Arrivals & Departures Tourism with heart

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Tackling inequalities created by tourism, a UK agency is gifting a trip to a local child in Africa for every holiday it books.

Responsible Travel this week announced its Trip for a Trip initiative, which funds a trip for a local child in Africa each time a holiday is sold to one of its customers and the traveller opts into the scheme.

Responsible Travel chief executive Justin Francis set up the program with the aim of addressing the inequalities in tourism and to give children the chance to appreciate the wider value of their culture or ecosystem.

Mr Francis hopes to help people who do not have the opportunity to travel to do so.

He was inspired by Tom’s Shoes and its one-for-one business model as well as Elevate, a small US travel company doing similar things, and hopes the rest of the travel industry will follow suit.

Tourism is currently very unequal. Rich Westerners are given opportunities in destinations where locals are not, and where tourists can run roughshod over local people’s cultures and environments. I want to readdress this imbalance,” Mr Francis says.

I want to send a message to the travel industry and make this into a collective movement. Together I believe we can give one million children these opportunities by 2020. How fantastic would that be?”

The first trip was run in November in Swaziland involving 24 local children from Mlindazwe Neighbourhood Care Point visiting Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time.

Responsible Travel serves as a platform for ethical tour providers, which includes tours from almost 400 small, specialist and ethical tour operators. It operates in more than 190 countries.

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