Ashanti African Tours Ltd is a Ghana-based, ethically-run tour operator, organising tours of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and Principe. Our responsibly-run business puts the environment and communities it visits at the heart of all we do and we have a proven track-record of ethical tourism.
All of the tours and holidays we offer, be they standard, small group or tailor-made, aim to have a positive impact on the countries, communities and environments they visit. We feel our policy of small group, low-impact ethical tourism opens up doors and experiences for our participants. This type of travel creates authentic, cultural connections which ultimately enhance the travellers' overall experience, whilst also benefiting the social development and economic opportunities in each location. This in turn has a positive effect on preserving local cultures and heritage for future generations. It is imperative to support local community-run businesses, creating an income for locals, as this reduces the negative impact on the local ecosystem through hunting and farming activities and ultimately breeds a culture of preservation through locally-run eco-tourism initiatives.
Why Travel Responsibly?
It is important to make responsible choices when considering your next holiday. If you have a desire to experience and learn about another country and culture, then I am certain you will also care about being respectful and that your holiday is beneficial and has a low, but positive, impact on the people and destination you will be visiting.
Unfortunately many travellers do not consider the negative impact they create when travelling, instead focusing on the price and ticking off the country. We are, however, encouraged to discover that a growing number of global tourists are becoming responsible travellers, as they become aware of the benefits. It’s important to be aware that when travelling to another country, we are visitors during our time there and many things that are sociably acceptable in our own cultures may not be in the destinations we visit. Simple things like the way we dress, greetings and welcoming all change and can have a negative or positive effect on our holiday.
Taking time to learn a little about the country you will travel to and having the desire and application to travel responsibly will undoubtedly enhance your experience and leave nothing but positive footprints behind once you have returned home. Travelling with local guides and drivers, eating in local restaurants and staying in locally-owned accommodation will always open doors and create authentic cultural connections during your holiday. In addition, keeping your money in the local economy, creates sustainable employment opportunities for locals and breeds a desire within the communities to preserve local culture, heritage and the environment, as they are seeing first-hand the benefits of responsible and sustainable tourism.
You often find you will have a cheaper and more fulfilled experience by visiting local shops and markets. Haggling the prices down on goods and souvenirs is all part of the fun and commonplace with locals in the majority of destinations. It offers a far more personal insight into the daily lives of the communities you are staying in than purchasing mass produced souvenirs in the foreign-owned hotel lobbies, or souvenir shops does.
It is also important to consider our ecological footprint at home, but also when we travel. You will be surprised of the benefits of a few simple changes in attitude. Turning off air-conditioners when out of your rooms, informing the hotel it’s not necessary to change your bed sheets and towels daily and recycling and re-using water bottles all contribute to reducing our carbon footprint.
The majority of responsible travellers will think of how they can benefit locals in the communities they are visiting and although it’s a wonderful gesture to give out pens, money, toys or medical supplies to locals in less-privileged locations, this is not a responsible way to donate. Giving handouts ultimately breeds a culture of begging, which makes it uncomfortable for tourists and eventually has a negative effect on tourism in the area, resulting in a poorer local economy and fewer employment opportunities. In many cases the pen, toy, toffee or money you gave the child is often taken from them by older, stronger children or family members. It is much more responsible to identify schools in need, hospitals that are lacking or legitimate registered organisations to donate to, as they will ensure the people most in need receive it without breeding a culture of begging within the community.
If you are looking to get a little more from your travel, whilst giving back to the communities you will visit, then ethical or responsible travel is for you. Please take your time to peruse the many locally-guided tours on our website for that perfect holiday of a lifetime.