The Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating Places - Changing Lives

The Geotourism Challenge

Celebrating Places - Changing Lives

Competition Information

Competition News

The National Geographic Society announced a three-year $25 million Global Geotourism Commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to transform travel and tourism worldwide. Ashoka Changemakers is delighted to partner with National Geographic in support of this goal. We and our WHL Travel partner invite everyone who travels or who works in the tourism industry to participate in the first annual National Geographic-Changemakers Collaborative Competition to identify the “geotourism heroes” and their travel innovations that are leading the geotourism field.

Welcome Letter

Welcome to the 2008 Geotourism Challenge!

Exploration is at the core of human nature. For thousands of years travel has been the source of unparalleled experiences. We express the wonder of discovering places in the exchange of photography, stories, music, craft, recipes, and design. As travelers, we gain wisdom and knowledge from this cross-cultural engagement.

In recent decades tourism has exploded into one of the largest, most all-pervasive industries on Earth. Hundreds of millions of us now travel. When done well, tourism can alleviate poverty, educate the public, and motivate preservation and conservation of unique cultural, natural, and historic resources.  But when done poorly, tourism may destroy environmental and cultural distinctiveness, perpetuate great disparities in wealth, and educate few.

National Geographic is committed to protecting the world’s distinctive places. To further our mission, we welcome you to the global Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating Places/Changing Lives, the first of three annual collaborative competitions in partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers.

The goal of the Geotourism Challenge is to identify and showcase innovators—individuals and organizations— that support the approach known as geotourism: “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

We invite you to participate in Ashoka’s Changemakers collaborative competition through several actions:

  • nominate candidates between December 13, 2007 and April 19, 2008;
  • enter the competition itself and encourage others to do so, starting January 30, 2008;
  • comment on entries in the online discussion, throughout the competition, to help tourism  innovators refine and improve their ideas;
  • vote for three Geotourism Challenge winners from a slate of finalists chosen by expert judges, starting May 28, 2008. 

Help us identify remarkable examples of innovation that demonstrate ways for tourism to do the most good and the least harm. We seek information on innovators from around the world and from every kind of enterprise, government, or organization–large and small– who are helping destinations benefit from tourism while protecting the assets that make their places special.

Who are the best Geotourism Challenge candidates? People and organizations that build community pride, increase knowledge about a place, help to protect or enrich the character of a place, and improve residents’ well-being.

Please share your knowledge with us and with the world. Even if you do not nominate a candidate or enter the competition, visit Ashoka’s Changemakers community discussion and comment online. If you are a traveler or tourism professional, you may already be working to improve a particular destination.  If you live there, you may be working to make your place more attractive–both for visitors and for the local population.  Your insights will be valuable and help shape the growing field of geotourism.  Together, we can move tourism toward a model that protects and enhances the world.

Including your favorite places.

Sincerely,

 

Jonathan B. Tourtellot
Director, Center for Sustainable Destinations
National Geographic

Guidelines and Criteria

Welcome to the Changemakers "Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating Places, Changing Lives" Collaborative Competition.


Eligibility Criteria


The competition will be open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:


  • Reflect the theme of the competition: geotourism. This competition is aimed at identifying the most innovative approaches in geotourism, which is defined by National Geographic as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place: its environment, heritage, culture, aesthetics, and the well-being of its residents.


  • Entries are invited from organizations in all countries.

  • We are looking for innovations that are beyond the idea stage.

  • Entries must be submitted in English or in Spanish and be complete in order to be eligible.


Assessment Criteria


The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:


  • Innovation: Your entry must describe how your program or activity is new and different. Please be clear and explicit: How is your innovation advancing tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents? This criterion is mandatory for inclusion in the Geotourism Challenge.

  • Social Impact: Your innovation must already be showing results. Your demonstrable success may be local, regional, or global. Regardless of extent, the innovation should show potential to affect the world and not just one place. Describe clearly and precisely how your innovation can be replicated and scaled up.

  • Sustainability/Viability: Your innovation must be self-sustaining to be effective. Explain your plan for financial and other bases of support for the long-term. Include not only current financing, but the business plan for the future. Describe as much as you are comfortable disclosing.


Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules


The phases in the competition are:


  • Entry Stage - January 30, 2008 to April 16, 2008: Entries can be submitted until 6 pm EST time on April 16, 2008. Online review and discussion can go on during this entire entry period. Entrants are strongly encouraged to consider feedback and edit and revise their blueprint throughout the entry period.

  • Online Review and Judging - April 17, 2008 to May 28, 2008: Online review and discussion continues. The Geotourism judging panel will select 7 to 15 finalists from the entry pool.

  • Voting - May 28, 2008 to June 11, 2008: The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award winners from the field of finalists. The voting period will end at 6:00 EST on June 11, 2008.

  • Winners Announced - June 17, 2008: The three finalists that receive the most votes will each receive a cash prize of US $5,000. All winners and finalists will be invited to join the National Geographic and Ashoka Changemakers Change Summit in fall 2008.


Participating in the competition provides the chance to receive feedback on your innovation from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges and the Changemakers community. Showcasing your work and the challenges involved in creating social impact advises potential investors about how best to change funding/investing patterns for the sector and to maximize the strategic impact and effectiveness of their future investments.


Disclaimer - Compliance with Legal Restrictions


Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.


For more information, contact geotourismchallenge@ashoka.org.

Discovery Framework

Mosaic of Solutions

The Geotourism Challenge:

Celebrating Places, Changing Lives

[Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, aesthetics, heritage, culture, and the well-being of its residents.]

(What is a Mosaic of Solutions™?)



Principles of Innovation

Main Barriers to Change

Lack of local input

Corporate monolithic approach to tourism

Lack of quality assurance Cross-cultural myopia

Lack of collaboration

Market authenticity

Kaanapali Beach Hotel, US
Using local managers and knowledge to become "most Hawaiian hotel."

Lucky Chhetri, Nepal
Training local rural women as mountaineers and trekking guides to meet the demand for female-led adventure tourism.
The Green Globe 21, UK
Starts certification with a lower standard to enlist mainstream tourism companies, but requires continuous improvement to maintain membership.




Peter Hartmann, Chile
Accrediting sustainable communities as "life reserves" and potential magnets for tourism.
Mihai Eminescue Trust, Romania
Marketing cultural traditions to revitalize dying community
Jurassic Coast, UK
Partnering with more than 200 local, national, and international stakeholders.
Develop community assets
ROSE, India
Providing enhanced health care and education for locals through volunteer-based tourism program.
    Turtle Island Resort, Fiji
Funding local schools that incorporate conservation curriculum.
Anil Chitraker, Nepal
Kathmandu 2020 enlisted schoolchildren to poll locals about what infrastructure/ goals were most integral to the city's future.
Establish community incentives Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET), The Gambia
Creating livelihoods for local poor in Gambia through tourism.



Tiberio Alloggio, Brazil
Creating worker co-ops in the Amazon that distribute tourism profits to the community from operating a sustainable hotel and other support services.

Mara Bergman, Latvia
Building a network of "Health Farms" as a new ecohealth tourism destination, allowing rural Latvian farmers to compete with large corporate farms.
  Calabash Trust & Tours, South Africa
Using township tours in South Africa as poverty reduction/
education strategy.
Thope Lekau, South Africa
Developing a collective entrepreneurship model in which businesses enlist other providers to serve tourists, distributing earnings equitably to local businesses.



Roland Martins, India
Organizing local businesses and service providers as a united trade group to lobby for responsible tourism.

Incorporate sustainable practices

Punta Cana Resort & Club, Dominican Republic
Using innovative xeriscaping to conserve water.



Aspen Skiing Co., U.S.
Using biodiesel snow groomers, green building techniques to lessen environmental impact.

Jadwiga Lopata, Poland
Turning family-run farms into destination organic farms.
Ana Paula Felizardo, Brazil
Creating a code against youth exploitation for tour operators and businesses, and a community-based system of monitoring and rewarding those companies that adhere to the Code.



Exodus, UK
Including supply chain in the integration of responsible geo-tourism practices.

Rakesh Jaiswal, India
Reconciling sacred ritual & tradition with environmental preservation of the Ganges river. Uses large religious festivals as an opportunity to educate pilgrims about conservation.
Napo Wildlife Center, Ecuador
Spawned political action group to protect a national park.



Bunaken National Marine Park, Indonesia
Created a co-operative involving 30,000 locals.

Educate through hands-on experience

S.L.N. Swamy, India
Making eco-tourism available to the poor and creating economic incentives (through co-ops) for the forest's tribal inhabitants to preserve their ecological heritage.
Anangu Tours, Australia
Indigenous guides lead tours on paths their ancestors walked, interpreting cave paintings and explaining foods and medicines, and teaching bush skills.
  Catalina Ruiz, Nicaragua
Providing opportunities for tourists to stay with local families, meet local leaders, and visit nature preserves.
Chantasit Boonyasaranai, Thailand
Organizing Thai youth trekking groups, camps and nature study clubs to encourage young people to preserve the natural resources they visit.


Geotourism Challenge: Developing tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place-its environment, aesthetics, heritage, culture, and the well-being of its residents.

Participate   • Discuss &nbsp • Read the Overall Framework of the Competition



Barriers:

  • Lack of local input: Communities often do not have input into the tourism options that spring up in their villages or cities; In many cases the profits and benefits that accrue from successful eco-tourism that leverages the locals' cultural heritage goes to developers and companies outside the community. As a result, locals are unlikely to innovate or take responsibility for local preservation. And their potential contribution as keepers of indigenous knowledge is lost.

  • Corporate monolithic approach to tourism: Competition from international tour operators or larger industries can crowd out local enterprises. Moreover, large corporations often (though not always) strive to create homogenized travel experiences which works against cultural variation and environmental preservation.

  • Lack of quality assurance: Because there is no standard rating or certification system, tourists lack a means of assurance that their travel experience with a given destination will live up to the hype, and that the facility is, indeed, a business that meets basic criteria for the way it promotes and protects the environment and surrounding community. From the communities' perspective, international tourism in some countries is associated with exploitation - either sexual or environmental. As a result, many local communities may be understandably wary of organized tours. Lax government regulation may increase concerns as well.

  • Cross-cultural myopia: Travelers are often stuck in the mode of experiencing "home away from home" as opposed to being open to an authentically different culture and place. Education, along with well-designed experiences, help a traveler connect to the value of "different" as opposed to the more easily observed discomfort of "different." That awareness broadens the consumer base for geo-tourism. Additionally, the local communities hosting geotourism destinations may need to awaken to both the value of their own culture from the perspective of outsiders and the need to preserve what to them might be considered boringly familiar.

  • Lack of collaboration: Businesses and service providers in tourist destinations, particularly those that crop up without planning or foresight, often compete with each other for incremental sales to tourists, driving opportunistic practices.. In addition, businesses throughout the supply chain often do not coordinate with each other or with communities or governments to consider long-term tourism strategies. Collaboration among companies and destinations on a national and international level is also rare.


Principles of Innovation

  • Market authenticity: Establishing comparative advantage is a cardinal rule of business, especially so in tourism. Geotourism capitalizes on the skill and aesthetics of long-standing local industries and turns those into a desirable destination.

  • Develop community assets: Community assets can come in the form of labor, natural resources or industries (and their associated skills). Instead of communities resigning themselves to losing out to bigger industries or other communities, simple repositioning can turn a community into a destination. For example, training and employing local marginalized groups to meet tourist demand can revive a community's ability to serve responsible travelers.

  • Establish community incentives: Ideally, communities are enlisted as stakeholders in the geo-trade business of a particular destination. Ensuring that tourism revenues also support the local economy is a key principle of geotourism. One way to assure investment in the local community is to establish co-operatives or other business structures that automatically direct and re-invest revenues into the activities and locations that are part of the authentic context of a place's geo-tourist identity.

  • Incorporate sustainable practices: Either intentionally or unwittingly, sometimes tourism can cause more harm than good. Youth sexual exploitation, poorly planned land management, and cultural practices that erode natural resources are just a few examples of unintended consequences. Adopting sustainable practices can help communities and tour operators ensure that tourism does not lead to, or grow from, exploitation.

  • Educate through hands-on experience: First hand experiences with local families, politics and businesses helps tourists gain cultural understanding. Such experiences can be crucial also for domestic residents who are unfamiliar with the value of their country's cultural and natural resources. Both in terms of pedagogy and outcomes, experiential learning is a powerful way to engage people as future volunteers, customers and stewards.



Short Descriptions of Mosaic Cases



  1.   Kaanapali Beach Hotel
  2. Country: U.S.


    Website: http://www.kbhmaui.com



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    The Kaanapali Beach Hotel, by crafting and adhering to a mission statement committing its management to Hawaiian family values, ensures that it is a truly authentic Hawaiian hotel. The Hotel founded the Ke Kula o Ka Pookela or School of Excellence in order that all hotel workers could be united in understanding what it means to be Hawaiian. Employees spend approximately 60,000 company hours in cultural instruction and the hotel has several programs that proactively support Hawaiian culture to both visitors and locals. For example, the hotel hosts a 3-day festival of Hawaiian arts, called Hula O Na Keiki, which has become a highly popular tourist attraction. Recently, the Waiaha Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture, adjudged the hotel as Hawaii's Most Hawaiian Hotel. In the selection process, the Waiaha Foundation acknowledged the unique pioneering role that Kaanapali Beach Hotel personnel play in helping to preserve and nurture the rich culture and history of the indigenous islanders.

    Go back to the mosaic




  3.   Lucky Chhetri
  4. Organization: 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking (P) Ltd


    Country: Nepal


    Website: www.3sistersadventure.com



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Corporate monolithic approach to tourism

    Through her adventure tourism outfit, Ashoka Fellow Lucky Chhetri is training poor village women to become professional trekking and tourism guides for female trekkers in Nepal. The program is positively impacting upon the economic, social and ecological fabric of the community, and is freeing women from the shackles of a patriarchal society. Trainees learn about issues related to the ecology of their region and how to be active in environmental preservation and to spread that culture to trekkers. Chhetri has partnered with the Nepal Tourism Board and the Travel Agents Association of Nepal to reach a larger constituency and her work has now moved beyond Nepal's borders to neighbors India and Tibet.

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  5.   The Green Globe
  6. Country: Global


    Website: www.greenglobe.org



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of quality assurance

    Green Globe 21 Certification has been designed to achieve environmental, social and cultural improvements at the global, national and local scales. It is attractive to the tourism industry because it targets the achievement of significant savings through an integrated and systematic approach to reducing energy consumption, decreasing waste generation and lowering the use of potable water. The Certification scheme deals with the entire travel and tourism industry; yet it has developed the flexibility to take into account the specifics of different travel and tourism operations in different sectors. Green Globe provides a tool that enables travel and tourism businesses to benchmark their environmental performance and measure real environmental improvements. If an operation is benchmarked it is encouraged to proceed to full certification.

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  7.   Peter Hartmann
  8. Organization: CODEFF (The National Committee for the Defense of Flora and Fauna)


    Country: Chile


    Website: www.codeff.cl



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of quality assurance

    In 1984, while working on a development plan for Aysen, a small city in southern Chile, Ashoka Fellow Peter Hartmann coined the phrase "Aysen, Reserva de Vida" ("Aysen, Life Reserve") to evoke the image of a healthy, vital community. He subsequently went on to give meaningful, substantive content to the increasingly recognized "Life Reserve" label and to use it as an effective instrument for encouraging public participation in decision-making on environment-related issues and stimulating sound environmental policies in Chile. This includes developing an accreditation procedure that confine the use of the "Life Reserve" designation to communities that meet a well-defined and demanding set of standards, thereby attracting eco-sensitive tourists and ensuring sustainable development.

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  9.   Mihai Eminescu Trust
  10. Country: Romania


    Website: www.mihaieminescutrust.org



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Cross-cultural myopia

    The Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET) is dedicated to the conservation and regeneration of villages and communes in Transylvania and the Maramures - regions that have remained virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. In the post-Communist era, much of Romania's countryside came under threat from agricultural collapse, the abandonment of houses and a lack of awareness of the value of this endangered heritage. To combat this trend, MET has introduced tourism to the area in a manner that minimizes its impact and brings direct benefit to the community. Working with the Trust, villagers run guesthouses, organize guided nature tours and walks, and hire out carts and horses. The MET's activities have given these villages a new lease of life and slowed down migration. In 2006 MET won the Austrian Government's award for ecologically sound travel in Europe.

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  11.   Jurassic Coast
  12. Country: UK


    Website: www.jurassiccoast.com



    Mosaic Principle: Market authenticity


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    In the UK, the Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Dorset, with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth's history, and enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The World Heritage Steering Group has ensured that the unique aspects of this site are preserved and accessible to large numbers of visitors by bringing in multiple organizations-from public transport authorities to bed and breakfast providers-to function collaboratively in providing all tourist amenities while adhering to conservation guidelines. Some 200 stakeholders, both national and international, work in partnership toward this end, including Dorset County Council, Devon County Council, South West Regional Development Agency, and Natural England.

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  13.   Rural Organisation for Social Elevation (ROSE)
  14. Country: India


    Website: www.rosekanda.info



    Mosaic Principle: Develop community assets


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    ROSE's ecotourism activities ensure that visitors to Kanda in the Kumaon hills do not contribute to cultural erosion or add to existing environmental or social pressures. On the contrary, tourists are not only offered an experience that allows them a feel of rural India in a mutually respectful ambience, but they get the satisfaction of contributing to the local economy and ecology. Tourists typically live with local families from one week to up to six months and assist in various on-farm and off-farm activities. Additionally, through patronizing local shops, paying for local transport, and pitching in their own resource for projects, tourists bring money into a relatively isolated community where it is likely to be recycled for longer-adding a small 'injection' to the local economy with little leakage.

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  15.   Turtle Island Resorts
  16. Country: Fiji


    Website: www.turtlefiji.com



    Mosaic Principle: Develop community assets


    Mosaic Barrier: Cross-cultural myopia

    Believing that social change is best engineered through community involvement, with children having the edge over adults in driving social change, Ashoka Fellow and environmentalist Anil Chitrakar launched the Kathmandu 2020 program to design and come up with solutions for key issues facing Nepal's capital. He mobilized children and youths in the valley to ask two critical questions of the city's citizens: In what kind of city do you want to live in 2020? What will you do within the next two weeks to enable it? This sparked a veritable movement, with Kathmandu's citizens starting up project after project to realize their mission that included infrastructure, education, career development, and the preservation of Nepal's historical and natural heritage.

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  17.   Anil Chitrakar
  18. Organization: Kathmandu 2020


    Country: Nepal


    Website: www.socialprofitnetwork.org/cs/anil.shtml



    Mosaic Principle: Develop community assets


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    Believing that social change is best engineered through community involvement, with children having the edge over adults in driving social change, Ashoka Fellow and environmentalist Anil Chitrakar launched the Kathmandu 2020 program to design and come up with solutions for key issues facing Nepal's capital. He mobilized children and youths in the valley to ask two critical questions of the city's citizens: In what kind of city do you want to live in 2020? What will you do within the next two weeks to enable it? This sparked a veritable movement, with Kathmandu's citizens starting up project after project to realize their mission that included infrastructure, education, career development, and the preservation of Nepal's historical and natural heritage.

    Go back to the mosaic




  19.   Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET)
  20. Country: The Gambia


    Website: www.asset-gambia.com



    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    The Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) was established in 2000 to bring together, advocate for, and promote numerous small enterprises active in Gambia's tourism industry. This includes: craft market vendors, taxi drivers, official guides, fruit sellers, guesthouses, etc. ASSET won the Best for Poverty Reduction award during the First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards 2005. ASSET now has a membership of 80-plus organizations, has hosted an international Fair Trade in Tourism conference, and has been recognized by the Gambia Tourism Authority as an important voice for the previously voiceless. It is a leading player in the Gambian Responsible Tourism Partnership program, which brings together principal stakeholders in the tourism industry (government, tour operators, ground handlers, hoteliers and small scale businesses) to ensure that the adverse impacts of tourism are minimized and that local communities gain maximum benefits. ASSET's future goals include development and implementation of industry-wide standards.

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  21.   Tiberio Alloggio
  22. Organization: ASPAC (The Silves Association for Environmental and Cultural Preservation)


    Country: Brazil


    Website: www.saudeealegria.org.br



    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    In Brazil's Amazon region, Ashoka Fellow Tiberio Alloggio founded ASPAC (The Silves Association for Environmental and Cultural Preservation) to promote community-based activities that are sensitive to local ecology, yet profitable. The most successful initiative is the region's first self-sustaining, community-run ecotourism model: the Hotel Comunitario Aldeia dos Lagos (the Village of the Lakes Community Hotel) which places the control of all operations and support services of the ecotourist initiatives in the hands of local cooperatives. Local residents involve themselves in every level of project management and reap the multiple benefits. The hotel model generates income-the distribution of which is under the direct control of community members themselves-and helps shield the environment from destruction. ASPAC incorporates job training, applied social and scientific research, handicrafts and micro-enterprise, all focused on promoting traditional mores and preserving the environment.

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  23.   Mara Bergman
  24. Organization: ASPAC (The Silves Association for Environmental and Cultural Preservation)


    Country: Latvia


    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Corporate monolithic approach to tourism

    Mara Bergman is building a network of "Health Farms" to promote ecohealth tourism and revive the economic condition of small Latvian farmers, equipping them to compete with large farms, and in an EU context. This Ashoka Fellow uses the Health Farm model and brand name to attract visitors searching for an ecohealth tourism experience. Although visitors come to enjoy the rural lifestyle, they also gain a deeper understanding of nutrition, organic farming, and healthcare. During their stay visitors access a full range of local organic products which creates a demand for such foods, giving local farming a major boost and revitalizing these agrarian communities.

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  25.   Calabash Trust & Tours
  26. Country: South Africa


    Website: www.calabashtours.co.za


    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Cross-cultural myopia

    Firmly anchored to principles of responsible and pro-poor tourism thinking, Calabash Tours in South Africa allows visitors to access, understand and appreciate the social history of poor Black township communities. Their tours are accredited by Fair Trade Tourism South Africa. This guarantees the visitor that communities benefit, are involved in decision-making, and are happy to welcome them. Calabash Trust (a non-profit sister organization) manages the fundraising and community development projects geared to poverty reduction and education in the townships that Calabash works with. Projects cover schooling, vocational training, nutrition and food security, and HIV/AIDS programs.

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  27.   Thope Lekau
  28. Organization: Kopanong Bed and Breakfast


    Country: South Africa


    Website: www.kopanong-township.co.za


    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    Thope Lekau has developed a socially responsible business - the Kopanong Bed and Breakfast - in Khayelitsha township, Cape Town. This Ashoka Fellow's bed-and-breakfast attracts large numbers of local and international visitors to sample traditional African cuisine, enjoy cultural performances, and become immersed in enlivened history-telling. Lekau is introducing a new type of entrepreneurship model to the townships, one that consciously markets the uniqueness of the local environment for the benefit of both township residents and international visitors alike. To promote community development as a whole, she works with businesses outside the tourism sector (vegetable vendors, craft sellers), but those who also can benefit from tourists coming to her establishment. She has developed an entrepreneurial training module for women and youth that gives hands-on training in starting and running sustainable businesses that benefit the individual and the entire community.

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  29.   Roland Martins
  30. Organization: GOADESC


    Country: India


    Website: www.goadesc.org


    Mosaic Principle: Establish community incentives


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    In Goa, a tourist haven, tourism brings in incomes for about 20 percent of the local population. Indirectly, many more people are served by this industry. However, less than 15 percent of the state's annual tourism revenue feeds back into the local economy. To counter this anomaly, Ashoka Fellow Roland Martins is training small service providers in the tourism industry to organize trade associations to ensure that tourism revenues filter back into the local economy by bargaining with local governments and lobbying for beneficial trade regulations, and to oppose policies that threaten not only their businesses, but also Goa's unique texture of life, culture, and environment that is the main reason that tourists travel there. To this end, Martins is forging alliances among small service providers, the middle classes of Goa, and local governments to spur a citizens' movement to promote responsible tourism.

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  31.   Punta Cana Resort and Club
  32. Country: Dominican Republic


    Website: www.puntacana.com


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    The Punta Cana Resort and Club actively researches and implements innovative environmental good practices in its day-to-day operations. For example, in the Punta Cana Golf Club, the use of seashore paspalum hybrid grass permits the environmentally sound practice of combining seawater and recycled fresh water to irrigate the grounds. In another example of xeriscaping, recycled water is also used to irrigate the hotel's gardens. The efforts by the resort in the areas of water conservation, land preservation, and marine life protection in the Dominican Republic won it a Commitment to Excellence Award in 2007 from the Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. The Puntacana group, through their Ecological Foundation, has been a pioneer in sustainable tourism for over 35 years. It seeks to protect and restore the region's natural resources, provides jobs, educational opportunities and livelihoods for locals, and promotes the vibrant culture of the Dominican Republic.

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  33.   Aspen Ski Company (ASC)/Snowmass
  34. Country: USA


    Website: www.aspensnowmass.com


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    USA-based Snowsports corporate, The Aspen Ski Company (ASC)/Snowmass, makes extensive use of green technology and practices to minimize environmental damage as a result of operations. Its snow vehicles (snowcats) run on clean, renewable biodiesel. ASC made the first wind power purchase in the U.S. ski industry, and then became the first large ski resort to buy renewable wind power credits equivalent to its total electricity use. It has the only green building policy in the snow sports industry. The policy resulted in projects like the Snowmass Golf Clubhouse, which is heated and cooled using a pond on the course, and is one of Colorado's most energy efficient commercial buildings. It won the 2005 Green Power Purchaser Award for On-Site Power Generation and was the first American ski resort to achieve ISO 14001 - the international third-party certification of an organization's environmental management program.

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  35.   Jadwiga Lopata
  36. Organization: ECEAT European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism


    Country: Poland


    Website: www.poland.eceat.org


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Corporate monolithic approach to tourism

    Jadwiga Lopata has created a system of eco-farms throughout Poland where visitors can vacation and learn about the environmental and health benefits of organically grown food. This Ashoka Fellow's projects are designed to protect family farms and promote organic agriculture. The increasing demand for organic food, ecological housing and environmentally friendly fuels offers small farmers a way to remain competitive and viable. Lopata works with ECEAT-Poland and ICPP to provide training in organic agriculture, ecological tourism and the development of local markets. These eco-farms attract thousands of tourists from across Europe every year and participating farmers get an average of 20 percent of their income from eco-tourism. The ECEAT approach has now been established successfully in other European countries.

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  37.   Ana Paula Felizardo
  38. Organization: Resposta


    Country: Brazil


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of quality assurance

    Ashoka Fellow Ana Paula Felizardo created the Brazilian Tourism Code Against Child and Adolescent Sexual Exploitation. It is a formal declaration of voluntary adherence that combats the sexual exploitation of minors by guiding and regulating the ethical conduct of companies, citizens, and services linked to the tourism industry. Through her citizen organization Resposta, she broadened the code's scope and created a system of monitoring and rewarding those companies that adhere to the code. Resposta targets businesses linked to tourism and their employees, national and international tourists, taxi drivers, tourism students, and civil society. By framing the problem as a community problem, Felizardo encourages members to invest their time and energy into an effort that will ultimately benefit them. Like a neighborhood watch program, community members cooperate to monitor sexual exploitation and report businesses or individuals that are engaged, directly or indirectly, in the industry.

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  39.   Exodus Tours
  40. Country: UK


    Website: www.exodus.co.uk


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of quality assurance

    UK-based Exodus Tours adheres to a well-articulated responsible tourism policy that actively includes the supply chain in integrating good geo-tourism practices. The company works closely with all its overseas partners to try and ensure that all components of its operations promote sustainable tourism. It uses local suppliers wherever possible and provides regular and ongoing training in the principles and practices of responsible tourism, both to head office staff and those employed directly or indirectly around the world. It aims to ensure that its type and scale of tourism is appropriate to local conditions and does not overload local infrastructure and takes into consideration economic, environmental and cultural issues when looking at new destinations. It also works towards achieving zero litter policies everywhere and minimizing water and atmospheric pollution from any specific tourism development.

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  41.   Rakesh Jaiswal
  42. Organization: Eco Friends


    Country: India


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Cross-cultural myopia

    The sacred Ganges attracts pilgrims and tourists alike and, in spite of the government's Ganga Action Plan, the river continues to be highly polluted, thus endangering the survival of those who are dependent on the health of the river. Ashoka fellow Rakesh Jaiswal has brought together religious leaders, scientists, students, journalists, public officers, lawyers, and other groups in cleaning up the river and in ensuring long-term environmental changes that will benefit the area and the communities that live there. One effective strategy are the awareness-raising camps that his organization conducts during the many religious festivals that take place along the river's banks, which highlight the pollution caused by festivals, rituals, and funeral rites. The camps have also succeeded in getting religious leaders to denounce religious practices harmful to the holiest of holy rivers.

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  43.   Napo Wildlife Center
  44. Country: Ecuador


    Website: www.napowildlifecenter.com


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    Situated within the Yasuni National Park (designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) in Ecuador, Napo Wildlife Center's eco-tourism lodge is a conservation project resulting directly from the local community coming together to stop the rampant deforestation that threatened to destroy the innate value of their lands and their traditional ways of life. This robust political movement has saved 82 square miles of pristine rainforest. The lodge is owned and operated by the local indigenous community - the Añangu - and over 90 per cent of the workforce belongs to this tribe. Profits from the lodge go to the community whose democratic political structure decides how the money will be spent. The primary expenditure is conservation activities, education and health care. The income from the lodge allows the community to continue to resist the constant pressures of logging, market hunting and oil extraction.

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  45.   Bunaken National Marine Park
  46. Country: Indonesia


    Website: www.bunaken.info, www.sulawesi-info.com/bunaken.php


    Mosaic Principle: Incorporate sustainable practices


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    The aquatic ecosystem of the Bunaken National Marine Park is what attracts most naturalists, and it is now one of Indonesia's top marine ecotourism destinations. The Park's co-management initiative developed an effective and sustainably-financed model of multi-stakeholder co-management of the park, in which it drew in representatives from national, provincial and local government agencies, village stakeholders, the private tourism sector, dive resort operators, local nature groups, tourists, scientists, and environmental NGOs. However, what tipped the balance in achieving this goal was when they brought together the over 30,000 villagers around the Park vicinity (who would reap the benefits of sustainable tourism) as a single community with a strong sense of awareness and ownership of the valuable but threatened marine resources in the park. Community conservation campaigns in schools, mosques and churches further helped to strengthen effective local support for and pride in conservation initiatives. The Park has received the Tourism for Tomorrow Award and the UN Equator Prize.

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  47.   S.L.N. Swamy
  48. Organization: The Adventurers


    Country: India


    Mosaic Principle: Educate through hands-on experience


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of local input

    In India, Ashoka Fellow SLN Swamy is using eco-tourism to inculcate eco-consciousness in people across every social class, occupation, background, and age. His organization, The Adventurers, offers land, water and air expeditions with the goal of building awareness of environmental threats, where participants eventually commit themselves to the environmental cause and build new habits in response to this awareness as eco-managers. Equally impressive is how he is also creating economic incentives for the forest's tribal inhabitants to preserve their ecological heritage.

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  49.   Anangu Waai! Tours
  50. Country: Australia


    Website: www.ananguwaai.com.au


    Mosaic Principle: Educate through hands-on experience


    Mosaic Barrier: Corporate monolithic approach to tourism

    Australia-based Anangu Waai! Tours, an Aboriginal owned and operated marketing and management company was started by the indigenous people of Uluru to give visitors a unique insight into the culture and laws of the native people. Visitors can opt for Walking Tours through the bush land that allows them to retrace the paths of the ancestors, visit ancient Aboriginal pilgrimage sites and hear the legends associated with each place. They can watch demonstrations of age-old bush skills such as glue making and take in the painted caves of the Mala People while learning of their complex rituals.

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  51.   Catalina Ruiz
  52. Country: Nicaragua


    Mosaic Principle: Educate through hands-on experience


    Mosaic Barrier: Cross-cultural myopia

    Catalina Ruiz,'s socially responsible tourism programs in Nicaragua generates revenue for poor communities while giving visitors hands-on knowledge about the region and its people. This Ashoka Fellow's Learning in the Community initiative addresses the need both to expose impoverished people to positive, external influences and to increase the developed world's awareness of the most underserved populations' socioeconomic potential. The host community is given all the training and business skills needed to build, market and operate an eco-tourism enterprise. Over the course of a five-day trip, tour groups stay with local families, visit a nature reserve, meet with local leaders, and attend workshops in which they explore different ways to form more permanent relationships with their host communities.

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  53.   Chantasit Boonyasaranai
  54. Organization: Nature Tour Guide


    Country: Thailand


    Mosaic Principle: Educate through hands-on experience


    Mosaic Barrier: Lack of collaboration

    Ashoka Fellow Chantasit Boonyasaranai is providing Thai youth with the opportunity to actively study and interact with nature and to develop a sense of responsibility toward their environment. His organization, Nature Tour Guide, has established several nature study clubs, trekking groups and camps for youth . These activities develop leadership and environmental awareness, as well as hone practical problem-solving skills. The activities take place in a variety of settings, from national parks to wildlife sanctuaries to nature and wildlife education stations, and are subsidized by income earned from a guided nature walks service. The project also coordinates its activities with groups of teachers who attend a training camp to learn conservation skills and to understand how to explain conservation to their students.

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