Andaman Discoveries Blog

Monday, April 20, 2009

 

Keeping It Real

What’s in a name?

You may not know it, but you are part of a global movement. We are a group of international citizens who seek to make a difference wherever we are in the world. The way we travel has many names:
  • Ecotourism,
  • Responsible travel,
  • Sustainable travel,
  • Community-based tourism
With all the hype surrounding these and similar terms nowadays, their meaning is becoming diluted. People who aspire to travel respectfully and give something back can find themselves bewildered by the options. This growing movement is at risk of being a victim of its own popularity.

We hope the stories that follow will further detail what sets Andaman Discoveries apart from the crowd. We thank you for your continued readership and support of our efforts.

Genuine responsible tourism operators have a duty to the communities they serve. Long before marketing, this requires understanding local priorities and sense of place, and then using this information to develop an appropriate program. It doesn’t happen overnight. All too often tour operators -- even ones with good intentions -- raise hopes and artificially inflate local economies without understanding the consequences of their actions. The results can be disastrous, and there are numerous examples of villages that have suffered from loss of traditional livelihoods and money-driven conflict.

That’s why Andaman Discoveries is committed to supporting consistent progress in an imperfect world. Often this means working with opposing viewpoints, even within a community. After all, communities do not always speak with one voice, and by maintaining balanced relationships, we are able to work with all parties. The mutual respect we have earned with our community partners is a testament to the effectiveness of our long-term projects and inclusive viewpoint.

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