They contribute to the environmental protection
Eco-tour companies themselves include activities that are aimed at environmental protection some way. In our case, we focus on bird watching and diving to raise awareness of the eco-systems both on land and in the water. Yoanis is also involved in reporting of bird sightings to keep databases of and assist the protection of Cuban bird species.
There is also indirect contribution to environmental protection in the form of admission fees to national parks and biosphere reserves, which are used to maintain, protect and improve and preserve the environment in the protected areas we visit.
They raise awareness
There’s only so much information you can find on the internet as you do your research, however when you travel with an eco-tour company, they utilise the services of local tour guides, who are knowledgeable of their culture, history, natural environment. Whilst a basic awareness is great to have of customs/culture before you visit a place, these guides can give you the insider’s knowledge to the place you visit.
Telling you not to litter, or bring your water bottle is one thing, but they know traditions, life, culture on the ground as they live it each and every day. In our case we also have specific guides for specific tours – Yoanis is the lead for birding tours as he is a nature guide, enthusiastic birder and amateur photographer. Yunior takes the diving tours as he is a diver himself.
They contribute to communities
I touch on this a lot, because it is very important to us!
It’s a must that communities are supported in a way they want to be supported. In our case that is through creating employment of our guides, using the services of Casas, paladars – this indirectly supports the farmers. Taking you to the local artists if it’s of an interest, so you can see their work and buy directly off them. You can directly see where your money goes, when you choose to travel sustainably.
You get to learn more
At same time, you are also enriching people’s lives by listening to their story and sharing yours. Great way to learn more!
There’s something about traveling yourself…But having a local guide and staying with locals gives you a deeper cultural immersion. You get to experience their everyday life and get immersed into the cultures and are provided with a different perspective.
Their side to the story can act as a trigger for thought on things like environmental issues and local socio-economic-political issues within the community.
They are a positive influence
They act as a bridge between cultures. They happily share their culture, whilst learn what you bring with you. Through this experience they can be a force for building positive relationships and an ambassador for their countries. By providing you a memorable experience, cultural immersion and fantastic insight, hopefully you can share your learnings with the world also!