We’ve all had that uncomfortable feeling – travelling to less privileged places, knowing we can afford what local people cannot. Or visiting a country’s top-line attractions, while they remain out of reach to some of its own children. Sustainable travel booking site, Responsible Travel, is tackling the issue head on by launching the give-back initiative Trip for a Trip.
Understanding the importance of travel to broaden the mind and inspire life long passions, CEO Justin Francis, has developed Trip for a Trip. Simply, when you book a holiday through Responsible Travel, the company will pay for a day out for a disadvantaged child. There's not even any cost to you. He hopes that other travel operators will take it up, in order to give one million children a day out they couldn’t otherwise afford, by 2020.
“It’s about broadening the kids’ horizons a little and helping them to realise there are lots of possibilities out there in the world beyond,” Francis says. Seeing a bigger world may inspire them to greater things."
Left | Justin Francis. Right | Kids from Swaziland go on their first wildlife park visit
The company has kicked off their project with a partner in Swaziland.
“We work with All Out Africa,” explains Francis. “They have set up a network of Neighbourhood Care Points, essentially nursery schools for disadvantaged children. Our aim in working with partners who run centres such as these and who know the children’s backgrounds, is that we can give a day trip to those for whom it would otherwise be unobtainable and where we can make the greatest difference. However our ambition is to spread this to as many countries around the world as we can.”
“It’s hard to ignore the reality of the difference in wealth and opportunity between yourself as a western traveller and the local people”
The first Trip for a Trip recently took 24 kids to a wildlife sanctuary to see animals like zebra and buffalo for the first time in their lives, it's a start to this new huge new project that Francis hopes can provide research into the impact of travel on less fortunate kids.
Trip for a Trip helps travellers to address the imbalance of privilege – albeit in a small way.
“It’s hard to ignore the reality of the difference in wealth and opportunity between yourself as a western traveller and local people. It also becomes apparent that you are seeing parts of a country - often the best bits - that young local people can never afford to. Trip for a Trip enables our clients to do something about this."
Francis hopes that the interest in travelling more sustainably follows the huge surge in a similar interest in the food industry.
"The Fair Trade movement in food is huge and I believe that this kind of consciousness is starting to make its way into tourism too,” he says. “When people are looking for a holiday they are looking for an amazing, memorable experience and what is great about approaching tourism in a more responsible way is that by its very nature it provides exactly that. We believe that if you treat local people and places fairly this pays back by the bucket load because well cared for locals let you get closer to their culture, their people and their nature."
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