ETG helps community flourish
In 1999 Pater David Kereto, a Maasai leader, walked into Tourism Concern’s office on London’s Holloway Road to tell us about his dream of supporting his community, displaced from their lands by the creation of a National Park, through small scale tourism.
Repositioned around the edge of the park, his community could see the wealthy tourists pass by on their way to enjoy the pleasures of the luxury lodges - built where they used to graze their cattle. Determined to benefit from the tourism economy, they sold some precious cows to set up a simple camping site aimed at those who wanted an authentic safari experience but who might be unable to afford the high fees of the national park.
His main problem was how to tell the tourists about his campsite. With no resources to pay for brochures, no technical skills to use the web, no knowledge of the tourism distribution networks and isolated from the tour operators, it seemed an insurmountable obstacle. Men were sent to stand on the nearest road to try and attract passing tourists, but most were there through previously booked tours and only a trickle of people came to the site.
So Tourism Concern included their campsite in the pioneering Good Alternative Travel Guide, the predecessor to our current publication, The Ethical Travel Guide. When David returned to London in 2004 the simple campsite comprising of four tents and a toilet had grown considerably. They could now accommodate 120 people in bandas – self contained tents. They were sponsoring children to go to secondary school, including 40 HIV orphans. They had a four wheel drive vehicle totransport visitors to the campsite and a support programme for young women escaping domestic violence. They were able to employ people all year round. Following the campsite's entry in the subsequent Ethical Travel Guide, there are plans to build a school and a pharmacy. The community is flourishing.
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