The United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, with a call for tourism businesses to better support local economies and to help foster a better understanding of different cultures.
At Urban Adventures, we have always believed in the importance of sustainable tourism, but we took the UN’s call as an opportunity to assess and grow our efforts in this area. Our mandate has long been to offer day tours with a difference. We bypass the tourist traps and take travellers into local communities. We work with independent businesses and local entrepreneurs to ensure money stays within the local economy. We duck down hidden back alleys and into tucked-away shops to get the real sense of a place and the people who live there. But still, we knew we could do more.
The benefits of tourism should be a win-win situation. Not only should the traveller be given a memorable experience of a destination, but the local guide should be fairly compensated for sharing their stories, and the local vendors visited on a tour should also be rewarded by the fruits of tourism.
Through partnerships with NGOs, non-profits, social enterprises and our parent company’s charity arm, The Intrepid Foundation, we raised the following funds in 2017 for community organisations around the globe (all amounts in AUD):
$75,600 was donated to ActionAid’s Safe Cities campaign between January and September via $1 donations from every booked traveller on selected tours. We anticipate nearly $100,000 will be donated by the end of 2017. More information on this program is available in the next sections of this report.
$9,300 was donated to partnering non-profits via optional direct donations from Urban Adventures travellers.
Bookings of our ‘In Focus’ tours generated the following reported revenues for our partners: $5,320 for One Horizon in Nairobi, Kenya; $1,860 for Journey Adventure Travel in Bagan, Myanmar; $2,660 for the Parada Foundation in Bucharest, Romania; and $1,590 for Small Projects Istanbul in Turkey. Full financial details of all our ‘In Focus’ partnerships will be available in late 2018.