ETHICAL TRAVEL

ETHICAL TRAVEL

Image-B_2Ashanti African Tours Ltd are 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 them 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 benefitting 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 eco-system 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 have when travelling, instead focusing on the price and ticking off the country. We are however encouraged to know 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, greeting or receiving change 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 once you have returned home. Travelling with local guides and drivers, eating in local restaurants and staying in locally owned accommodations will always open doors and create authentic cultural connections during your holiday. In addition keeping your money in the local economy, creating sustainable employment opportunities for locals and breeding 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.

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, 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 it’s a wonderful gesture wanting to give out pens, money toys or medical supplies to locals in less privileged locations but 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 less 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.

Ashanti African Tours encourage, sponsor and support local youth sports for boys and girls.

Ashanti African Tours have built a much needed 8 classroom school facility at Brenu Akyinim in Ghana

How does choosing one of our tours help locally at the destination?

Our small scale low impact responsible approach to tourism has a positive sustainable effect on the local communities we visit in several ways. The main aim of Ashanti African Tours is not only to provide our tour participants with the perfect holiday of a lifetime but to also contribute to the alleviation of poverty in the areas we visit in addition to having a positive effect on conserving the environment, culture and heritage of these vulnerable locations.

Economic Benefits

These are wide ranging from the direct employment of local guides, drivers and restaurant workers to hotel employees and local shop keepers. By giving locals the opportunity to earn and improve their income through tourism employment, enables them to have more money to put back in the local economy in a sustainable way. As we are focused on using locally owned hotels, guesthouses, homestays, restaurants and retail outlets that source their goods and services locally this also has a positive knock on effect within agriculture, food production and the retail industry amongst other services.

Infrastructure Development

The vast majority of exotic locations with rich cultures and diverse wildlife waiting to be discovered are in some of the poorest countries in the world. Ethical tourism can have a positive sustainable impact on the development of these locations for the benefit of the people living there. With money coming into the local communities enabling more taxes to be paid ultimately increases the funding available to improve and develop more schools, hospitals, roads and other areas vital to the improvement of the daily lives of its people.

Social Benefits

Preservation of culture, heritage and traditions is a major benefit of responsible tourism that also gives locals a sense of pride in their history when showcasing and teaching travellers about the diversity of their communities. It ensures they hand down the knowledge and tools to future generations using tourism to highlight the importance of protecting and continuing traditions that have been around for centuries.

Environmental

As the global population increases there is exceptional pressure on the natural resources of the world, with the poorest countries being the most vulnerable from the large revenues on offer from the mining and timber companies wanting to exploit them. Ethical tourism can play an important part in protecting vulnerable habitat essential for our ecosystem and the future of our planet. Through responsible tourism we can create sustainable and effective economic incentives to conserve the natural habitat of our planet for future generations.

Ashanti African Tours are currently building another much needed school in Breku Ghana

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

carbon-footprint-logoGlobal warming is a serious issue and one we all need to take responsibility for. Unfortunately the vast majority of things we do on a daily basis contributes to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Air travel currently contributes under 5%, however this is rising slightly due to the increased number of people flying on an annual basis. As many of the most interesting and exotic locations require us to travel by plane, it is unreasonable to ask everyone to just stop flying altogether. There are many ways we are able to reduce our personal carbon footprint on a daily basis to assist in an overall annual reduction of our own personal carbon footprint. Many of us decide to take 2 or 3 shorter overseas holidays each year, if we decided to reduce our flights and take one longer more responsibly planned holiday this would assist us in significantly reducing our personal carbon footprint each year. Combining trips or flying direct when possible or with less stop overs also has a significant impact.

I am confident none of us change and wash our bedsheets and bathroom towels on a daily basis, so why do we think this necessary when staying at hotels. Looking into alternative travel, by train, tram or bike whilst away also has a positive effect. There are many ways we can slightly change our lifestyle to contribute to a reduction in the effects of Global warming. Unplugging electrics when you travel or changing your style of driving, the list goes on. Please visit the following website www.carbonfund.org/reduce to learn more on how we can all reduce our own personal carbon footprint to benefit future generations and the environment.

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