Socotra Island Adventures - Discover the Unspoiled Beauty of Socotra Island

Socotra Island Adventures - Discover the Unspoiled Beauty of Socotra Island

Hadiboh, Yemen
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Though tourism is a young industry on Socotra Island, Socotra Adventure Tours is consistently working to develop effective environmental awareness while providing exciting, customized tours to our clientele. We pride ourselves on our pursuit of sustainable tourism by hiring locals, which has numerous positive results on the local economy and quality of life. We believe that by positively impacting our guides, we will greatly affect those that they take care of – the tourist. There are many challenges facing the Socotra natives, including health care and waste management. By educating our clients on the rich biodiversity of Socotra, while exposing them to the needs of the local ...

About You
Contact Information
Title

Mr.

First name

Jacob

Last name

Critz

Your job title

Sales and Marketing Division

Name of your organization

Socotra Adventure Tours

Organization type

DBT Agency for Ecotourism Services

Annual budget/currency

Annual Budget/Currency

Mailing address

20 Main Street - P.O. Box 111

Telephone number

967-566-0136

Postal/Zip Code

Hadibo, Socotra Island

Country
Alternative email address

Alternative email address

Your idea
This will be the address used to plot your entry on the map.
Street Address

20 Main Street

City

Hadiboh

State/Province

Socotra Island

Postal/Zip Code
Country
Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of tourist experience and educational benefit to tourists , Quality of benefit to residents for the destination .

Organization size

Small (1 to 100 employees)

Indicate sector in which you principally work

Tourism-related business

Year innovation began

2004

Indicate sector in which you principally work

Nature, Adventure, Education, General tourism.

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Innovation
What is the goal of your innovation? Please describe in one sentence the kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

Our goal, as a full service customizable ecotourism agency, is to establish sustainable tourism, boost environmental awareness, and provide reproducible income for local families and communities.

Please write an overview of your project. Include how your approach supports or embodies geotourism or destination stewardship. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the map located on the competition homepage.

Though tourism is a young industry on Socotra Island, Socotra Adventure Tours is consistently working to develop effective environmental awareness while providing exciting, customized tours to our clientele. We pride ourselves on our pursuit of sustainable tourism by hiring locals, which has numerous positive results on the local economy and quality of life. We believe that by positively impacting our guides, we will greatly affect those that they take care of – the tourist. There are many challenges facing the Socotra natives, including health care and waste management. By educating our clients on the rich biodiversity of Socotra, while exposing them to the needs of the local community, we hope to increase international awareness of Socotra. At the same time this will highlight the values of the island to locals, who might otherwise take their beautiful environment for granted.

Explain in detail why your approach is innovative

Socotra Island Adventures is the first tourism company established on Socotra Island, which means that we are setting the example for budding tour guides and projects on the island. Being the leader in this industry we provide a unique platform as we set the bar for responsible sustainable tourism.
In addition, we maintain high standards of how we employ local Socotrans and how we expose tourists to their homeland. As Socotra has many protected areas, we are dedicated in making sure that the locals who live in these protected areas are appropriately compensated for their hospitality and we never compromise the security and integrity of the local people for the sake of the comfort of our tourists.

Impact
Describe the degree of success you have had to date. How do you measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the impact on sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How has it transformed or contributed to the power of place or demonstrated the sustainability of tourism? How does your approach minimize negative impacts?

Our company accommodates a large number of tourists each year. These tourists frequent local villages and natural protected areas. We seek to educate them on the delicate biodiversity of Socotra as well as the need to be sensitive with the locals and their respective habitats. As we are a locally based company, we value the needs of the locals and their sustainability. One area that has increased the quality of life for the Socotrans is the required entrance fees into protected areas. Our tourists dutifully pay these fees, which are not enforced by the local government, as they are included in tour prices. Providing this source of income to the locals has given them an incentive to take care of their protected areas and maintain the cleanliness that the tourists expect. In addition, we hire local, English-speaking guides, who would otherwise have no means of income if it weren’t for their quality wages. This provides and incentive for locals to be educated in English and to work hard at being able to be hired as a guide for their island.

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your work, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

The locals of Socotra are actively involved in our company on every level. We are a locally owned and operated company, employing natives to Socotra as drivers, guides, cooks, mechanics, etc. Many of the individuals in the community see this company as a necessary element in ensuring that their needs are met and their families are provided for by the income they receive through our personal, caring employment opportunities.

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

As all of employees are Socotrans from drivers, guides, cooks, to mechanics, travelers have the opportunity to interact with locale on a variety of levels. The Socotrans work hard to make sure that each visitor has an extraordinary experience and are overall satisfied with their visit. Since our company serves as a source of income for many Socotrans, they realize the importance of travelers, while at the same time understanding that it is their time to educate visitors about all aspects of Socotra, from the village to the mountaintops. The enthusiasm and passion for their native land is contagious as travelers finish their journeys already planning another time to come back.

Describe how your work helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area's cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues.

Tourists who visit this area are enlightened and educated on the environment of Socotra by our English-speaking guides. Through trekking excursions and beachside recreation, tourists are offered a glimpse into the lives of the locals and their need for positive development that doesn’t exploit the delicate balance of tradition and modernity.

Sustainability
How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

We area financed by revenue generated from individual tourists and tour companies who book tours and contracts with our company. We employ a combination of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff, all of which are Socotrans, making sure that all money collected in given back into the community.

Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? Is there a potential demand for your innovation?

Our company is sustainable on both fronts. Because we have no external financial backing, our company is required to be supported by tour contracts.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

One of the most significant barriers we face is the lack of governmental enforcement of tourist and local guidelines and restrictions. It is essential that a governmental environmental initiative be put into place and that laws and restrictions are enforced. At this time, waste management and free-roaming tourism are also prevalent issues.

There must be individuals, whether governmental or non-governmental, who are willing to train locals to develop and implement strategies for tackling the enormous waste issue on the island. Most of the environmental issues are not caused by tourists but by the local inhabitants, who have no education in the need or implementation of environmental care.

Laws should be put into place and enforced that restrict certain tourist behaviors. Right now there are only suggestions, which are not widely known, that keep tourists from knowing how to best care for the island during their stay.

What is your plan to expand or further develop your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

We would like to continue to grow in the area of training and educating our employees and the locals on the importance of waste management.

We are also working with the airport authorities in establishing a set of guidelines to be posted in a public place for tourists to recognize and follow.

We are a small company who is just stepping into the daunting task of geotourism and environmental sustainability. We seek to grow our understanding and implementation of these principles so that future generations of Socotra can benefit from the onslaught of globalization.

The Story
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.

Socotra Island is a poor country with limited infrastructure and new to international tourism. Socotra Island Adventures was created in order to safely and successfully bring tourism to the island while preserving both the natural beauty and culture.

Our mission is:

- We pride ourselves on knowing our customers needs and look forward to getting to know many more.

- There is no hiding element for DBT Socotra Adventure Tours. We don’t charge more than drivers, hotels, and dive centers would charge themselves and in many cases we charge only for our commission.

- We do not promote commercial sales aimed at tourists, rather we ensure that our rates are reasonable, and some of money you spend will directly and positively affect people at village level.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

Socotra adventure Tours is an eco-tourism agency based on the island of Socotra in Yemen. We are innovative tour company offering a number of services in the widest range of destination on island and cater for most special interests. Tailor-made or customized tours for independent-minded travelers are our specialty, and we also offer small group and specialist nature, wildlife, birding and cultural trips.

Our staff are mostly young well educated tour professionals and English majors, with unusually extensive experience of the country we promote. They speak English well, in addition some Italian and French.

We do not promote commercial sales aimed at tourists, rather we ensure that our rates are reasonable, and some of money you spend will directly and positively affect people at village level.

Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.

We provide an array of tours that appeal to every type of tourist. Our tours will take you to the Dicksam plateau, Haggier mountains, Daerhu canyon, Aomak beach, the sandunes of Zahik and Hayf, and Hoq cave, as well as the many other natural wonders that Socotra has to offer.
Some of the most exciting excursions include visiting forest of Dragon’s Blood Trees, which are unique vegetation found only on Socotra. This adventure highlights the endemic flora and fauna and in turn educates and informs tourists about the delicate balance needed to sustain Socotra’s natural habitat.
Another highlight of our tours is the opportunity to navigate the Deleisha coast. There they will be able to relax on the pristine white sand of the Deleisha beaches, have the opportunity to swim in both the sea and a freshwater lagoon, all while viewing a beautiful mountainous background in on direction and a gorgeous sunset in the other direction.
Our tours also allow visitors the opportunity to visit traditional villages and stay in local hotels, allowing tourist to absorb all aspects that Socotra has to offer.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

As a company pursuing growth in the area of eco-tourism, partnerships with international environmental initiatives, which focus on using tourism as means of positive development, would greatly benefit our establishment. In addition, we desire to see laws passed that keep major corporations from invading Socotra and developing hurtful projects, that on no way positively impact the delicate climate of Socotra, for the sake of financial gain and thus exporting income off the island, back to their respective country. Laws and restrictions should be put into place early on that protect the local inhabitants and environment from being exploited by outside companies. Any partnership with governmental and foundational organizations is vital to Socotra’s residents, natural environment and sustainable tourism industry.