Tourism Concern - One of our Christmas Charities

  Tourism Concern We’ve adopted Tourism Concern as one of our two Christmas Charities. Their valuable work contributes to creating a fairer world, where holidays can be enjoyed without wrecking the planet or ruining lives. This is naturally something that we and our clients are keen to support. Mark Watson, Executive Director, explains exactly what Tourism Concern does: Set up in 1989 Tourism concern is a unique independent charity dedicated to campaigning for ethical and fairly traded tourism. We believe that people would simply enjoy their holiday more if they know no one had been displaced from their land to allow them to view wildlife, that local people weren’t suffering water shortages while they swam in their hotel pool and that they money they spent was benefiting local people directly. We are funded by individual supporters who are often keen travellers themselves and who want their holiday to be as good for the people they visit as it is  for them. Thanks to these supporters we have:
  • Improved working conditions for tourism workers
  • Lobbied UK tour operators to be more socially responsible
  • Developed guidelines for best practice, which have been adopted by the industry and governments
  • Given a voice to communities threatened by tourism development
Our campaigns support communities in challenging harmful practices and promote forms of tourism that bring real benefits to local people:
  • Porters carry extremely heavy loads up steep mountain paths for tourists on trekking holidays and frequently do so without adequate clothing or shoes. We are campaigning to ensure that all UK tour operators adopt our code of conduct to improve working conditions for mountain porters.
  • In the Andaman Islands, semi-nude women are being forced to dance for tourists in exchange for food. We are lobbying the industry to adopt a code of conduct for engaging with indigenous people.
  • Slum Tourism is the controversial phenomenon of organised excursions to informal settlements or ‘slums’. We are developing guidelines for tourists so that they can undertake the tours ethically and benefit the local community.
  • Orphanage Tourism is fuelling the demand for "orphans", and so driving the unnecessary separation of children from their families.  We are campaigning   to stop commercial tour operators sending unqualified volunteers to orphanages
Tourism Concern is one of Gaeia’s two Christmas Charities. We do hope you will be able to support them too.

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