There’s no doubt about it, 2020 has been a tough year all round. So, to mark ‘Giving Tuesday’, we thought we’d share 7 tourism-supported charities that, even in the face of Covid-19, are doing wonderful things around the world right now. And they could really use your help.
Worldwide, people and industries have been impacted beyond measure by Covid-19 and the way it has shaken our lives. Travel and tourism is one industry that has seen a hit, unlike anything we’ve experienced before (read more about how we’re dealing with the crisis here). But beyond the tour companies, airlines and hotels, there are smaller initiatives and tourism-supported charities that rely on the support of visitors to thrive and even survive. These charities are struggling now more than ever before.
We know this year has been tough on everyone in many ways. So we understand that supporting financially may not be possible. However, there are many other ways you can look to help. For example, simply sharing about their work across your social media will give them a little boost that will cost nothing, but could go a long way. Or perhaps you’re hoping to visit one of these destinations in 2021 and could factor in a visit? Other initiatives, like Pack for a Purpose can become a simple tradition you do whenever going away – giving back something good whilst enjoying a holiday can only be a win-win!
Here are 7 wonderful tourism-supported charities we feel deserve a shout out…
Uthando, South Africa
Uthando, meaning ‘Love’ in English, is an apt name for this charity with a big heart, based in beautiful South Africa. They describe themselves as ‘a unique model of traveling philanthropy underpinned by the values of responsible tourism.’ Forming a link between tourism and community development projects, Uthando works to positively influence and lift up those in need. Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, their teams have been working overtime to help support local people, and without the normal support of visitors to the country, it’s been harder than ever. If you’re thinking of visiting South Africa in 2021, why not factor in a Uthando Philanthropic Cultural Tour to learn about their work in person?
Pack for a Purpose, Worldwide
Pack for a Purpose is a fantastic initiative that asks travellers to reserve a small space in their suitcases for items that are needed by local community projects where they are travelling to. Their website allows you to search your destination and view which charities are operating in the area and, subsequently, what items would be invaluable to them and well worth the space in your bag! Items range from pens and pencils, through to school books, memory sticks and skipping ropes.
A small space in your suitcase can make a huge difference.
Sun Bear Conservation, Borneo
The BSBCC is the only sun bear conservation facility in the world. This tourism-supported charity relies on visitors to beautiful Borneo and donations to fund its work and operate. Their main mission is to rehabilitate orphaned and ex-captive bears back into the wild where possible and provide a suitable long-term living environment where it’s not. In addition to this, they work to educate and raise awareness of the beautiful sun bear and their right to live in the forest. Visiting these cuddly-looking creatures isn’t possible right now, but you can still support from afar if you’re able. The centre have set up an adoption program, where you can adopt your very own sun bear or gift the adoption to a loved one. If you’re struggling for Christmas gift inspiration, this could be a great option. It’s the gift that does good and keeps on giving.
IAPF – International Anti-Poaching Foundation, Africa
Without wildlife tourism, the African plains are dangerously quiet. This peace may have benefits for the environment, but for the animals who face a continuous threat from poachers, this quiet puts their lives on the line more than ever before. From South Africa to Namibia, with fewer safari trucks and fewer tourists, there are fewer eyes surveying the plains. As a result, poachers have far too much free rein over the land. It’s become harder and harder to keep animals safe and IAPF. need support more than ever. IAPF was founded in 2009 and ever since, have worked tirelessly with more than 50 conservation initiatives across Africa to help put an end to poaching and protect the beautiful animals Africa is known for.
Tourism in Need – Share the Wonder, South East Asia
The ‘Share the Wonder’ charity believes that all children should have the chance to experience the magic and wonders of travel. The charity’s mission is to create eye-opening day trips for underprivileged children across South East Asia. Through these trips, they gift the experience of the travel we all love, to those who otherwise may not experience it. Any donations to the charity, help to support these trips, allowing these disadvantaged young people to learn about their country and environment from a different perspective. It’s not just the children who benefit though; these day trips also support the local tour guides and local initiatives that are visited, allowing them to continue their wonderful work for years to come. People and initiatives like this, are what make these destinations such special places to visit.
Save the Rhino Trust – Namibia
The beautiful black rhino is critically endangered. Since the 1960s the world population of black rhino has reduced from 100,000 to less than 5,630. With 34% of them found in spectacular Namibia, the Save the Rhino Trust exists to keep these animals safe from poachers and stop the rapid decline in numbers. Due to the impact of the pandemic on tourism, opportunities for poachers to operate have increased. Tourism-supported charities like this one rely both on the eyes and presence of tourists as well as the donations received from them. As the charity rightly says – extinction can’t be fixed. And, while we can’t be there in person right now, we can still support their efforts from afar.
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo
The Orangutan Appeal UK charity has been set up to support The Sepilok Orangutan Centre in North Borneo. Founded in 1964, the centre is home to around 60-80 orphaned orangutans, happily living and swinging free in the trees. A holiday highlight for many of our clients who visit Borneo, this centre along with its hairy inhabitants is a truly special place to visit. Like all tourism-supported charities, the dramatic decline in tourism as a result of Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the centre. Without visitors, donations are significantly lower than needed. To help raise much-needed funds, the charity has an orangutan adoption option in place as a way to support. What’s more, orders made by 16th December are guaranteed for Christmas delivery too! Adopting ‘Zorro’ the orangutan could be the perfect gift for that notoriously difficult to buy for person in your life!
For these tourism-supported charities and all of us, 2020 is a year we won’t forget in a hurry. But, as we reach December there are many reasons for optimism. With more positive news every day, of destinations opening their borders and multiple vaccines tested, the world is cautiously starting to open up again.
So we say, now is the time to look forward. Now is the time to start thinking about finally getting that much-needed adventure in the diary to look forward to. Now is the time to start planning to make 2021 a year to remember, for all the right reasons. Because life is so much better when you can see a holiday on the horizon.