When sustainable tourism meets microfinance

4 December, 2018 0

Is it possible that tourism can contribute to poverty alleviation in our world?

We say –  “Yes, it is!”

Foto: © Alternative Peru

So, let us explain what we mean by that:

It has become more accessible than ever before to travel from one point of the world to another, experiencing different cultures and using a variety of opportunities that are exposed to us. Family and friends, voluntarily dispersed over the world as a whole becomes more and more habitual and does not prevent us from seeing each other rarely.
More than ever, it has become a significant part to find ways and solutions to turn these global changes into a useful tool to transform this world into a better place, fighting back poverty and destitution. Therefore, the travel industry has opened its doors to various sustainable tourism businesses, contributing to a world of good.
How can our increasingly globalised world and the powerful travel and tourism industry serve to fight poverty?

The Ph.D. research into “Microfinance Tourism and Poverty Alleviation” analyses the extent to which Microfinance Tourism serves as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries and provides recommendations for the practical development of it.

As an influential social impact Startup in the tourism industry, Authenticitys participated in this research. Besides, the first social enterprise of our Co-founder and social entrepreneur Elena Rodriguez Blanco was about microfinance and tourism and thus, provided the research professional information on the issue.

Microfinance tourism is the intent to engage tourists and tourism organisations to find solutions and possibilities for poverty issues.

The vision of microfinance-related goals seeks to assist men and women living in poverty to engage in different projects, to develop personal capabilities and skills and of course, to gain basic needs through financial provisions.

In a way, it can “positively influence the global structures (including exploitative and/or unjust tourism structures) that exaggerate and/or perpetuate poverty” and provide also to tourists and tourism organizations social responsible alternatives.

What happens when tourism meets microfinance?

One can say that microfinance tourism is capable of offering, beyond alternative tourism experiences, positive socio-political solutions that contribute to poverty alleviation by engaging tourists and local communities to collaborate.
As a matter of fact – microfinance organisations and associations can offer people living in poverty the necessary financial and educational support to be integrated into entrepreneurial activities. Thus, in this sense, tourism can reduce poverty by introducing economic and educational development solutions.
Here’s an example of how one unique microfinance organisation in Peru is building a unique relationship between tourists and regional indigenous groups:
One of the intercultural experiences Authenticitys offers is an alternative guided tour through the outskirts of the city Cusco. Here is, where you get to know the other side of the city with a guide that leads you through the local neighbourhoods‘ off-the-beaten-path’.

Foto: © Alternative Peru

This specific experience will take you to the higher areas of the city, where the ‘pueblos Jovenes’ have settled. It is a tour where you will meet the organisation ‘Asociación Pro Vivienda’ that gives you relevant background information about the local communities of the area, the history, and their lives.
This intercultural encounter with local Cusqueños focuses on current topics like cultural recognition, discrimination, environmental problems, and other social obstacles. Through this project organisation it is not only possible to connect people of different cultural backgrounds and engage local people in a tourism organisation, but also to invest in the local economy and support a local social project that contributes to better the socio-political conditions of the communities. The goal is to foster the intercultural encounter between tourists and local people and to engage the local people to collaborate in a tourism organisation that profits for both sides- tourists and locals.
Tourism that leaves a positive impact – it is a unique chance to get in touch with the locals, exchange your visions, ideas, and experiences in life and thus, to support and assist people in the communities to engage in different social projects.
 Thinking together, in the long run, will not only provide unique experiences and better transform the tourism industry- what is more, it enables sustainable solutions that fight poverty and support communities at the margin of society to get integrated and stand up for themselves.
Is it possible that tourism can contribute to poverty alleviation in our world?
We say – “Yes, it is!” And much more than that.

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