When I travelled to Tanzania with Comic Relief, to meet and interview women for International Women’s Day, who had benefitted from business training funded by Comic Relief, I also caught fleeting glimpses of the country as a tourist might. Joachim was our guide and project manager out in Tanzania, he was so passionate about the beauty of Tanzania, and told us tales of waking up to elephants in his Grandmother’s house in the Serengeti, and of the white paradise beaches in Zanzibar you can sail to during the day, but vanish by night. It made me so determined to visit this magical land as a tourist, via a responsible agent. It is my dream to take my children on safari there.
What families love is the immersion in the local community. People will be so warm and welcoming, inviting them into homes for tea, and wanting to meet them. You get a real insight into how people live in these beautiful, remote places. Sometimes, people will be invited to help out in the fields picking crops or bringing in the hay, and your local guide is so helpful explaining things and acting as interpreter.
More ways to invest in local economy while you’re travelling:
- Buy local: large tourist shops often have big price mark-ups that aren’t passed onto the original artisan. Seek out locally produced crafts and souvenirs of your holiday, so the investment goes back into the local businesses.
- Choose an ethical tour operator: Reality Tours in Mumbai will organise individual or group tours that show travellers the real people of the country, with 80% of profits invested into education and development programmes in the areas they promote.
- Get hands-on: If you pick the right safari tour, you’ll be asked to hunt for your own dinner with nomadic tribes, take part in conservation projects, or help to micro-chip rhinos in a bid to reduce and deter poaching. Epic Road run safaris in Africa and Asia, and even the Arctic, to get closer to nature than you’ve ever been, and have tailor-made adventure for families as well as couples and groups.
- Volunteer: Global Vision International have myriad ideas for travelling with a conscience. From marine conservation in Fiji, to teaching English to novice monks in Laos, you will come home with a unique experience and you’ll have definitely given something back!