Home Lifestyle How to make your post-lockdown travels a force for good

How to make your post-lockdown travels a force for good

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Mountain gorilla in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park - Getty

Mountain gorilla in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park – Getty

Fairness. It’s something we’ve heard a lot about during this pandemic. Between the three million people excluded from financial support during the Covid crisis, to exams being cancelled and student grades chosen by an algorithm, it feels like fairness has been in short supply. And so there has never been a better, or more important, time to consider whether your holidays perpetuate inequalities or whether they are a force for good. Are they fair?

While the World Fairtrade Organisation doesn’t certify holiday companies and hotels, they do set out a list of principles that can be carried over into tourism. Fair wages, good working conditions and empowerment of local communities is at the heart of the Fairtrade cause, so for Fairtrade Fortnight we’ve found some of the best holidays you can book that don’t come with a human cost.

1. Sip Fairtrade coffee in Colombia

Classic Colombian coffee has a sweet, caramel flavour, but it’s even sweeter when it’s produced on a Fairtrade property with good working conditions and fair pay. On Exodus Travels’ Discover Colombia tour, you’ll get the opportunity to visit Fairtrade coffee plantation Finca El Ocaso, meeting the farmers who make their living from producing the fragrant Colombian beans, and tasting the local brew.

The tour travels through colourful Cartagena - GettyThe tour travels through colourful Cartagena - Getty

The tour travels through colourful Cartagena – Getty

The trip also takes in the capital Bogota and colourful Cartagena, as well as Medellin, where butterflies and orchids thrive in its mild climate. You can also rest assured that your trip is fair in other ways – Exodus Travels is dedicated to touring sustainably, empowering communities and providing equal employment opportunities for locals.

Book the thirteen-day tour from £2,379 per person; exodus.co.uk

2. Take a socially-conscious city break in Mumbai

By far the most interesting hotel in south Mumbai, Abode Bombay offers more than just a beautiful place to stay. The entire ethos of the property is built on empowerment and fairness. Rooms are decorated with locally-made furniture and textiles, the cafe menu is all about local, seasonal produce (no Western-style buffet breakfasts here) and they engage local people in everything they do.

Need a transfer from the airport? They’ve invested in local women who are the sole earners for their family to help them buy and drive their own taxi cabs. Want a massage? You can order one to the room with a masseuse from a nearby school for the blind, where they are fully trained to help them earn a stable income.

Mumbai - GettyMumbai - Getty

Mumbai – Getty

Abode also has a network of local tour guides, too, who have lived in the city for most of their lives and can show you what’s happening beneath the surface. See the explosive colours at the early morning flower markets, tour the best restaurants run by Mumbaikers or simply soak up the heritage of south Mumbai knowing that your money is going into the pocket of a brilliant local entrepreneur.

Double rooms from £45 per night; abodeboutiquehotels.com

3. Walk with the last migrating shepherds in India

Dump the digital nomads for real-life nomads in the Indian Himalayas. With Village Ways’ In the Footsteps of the Anwals trip, you’ll spend two full days walking with a group of transhumance shepherds as they travel from the low-lying villages in the foothills of the mountains to higher pastures.

Goats and sheperd at Tso Moriri, Ladakh, Indi - GettyGoats and sheperd at Tso Moriri, Ladakh, Indi - Getty

Goats and sheperd at Tso Moriri, Ladakh, Indi – Getty

Hiking alongside herds of up to 1,200 sheep and goats, you’ll walk through flowering valleys and through remote villages, enjoying spell-binding views of the world’s highest mountain range. Village Ways is a leader in sustainable tourism, working with the communities their trips travel through, training up locals as guides and helping them offer homestays. For this trip, a portion of your money goes directly to the Anwals’ corpus fund to help them purchase tents, hiking boots and other equipment needed for their gruelling trek.

A seasonal trip, departures are running from 15 April to 15 May 2021/22 and between 1 October and 30 November 2022. Prices start from £1,467 per person based on two sharing; villageways.com

4. Go on a safari with a social conscience in Uganda

Safaris are important for the conservation of wild animals – the more money ploughed into national parks and conservancies by tourists, the better anti-poaching measures and habitat conservation becomes. But it’s not just the wildlife we need to think of when we’re on the road. There are communities whose lives and livelihoods are touched by and rely on tourism, and so ensuring they are fairly treated too should be a priority.

That’s the ethos of Volcanoes Safaris, a group of luxury lodges in some of the most beautiful locations across Rwanda and Uganda. While you are trekking with gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or tracking chimps in Kyambura Gorge, you can rest assured the company is doing all it can to create fair and equal work opportunities for its staff and the local communities.

One of Volcanoes Safaris' spectacular lodgesOne of Volcanoes Safaris' spectacular lodges

One of Volcanoes Safaris’ spectacular lodges

Not only are they dedicated to hiring locally, the company also puts part of its profits directly into development projects to help the communities around their lodges. They are funding the installation of water tanks for each house in Virunga, Rwanda and have bought and donated land for the Batwa people at Gahinga in Uganda, who were removed from their nomadic home in the mountains when the national park was created for gorilla conservation.

At Bwindi, they run a bar where young disadvantaged kids are offered training to help them get a start in life, and there are all manner of habitat conservation projects on their books too, meaning you can feel good knowing your trip is having a positive impact all round.

A seven day trip with Volcanoes Safaris starts from £4,775 on a full-board basis and includes a driver/guide and gorilla trekking permits; volcanoessafaris.com

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