We believe that – when done right – tourism can be a force of good, one person at a time.
Some people call it philanthropy or charity. As a company that promotes tourism and the interaction of people from different places as a positive force in the world, we call it our responsibility.
Tourism can affect real change in wildlife conservation and the preservation of wilderness areas. It can raise awareness around the value of traditional cultures and contribute to the preservation of historic cities, buildings, and cultural heritage. It can improve the lives of countless people through things as simple as clean water, medical care, and school books.
In Africa, for instance, the revenue generated by every eight tourists creates a new, sustainable job for a year. On average, every salary earner is responsible for feeding 19 people. The smallest amounts can go a long way in many parts of the world.
We are very proud that responsibility has been a pillar of Heritage Tours, long before it was de rigueur – in fact, since the day we started.
We are proud to be considered a pioneer in this area. It has been our core belief that tourism is a two-way street. Simply put, we feel it’s right to give back to the places that give so much to our clients.
One part is financial. We support a number of not-for-profits, all locally conceived and managed. These remarkable projects offer people opportunities they would not have otherwise. One creates a safe haven for girls and women who need it. Others provide services to orphans and elders, people who are HIV-positive and others in dire need. Some offer safe after-school places for kids interested in the arts or in sports. One teaches entrepreneurship skills while creating organic farms on abandoned lots. And others increase awareness about the environment.
But our sense of responsibility transcends the financial. It guides every aspect of how we operate in each country: the degree of respect we show to people, places, causes, and values. The best tourism is person-to-person and real. We encourage you – and provide opportunities for you – to engage with people, spend time with them, ask honest questions, and respectfully exchange ideas.
If you wish, we can arrange for you to have more in-depth experiences with some of the projects we support, where you will have the opportunity to meet some truly remarkable people. Many clients ask if this is depressing, or “poverty tourism.” It is the exact opposite – clients find it educational, uplifting, and positive.
We want every one of our clients to come back and tell us that their trip with us was the best of their lives. But we know we have truly done our job well when, on top of that, they return with a deeper understanding of something, having broadened their perspective, or perhaps questioned assumptions they previously held.
We have chosen to be a force for change.
You have a choice as well – in how you travel. We would urge you to travel with companies whose values reflect your own.
By doing so, you will not only enhance the lives of others, but you will enhance your own.