Leading moral tourism charity pressured to shut | Travel

Ethical travel charity Tourism Concern has closed down after virtually 30 years after working out of funds to proceed its marketing campaign and analysis work.

The unbiased, non-profit organisation had battled for monetary survival for a few years, with annual stories describing the way it had “always struggled to generate a core income.” . A press release by the charity launched on 26 September, mentioned: “Funding from charitable foundations, which sustained us in the past, is no longer available. The trustees were determined that Tourism Concern should not become a zombie charity, raising money simply to exist.”

It additionally thanked employees, members and supporters for his or her dedication and achievements, “of which perhaps the most significant has been to project the principles of responsible tourism into the mainstream conversation”. A “charity with similar objectives” has been nominated to obtain excellent funds.

Hopes of constructing a stronger community of particular person supporters (often known as Friends of Tourism Concern) alongside its membership programme had not materialised, and grants had decreased lately. Subscriptions from membership by no means generated greater than round £30,000 a yr (with whole unrestricted earnings averaging round £75,000 a yr).

After being based in London in 1988, Tourism Concern turned a charitable membership organisation in 1989, describing itself as a small community of global growth activists and teachers aiming to problem the exploitation of individuals and locations by the global tourism business. Its first main report was launched in 1992, which detailed ideas for sustainable tourism growth.

Awareness campaigns and analysis lined a various vary of points, together with human rights, employee exploitation, “voluntourism”, the orphanage business, slum tourism, the influence of all-inclusive journeys and cruise ships, animal tourism and environmental points. Recently the charity outlined codes of conduct regarding indigenous tourism, together with within the Amazon and Africa, and the sustainability and influence of Airbnb in ‘honeypot cities’, significantly throughout Europe. It believed that locals ought to take part in decision-making about tourism growth the place they lived, and see a rise in jobs and sustainable development.

Although there are numerous different organisations providing recommendation – together with the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation, which has a code of ethics for accountable tourism, together with different paid-for accountable travel consultancies – members and moral tour operators see the closure of the charity as a significant blow.

Rickshaw Travel’s Hannah Hesford mentioned: “It’s a great loss to the industry. Tourism Concern did a lot of amazing academic and scientific research and analysis; highlighting many important issues, long before they went mainstream. Currently, we don’t know of [another] charity that operates in the same way they did.”

Nabeena Mali, from moral travel startup (and member company) Soulscape, added: “Most companies would charge you a premium for outreach but they just wanted to support ethical travel projects. It’s a really tough industry because we’re fighting against either the luxury hotel resorts or the less expensive all-inclusive mass tour experiences.”

Responsible Travel’s buyer director, Tim Williamson, agreed: “Tourism Concern has played a fundamental role in championing the rights of local people. It’s now crucial that the industry listens to communities, making sure their voices are heard and that tourism develops in partnership with people in destinations.”

Former Tourism Concern government director Mark Watson mentioned: “Tourism Concern pushed the industry to improve their operations and helping tourists make better and more informed choices about their holidays. I hope much of the research, built up over nearly 30 years, will still be publicly available.”

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