When you book a tour with Rebecca Adventure Travel, you contribute to responsible tourism in Ecuador. Along with EcuaFina, its responsible trade partner and luxury fairtrade alpaca wool products, they have worked closely with different charities and foundations. In 2022, the plan is to partner with the Sponsor a School (Apadrina una Escuela) strategy in order to contribute to the community through education.
Responsible tourism is a decision to take action on making tourism more sustainable. Even so, it’s a compromise to contribute to making communities’ lives better. Thus, ensuring that tourists have more enjoyable experiences. This decision requires that travelers, operators, hoteliers, governments, and communities take responsibility.
In the past few years, travelers have become more conscious about their impact on the environment and local communities. Aware travelers are very important because they contribute to the creation of tourist services that focus on sustainable development goals. In that sense, Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina have bet on designing community-based tours that contribute directly to the local families and their businesses.
Responsible travelers choose sustainable options
If you’re a responsible traveler, you prefer to book tours and buy products from companies that have a direct liaison with local communities. Also, you want to know if you are really contributing to a sustainable touristic option. By taking action, you are supporting an effort to maintain sustainable tourism in Ecuador.
Therefore, when you choose Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina, you become an ally of locally managed and environmentally responsible businesses. For instance, we prefer to work with family-owned hotels and transportation that stimulate the local economy and intercultural learning when tourists come to visit South America.
Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina work closely with the community
Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina have contributed to foundations and charities since their beginnings in 2014. For example, the team volunteered at social initiatives such as Local Dreamers foundation in the South of Quito, and Banco de Alimentos Quito (an alternative solution to food waste in the city).
Also, in 2016, Rebecca Adventure Travel received donations after an earthquake rocked Ecuador’s coast. In Canoa, a small town in Manabi province, the primary school of Quemadito has been rebuilt thanks to donation funds gathered by Rebecca Adventure Travel. The Quemadito school was reopened in June 2016.
“To me, responsible tourism is to have an immersive cultural exchange by learning something at the same time as tourists teach something to the community,” concluded Rebecca. “We have travelers from the United States, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and many more. By implementing a Responsible Travel Strategy, we aim to show them the Ecuadorian culture a little bit more than just a vacation.”
Responsible Travel Strategy
Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina are interested in allying with co-responsible projects that contribute to the sustainable tourism ecosystem. When companies bet on local communities, they are contributing to the development of a country.
For Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina, participating in projects that include the community is a way to contribute to the development of a country that has unlimited tourism potential. Therefore, when you book a Rebecca Adventure Travel custom tour or buy an EcuaFina Alpaca product, you become an active actor towards sustainable development in Ecuador.
Moreover, the Responsible Travel Strategy is based on two objectives:
- Intercultural learning between local communities and travelers
- Diminishing travel influence on the environment by using eco-friendly suppliers.
Responsible tourism must support education
“If you want to change the country you live in, you should start by improving education,” said Rebecca Braak, Founder of Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina. “We aim to give back in the best way we can to the Ecuadorian community. The community is our best ally at the moment of promoting tourism,” Rebecca explained during the team’s visit to Unidad Educativa Antonio de Ulloa school, in Puembo, a small town near Quito city, the capital of Ecuador. The school is part of the Sponsor a School strategy presented by the Ministry of Education of Ecuador.
Antonio de Ulloa school has 297 students, ages 5 to 15 years old. The day Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina team visited the school, a group of teenage bastoneras (cheerleaders) was practicing a dance choreography for a civic parade they had that weekend.
A few meters away, the marching band was also rehearsing the traditional tunes they would play while they accompanied the cheerleaders‘ dancing group. They played cymbals, trumpets, drums, saxophone, and clarinet, among other instruments.
Responsible travel upholds community initiatives
After many months of confinement and virtual education, because of Covid-19, the students were finally going to perform for a large crowd on May 24th, a national holiday in Ecuador that commemorates the Battle of Pichincha. Consequently, for teenagers, music, and dance can be a source of inspiration and joy.
Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina aspire to support the development of artistic performances in young people. “We have a caring responsibility to the community as a whole. For instance, we hope to boost artistic initiatives that contribute to the development of tourism in Ecuador,” explained Rebecca.
Give back to the community by contributing to educational initiatives
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ecuadorian government had to focus its efforts mainly on the health sector. Even though coronavirus spread was controlled, it also meant allocating less budget for other social sectors, such as education. The country had to face new challenges in virtual and hybrid education.
As a result, Ecuadorian students, families, teachers, and administrators embraced change and came up with resilient projects. Therefore, families took an active role in maintaining their children’s schools. This shows that schools are more than academic institutions. They are spaces that invigorate the community and generate co-responsibility with all society’s actors.
In that sense, the Ministry of Education presented the Sponsor a School strategy. The strategic objective is to articulate the actions of civil society, the public sector, private companies, international cooperation, and the community to improve the conditions of education in the country.
“We see the crisis as an opportune moment to promote transformations for the benefit of children and adolescents,” explained Minister María Brown in a press conference.
The five ways to support the Sponsor a School strategy are:
- Donation of school supplies
- Provision of technology and connectivity
- Food for the school
- Construction and repowering of infrastructure
- Comprehensive intervention, that includes pedagogical and community support
Contribute to tourism that looks for sustainability
Aligned with the responsible tourism objectives, Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina are looking for the best way to support the community of Puembo. This solidarity effort is based on the needs of the school. Hence, Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina will contribute from the core knowledge of both companies: sustainable tourism.
“We want to start with the youngest. Teach them how to speak English, work with a computer, eat healthily, have a hobby that brings them joy… the ultimate objective is to help them become independent and happy, so they can have responsible families in the future,” said Rebecca. “In that sense, we want to show tourists that a holiday is not only for enjoying this beautiful country but also to contribute and give back. We hope our tourists can play an active role in teaching locals, bringing them computers, instruments, etc.”
Responsible travel objectives aligned
The responsible travel goals of Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina are to be as sustainable, socially, ecologically, and economically responsible as possible. The next steps for Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina are:
- Crowdfunding campaign to raise money to improve the infrastructure of Unidad Educativa Antonio de Ulloa. The school needs maintenance of roofs, washroom facilities, and cisterns. Also, the replacement of the electrical system, change of floors, and placement of new pipes.
- Organize a Minga, or “collective work” in Quechua. Therefore, Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina teams can help clean, paint, plant trees, clean the gutters, and change bulbs, among other works needed inside the school facilities.
How can tourists help the community?
- Inspire tourists to volunteer as English teachers for students and families. Courses can be given in the school facilities. Students can get motivated to keep their institution in the best condition possible. That way, travelers can get closer to the community and learn more about Ecuadorian culture and traditions while engaging directly with young people.
- Motivate tourists to give away electronic devices. Visitors can donate tablets, smartphones, or laptops in good conditions that they are no longer using.
- Organize tourism courses for students and families who have restaurants, hotels, or any other type of tourist business. The objective is to help the community develop good policies and implement better customer services. Ultimately, the goal is that the businesses can become vendors and providers for Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina.
- Coordinate technical and craft training for students and families.
- Organize courses to teach the community about the trade of handmade products.
Do your part and support education in Ecuador by preferring sustainable tourism options! Rebecca Adventure Travel and EcuaFina lead practices that directly impact communities, the environment, and travelers. If you want to make a difference, you can support responsible tourism in Ecuador by choosing tourism operators that follow sustainable practices.
Every time you book with Rebecca Adventure Travel or by a product from EcuaFina, you have a direct impact on improving education within local communities in Ecuador. Thanks in advance for your support!
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