Responsible travel is about doing business properly, not just supporting charities. However, we are firm believers that travellers and tour operators should put something back into the communities they visit. Many of the people we work with share this ethos and more than 40% of our ground agents are also involved with local charitable causes.
When it comes to finding worthwhile causes and initiatives overseas, it is our tour leaders and agents who have the passion and knowledge to find the projects that really make a difference. Last year we wanted to help our leaders support the causes that they feel strongly about, so we ran the ‘Responsible Tourism Project Competition’. This was open to all tour leaders and agents around the world and allowed them to nominate a project, charity or initiative that they felt deserved our support. We donated money to the top three charities who we felt could benefit long-term from our help.
We also currently sponsor many other projects which you too can support. In addition, on many tours it may be possible to visit a school or local project. Over the years we have helped many local communities with small but important projects such as building a community hall for our porters’ village in Peru, supporting disaster relief following the earthquakes in Pakistan and Gujarat, and providing a threshing machine for a village in Cambodia. Following the 2004 tsunami, Explore, its staff, customers and friends raised over £28,000 and sent over 8,000kgs of supplies to the affected areas.