Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and a major source of income for many countries around the world. However, if left unchecked, tourism development poses a risk to the biologically diverse natural habitats and indigenous cultures of a destination.
Being aware of these impacts has led many tour operators, including Explorandes, to seek ways to leave only positive impacts on the environment, society, and economy of the places they operate. Tourism should, and must, be sustainable.
But, what does sustainable tourism actually mean? Let´s explore it.
What does sustainable tourism mean?
According to UNESCO, sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment”. In other words, it seeks to provide tourists with an exciting and educational adventure that is also benefitting the people of the host country.
Two important aspects, or pillars, of any sustainable tourism initiative are economic sustainability and social sustainability.
When travelers are aware of their environmental impact, as well as their impact on the local culture, they can then take actions that support the local economy. Two such ways travelers can do this is by purchasing local products and using local services as they travel.
From the operator perspective, sustainable tourism includes an element of involving the locals in the tourism industry so that they too can gain financially from visiting tourists. One example of this is through the development of homestay programs in local communities.
The social aspect of sustainable tourism pays special attention to human rights and increased opportunity for all members of society. While economic sustainability promotes the idea that tourism profits be kept within the local community, social sustainability deals with the distribution of these profits. The emphasis is on preventing the exploitation of one group or society for the financial gain of another.
Explorandes Commitment to Sustainable Tourism
At Explorandes, we are strongly committed to social development and preserving the environment. For this reason, we have developed three projects with native communities in Amaru, Umasbamba (in the Sacred Valley) and Llachón (in Puno). We invite you to experience life in these communities, share in their traditions and culture, and support them in this alternative, and better, way.
Explorandes offers treks to a variety of destinations, including the Inca Trail, Choquequirao and Rainbow Mountain, all of which are infused with a sustainability focus. To learn more about our commitment to sustainability as well as our tour offerings, please contact us.