WHAT IS INTENTIONAL TOURISM?
Intentional Tourism is a new way to see the world, learn about different cultures, and make a positive impact by changing the way that we travel. Travelers from wealthy countries most often experience impoverished communities through one of two distinct forms of travel: all-inclusive resorts or volunteer service/mission trips.
The all-inclusive resorts provide comfort and security, but that comes at a cost. The surrounding communities are walled out and excursions outside the of the resort compound are very tightly monitored (and monetized). A recent report from the United Nations found that only 5% of all dollars spent at an all-inclusive actually stays in the local community. It is a sad fact that local communities receive very little benefit from the thousands of tourists enjoying the natural beauty of their country.
On the other hand, volunteer service or mission trip travelers visit an impoverished community with heartfelt desires to help. They also seek life-changing experiences that expand their horizons and change their own way of thinking. The latter is often accomplished, however, the former goal is much harder to come by. In fact, many of these short-term trips actually do more harm than good. In the worst scenarios, trips like these foster dependency, take jobs from local workers, and disempower the local community by assuming they have little capacity to solve their own problems. The Chalmers Center estimates that $3-5 billion is spent on faith-based mission trips per year, from the USA alone. The study goes on to explain that the average group trip could fund the full-time annual salary of 7-12 development workers to devote their entire year towards solving the problem that the short-term volunteers hope to solve in one week.
At Intentional Tours, we propose a different way to travel and experience a new culture. We are committed to offering the learning and personal growth experience of a service trip, with the pleasure and relaxation travelers seek through an all-inclusive resort, all while maximizing the positive impact of our presence in the community. See our Intentional Tours Pledge to learn how we do this.
THE INTENTIONAL TOURS PLEDGE
All Intentional Tours will adhere to the following:
We commit to promoting local economic development by staying at locally-owned hotels, eating at locally-owned restaurants, and using locally-owned transportation whenever possible. We will do our best to seek out ethical businesses, social enterprises, and Certified B Corporations.
We commit to offering our travelers university-level instruction, encouraging them to think critically about traditional forms of travel, and bringing in local perspectives on potential solutions to issues such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and human-trafficking. All travelers will learn how to use their tourist dollars to positively impact local communities through intentional tourism.
We commit to fostering respectful cross-cultural engagement among travelers and local populations, ensuring that guests and hosts interact as equals. All guided trips will include at least one home-stay or meal in a local home.
We commit to enjoying the beautiful beaches, mountains, rivers, and valleys of our host countries while minimizing our negative environmental impact and ensuring that local communities benefit from our enjoyment of their natural resources.