your fridge.

Y – Plastic yoga mats for bamboo, hemp, jute, or natural rubber mats

Z – to a Zero Waste Lifestyle, make the change!

A LOVE FOR COUNTRY

It’s hard to remember what you were doing 15 years ago. You may have been travelling the world, starting on a new career path, or perhaps planning for retirement. What we do know, however, is that 15 years ago, the team at Kimberley Quest were achieving certification, and they have been a valued member of the Ecotourism Australia family ever since!

Kimberley Quest 8

Stemming from their recognition that travelers are seeking experiences beyond expectation, the Kimberley Quest team have worked to deliver exceptional experiences, time and time again. A Kimberley Quest expedition not only showcases the pristine wilderness of the Kimberley region, but gives you one of the most authentic Australian experiences you’ll ever find. The team has recently received an array of awards at the WA Tourism Awards for this exact reason, including Gold in the category of Tour and Transport Operator, silver for the Unique Accommodation category and bronze for Adventure Tourism. On top of that, along with mentioning the tours’ exceptional settings, Kimberley Quest’s reviews will consistently note the dedication of the crew and their absolute love for country that makes the experience second to none:

“All staff are world class. The group size and staff ratio to guests was spot on.  The delicate balance between safety and adventure was achieved. The willingness to share in a love of country was exceptional.  On top of all that, the meals were deliciously decadent without being pretentious.” (Nina H, June 2018)

Kimberley Quest 2

The Kimberley Quest experience captures and highlights significant environmental awareness through local expedition guides, who share the history, culture, flora, fauna and marine environment with their guests. Living and breathing the common principle of “take only photos, leave only footprints”, the whole Kimberley Quest crew enhances guests’ experiences through providing everlasting knowledge and tools that encourage respect for and protection of the natural environment and culture. It’s this strong team that Kimberley Quest sees as its biggest asset, and it seems that their guests could not agree more:

“A well oiled machine’ would describe your company!! You have a formula that is a winner so keep doing what you are. For us this has been the most magnificent, amazing, awesome experience with a group of people who love the Kimberley and have taught us so much. Also their friendliness and sense of humour made it that much better.” (Judy & Glenn S – May 2018)

Without the crew’s profound love and knowledge of country, the Kimberley Quest experience would not be able to be delivered so consistently. Team members work closely with local Aboriginal corporations, parks and wildlife rangers and Indigenous rangers to ensure cultural heritage is respected and presented to guests through storytelling.

Kimberley Quest 4

With business practices that align so well with certification criteria, it is no wonder Kimberley Quest have maintained Advanced Ecotourism certification for 15 years. We would like to congratulate them on their continuous work in providing exceptional experiences and sharing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Australia. We are so delighted to see people who are truly passionate about what they do and who hold such respect for their country and culture receive such success and acclaim in the industry.   

To find out more about Kimberley Quest visit their website or facebook

What do they offer? Take a look through their online brochure

How sustainable procurement can benefit the tourism industry

Many hotels are now demonstrating how sustainable procurement – securing goods and services in a way that achieves value for money for the organisation while also benefiting society and minimising impact on the environment – is helping to reduce their costs. UN Environment has provided a set of case studies to show how corporate buyers have […]

Balancing Tourism and Sustainability across Asia

“Closing beaches that have been overused wouldn’t need to happen today if yesterday there had been proper planning and execution of sustainable policies, plus enforcement of existing laws relating to waste management,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “The good news is that there is positive movement. The bad news is that much needs to be […]

The post Balancing Tourism and Sustainability across Asia appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).