Vacations have always been a time when families come together to share experiences, strengthen bonds and build lifelong memories. However, the ways family vacations play out have changed quite a bit over the years. Parents used to see exclusive resorts and all-inclusive packages as the perfect holiday; today, however, as a result of globalization and the affordability of international travel, parents also see vacations as opportunities for their children to learn about other cultures, discover new and different natural settings, and see the world from a different perspective.
A New Beneficial Vision
This new vision has motivated a growing number of families to visit alternative destinations that promise something different. But it’s not all smooth sailing! On the one hand, the increase in the number of traveling families definitely delivers a lot of benefits to the host countries and communities. On the other hand, a swelling number of tourists can also mean negative side effects for the local environment and culture.
Fortunately, more and more people are aware of tourism’s possible negative impacts, such as how they can endanger the beauty, purity or authenticity of some destinations. These people are becoming more conscious about the importance of arranging vacations with a socially responsible and sustainable company – one that is honestly concerned about preserving the world and leaving benefits in the destination. Indeed, according to the first study of the “Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler” by Tourism Cares, families, along with affluent travelers and Millennials, are considered the three “good travelers” because of their desire to give back to their host countries or communities.
In Support of Sustainable Tourism
Despite this growing demand for companies offering sustainable and responsible tourism, a Pulse Poll on Sustainable Travel by AIG shows that 35% of travelers find it difficult to travel sustainably. Half of them do not even know exactly what sustainable travel is. This may be because there is still a large number of companies that are neither socially responsible nor sustainable, despite the high percentage of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable brands showing a commitment to social and environmental values. The percentage of consumers went up from 55% to 66% between 2014 and 2015, according to “The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2016” by the Center for Responsible Travel.
In order to help travelers identify companies that care, a variety of certifications has been created, like the one overseen by TourCert. TourCert is a private, non-governmental and not-for-profit organization that awards tourism businesses on the basis of Corporate Social Responsibility principles. The TourCert CSR system examines business activities and assesses the tour operator’s sustainability performance against several criteria, including employee and client satisfaction, water and energy supply, nature and species conservation, local production, integration of local communities, CO2 measures and mutual responsibility between suppliers.
Local Champions in South America
While sustainable and responsible tourism principles are taking root all over the globe, South America has gained particular popularity among tourists looking to experience ancient cultures and interested in exploring pristine nature. Conscious of the benefits and threats of tourism, a large number of private companies has tapped into the continent’s cultural diversity and natural wonders to promote cultural awareness and the need for local citizens and tourists to protect the environment.
Following our own corporate values and pioneering spirit, and with an eye on current trends, we, Pure! Ecuador, part of Pure! Travel Group, became one of the first tour operators in Latin America to obtain the TourCert certification. After all, Pure! Ecuador has been working hard for years to improve its sustainability in social, environmental and economic terms.
However, this was only one step in our journey toward excellence. Pure! Ecuador may have been the first office in the group to obtain this certification, but now the offices in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia are following suit by registering and certifying their commitments with society, the environment, and sustainability. Even more reasons to travel to South America with Pure! Travel Group!
Diego Andrade is the marketing manager of the Pure! Travel Group. He is originally from Ecuador and is passionate about traveling. He has worked in the tourism industry for more than 10 years, finding new and exciting destinations and activities that offer customers unforgettable experiences in South America.
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