Aleney de win­ter ex­plores the emerg­ing trend of phi­lan­thro­tourism and the sim­ple steps we can take to raise a new gen­er­a­tion of re­spon­si­ble trav­ellers.

Holiday with Kids - - Contents -

Aleney de Win­ter ex­plores the emerg­ing trend of phi­lan­thro­tourism and the sim­ple steps we can take to raise a new gen­er­a­tion of re­spon­si­ble trav­ellers.

“Mummy, why aren’t you help­ing?” pleads my eight-year-old son as we pass a child beg­ging in a quiet cor­ner of Siem Reap, con­fused and con­cerned as to why his usu­ally char­i­ta­ble par­ents ap­pear to be turn­ing their backs on a clearly needy child. It’s a good ques­tion and one that de­serves a good an­swer.

We ex­plain to our son that it’s nat­u­ral when we see a hun­gry child to want to help, but hand­ing over a cou­ple of dol­lars only helps us to al­le­vi­ate our own dis­com­fort and can be one of the most harm­ful things we can do for a child in the longer term. In fact, the au­thor­i­ties in coun­tries like Cam­bo­dia go as far as to re­quest that peo­ple avoid giv­ing hand-outs to kids be­cause it en­cour­ages them – and their par­ents – to be­lieve that beg­ging is a more lu­cra­tive op­tion than go­ing to school, set­ting them up for an even more dif­fi­cult fu­ture.

When my son asks what we can do to help, we head straight to the Angkor Hospi­tal for Chil­dren, where my hus­band and I donate blood, demon­strat­ing pos­i­tive ac­tion through use­ful aid to our chil­dren. Still, my son’s com­pas­sion is fired up and when his birth­day falls a few weeks later, he re­quests that in­stead of buy­ing presents, his friends donate to a Cam­bo­dian chil­dren’s char­ity that will use the money on projects that help kids out of the cy­cle of poverty they’re trapped in. Ev­ery­one is richer for it.

It is through acts as sim­ple and as small as these that we have be­gun in­tro­duc­ing our chil­dren to the con­cept of Phi­lan­thro­tourism.

Pro­fes­sor Sue Bee­ton, PHD and se­cond vice pres­i­dent of Travel & Tourism Re­search As­so­ci­a­tion ex­plains, “Phi­lan­thro­tourism is the idea of us­ing our re­sources and skills to put some­thing back into the com­mu­ni­ties we visit in a re­spon­si­ble, sus­tain­able and eth­i­cal way. It is about look­ing out­ward to see how we can make some­one else feel good, not about what makes us feel good.”

Travel from an early age teaches chil­dren an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for di­ver­sity, with­out the im­ped­i­ment of po­lit­i­cal or cul­tural bias. Prof Bee­ton adds, “Travel can in­stil a phil­an­thropic mind­set in chil­dren as it al­lows them to de­velop an un­der­stand­ing of their priv­i­lege.”

Phi­lan­thopy on tour

Carolyn Childs of My­trav­el­re­ be­lieves that tourism can in­flu­ence and change a com­mu­nity, and it is up to us as trav­ellers to en­sure that it is done in a way to ben­e­fit its mem­bers in sus­tain­able, use­ful ways.

“Do your re­search and re­ward com­pa­nies that do the right thing. One of the sim­plest ways for fam­i­lies to give back on their trav­els is to travel with tour com­pa­nies that have al­ready done the re­search and are sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ties with best prac­tice, longterm projects.”

G Ad­ven­tures un­der­stands the power of tourism for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. The com­pany’s founder, Bruce Poon Tip, says, “I be­lieve quite sim­ply, when done right, travel could be the great­est dis­trib­u­tor of wealth the world has ever seen and, I be­lieve, the fastest path to peace. At G Ad­ven­tures, we pro­vide sus­tain­able ex­pe­ri­ences by mak­ing sure as much money as pos­si­ble stays in des­ti­na­tion. By sim­ply be­ing con­scious of where their money is spent, trav­ellers can help pre­serve cul­tures, ed­u­cate chil­dren and al­le­vi­ate poverty”. G Ad­ven­tures’ non-profit part­ner, Plan­eterra, is com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing in pro­grams with start-up grants and ca­pac­ity train­ing to help some of the most un­der­re­sourced in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies gain ac­cess to and ben­e­fit from tourism. The com­pany has been of­fer­ing so­cial en­ter­prise ex­pe­ri­ences as part of its trips for a long time, in­clud­ing on its Fam­ily tours, which in­cor­po­rate vis­its to a G for Good project wher­ever pos­si­ble so fam­i­lies can ex­pe­ri­ence so­cial en­ter­prises first-hand, and con­nect with lo­cal peo­ple and cul­tures in a pos­i­tive way for all con­cerned.

Amanda Dun­ning, brand man­ager for Fam­ily tours at G Ad­ven­tures adds, “Teach­ing chil­dren to give back and travel re­spon­si­bly at a young age helps to cre­ate a new group of global cit­i­zens, who are en­gaged and want to make the world a bet­ter place.”

In­trepid Travel is an­other op­er­a­tor work­ing to sup­port lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions and tackle im­por­tant com­mu­nity is­sues across the world, from con­ser­va­tion and wildlife pro­tec­tion, to ed­u­ca­tion, health care and hu­man rights. Dyan Mckie, In­trepid Travel fam­ily prod­uct man­ager says, “The val­ues of giv­ing back and con­nec­tion to com­mu­ni­ties are cru­cial to rais­ing the next gen­er­a­tion. Our ap­proach on fam­ily trips is to en­gage and be low-im­pact. We avoid plas­tic and use can­vas carry bags. We give smiles rather than gifts, which can cause de­pen­dency. In­trepid teaches chil­dren ba­sic lan­guage skills while on tour. We also live our value that wildlife be­longs in the wild.”

In­trepid’s Fam­ily Hol­i­day itin­er­ar­ies in­cor­po­rate sup­port for not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions that pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in poor ru­ral ar­eas, as well as as­sis­tance for an­i­mal sanc­tu­ar­ies and res­cue and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres for mis­treated an­i­mals.

“Our main pur­pose in life is to achieve hap­pi­ness and travel is the per­fect ve­hi­cle to achieve this, as well as ac­com­plish­ing all sorts of other great things as we go” – BRUCE POON TIP, G AD­VEN­TURES

01 Sup­port char­i­ties that as­sist and en­cour­age kids to stay in school © Stephane Bi­douze/ 02 Sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses on an In­trepid Fam­ily tour of Mor­roco © In­trepid Travel

The com­pany’s In­trepid Foun­da­tion re­ceives money via do­na­tions and fundrais­ers, then dou­bles the con­tri­bu­tion for twice the im­pact, giv­ing 100 per cent of the funds di­rectly to projects that em­power lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. One ex­am­ple of this in ac­tion is Bi­cy­cles for Hu­man­ity, a project cre­ated to help al­le­vi­ate poverty in Namibia through sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion and em­ploy­ment.

Ho­tels with heart

Phi­lan­thropy doesn’t need to be com­pli­cated; giv­ing back can be a sim­ple as choos­ing where to stay. Accorhotels is one ho­tel group com­mit­ted to not just re­duc­ing its neg­a­tive im­pact on earth but also pos­i­tively im­pact­ing on the com­mu­ni­ties in which it op­er­ates, im­ple­ment­ing lo­cal pro­grams that re­duce its en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print and give back to the peo­ple who live around its ho­tels.

In each coun­try, Accorhotels part­ners with a lo­cal char­ity or NGO to en­sure that its ef­forts have max­i­mum im­pact. When its ho­tels choose a pro­gram to get in­volved in, the most im­por­tant thing to en­sure is that its ef­forts en­rich com­mu­ni­ties with new forms of liveli­hoods and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for the long term.

“We have to cre­ate vi­able so­lu­tions that al­low com­mu­ni­ties to cre­ate in­come-pro­duc­ing busi­nesses, and more and more we are look­ing at how our ho­tels can make these com­mu­ni­ties our sup­pli­ers to cre­ate a 360-de­gree ap­proach to our ef­forts,” says Gaynor Reid, VP com­mu­ni­ca­tions and CSR for Accorhotels.

Ho­tel projects range from poverty al­le­vi­a­tion through ed­u­ca­tion, health, nu­tri­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and sup­port­ing the health care of aban­doned chil­dren liv­ing with AIDS to sus­tain­able farm­ing projects that en­able fam­i­lies to feed them­selves and en­sure their chil­dren have op­por­tu­ni­ties for a brighter fu­ture.

Hands-on help

Perth mum Amanda Ken­dle and her eightyear-old son re­cently re­turned from Fiji where, un­der the guid­ance of Hands On Jour­neys, they as­sisted a hur­ri­cane-rav­aged com­mu­nity start a tourism busi­ness.

Hands On Jour­neys of­fers small group tours based around the idea of “em­pow­er­ment tourism”, work­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to help them de­velop sus­tain­able busi­ness projects. Whether that be help­ing a Cam­bo­dian group set up a food truck at Angkor Wat, or work­ing with the Nin­tiringanyi com­mu­nity in Queens­land to de­velop a busi­ness of­fer­ing cul­tural ex­change ex­pe­ri­ences with tourists or as­sist­ing a Fi­jian com­mu­nity to de­velop cook­ing classes and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences for tourists.

Amanda agrees that it’s im­por­tant to avoid “vol­un­tourism” sit­u­a­tions that are all about mak­ing vol­un­teers feel bet­ter about them­selves with scant re­gard for the ac­tual needs of lo­cals.

“It’s so tricky be­cause you don’t want to set up an ‘us and them’ kind of sit­u­a­tion where we priv­i­leged travel-lovers go off and give money to ‘the poor’. That’s what I loved about this ex­pe­ri­ence: although we were clearly fi­nan­cially wealth­ier than these peo­ple, it was abun­dantly clear that they also lead very rich lives and had a lot to show and tell us about and we could learn a lot from them”.

Amanda be­lieves there is a need to en­cour­age more adults to seek out these ex­pe­ri­ences, and that the dou­ble im­pact of ex­pos­ing their chil­dren to them is em­pow­er­ing. She adds, “For kids to grow up al­ready hav­ing that com­pas­sion and de­sire to help oth­ers in ap­pro­pri­ate ways will surely lead to a bet­ter world, right?”



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.