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Christina Heyniger, Xola Consulting Kristin Lamoureux, George Washington University Rural Adventure Tourism and Social Entrepreneurship: Practices and.

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Presentation on theme: "Christina Heyniger, Xola Consulting Kristin Lamoureux, George Washington University Rural Adventure Tourism and Social Entrepreneurship: Practices and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christina Heyniger, Xola Consulting Kristin Lamoureux, George Washington University Rural Adventure Tourism and Social Entrepreneurship: Practices and Trends BEST Educational Network Think Tank June 22, 2007

2 1 Outline n Understanding the unlikely pairing of adventure and social work n Market Statistics indicate continued sectoral growth n Overview of study participants n Findings: Emerging business models Recurring challenges Compelling successes n Emerging Best Practices n The Future

3 2 Defining Social Entrepreneurship Social entrepreneurship defined: Social entrepreneurs use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. Whereas business entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit and return, social entrepreneurs assess their success in terms of the impact they have on society. In recent years social entrepreneurs have begun leveraging tourism to help attain social improvement goals.

4 3 We examined tour operators and NGOs blending adventure tourism with initiatives aimed at improving social and environmental problems: n Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself (PEPY) - Cambodia n Explorandes - Peru n Global Sojourns - South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana n Relief Riders International - India n Los Ninos - Mexico n Generosity in Action - Global The organizations in this study are blending social and business goals in a variety of ways.

5 4 Blending tourism with social causes is a trend that continues to build. n 24% of travelers are interested in taking a volunteer or service- based vacation - TIA report, 2005 Baby boomer are a key demographic; 47% of respondents age n International Institute of Peace through Tourism estimates 7% of all trips in 2005 had a service component. n United Way partnered with to launch a website for people planning holidays with a service component in n ASTA and Global Volunteers launched an initiative late 2006 to promote volunteer service travel as a unique way to experience new places, people and cultures while making a positive contribution. n Youth and educational tourism accounted for 20% of global tourism market in international travel in 2002.

6 5 Adventure Travel n Rural, remote n Increasingly takes people to travel in developing countries n Tries to engage travelers in cultural Interactions n Involves people pushing perceived limits of experience n Expensive, attracting travelers with disposable income (largest segment is baby boomer demographic) Social Entrepreneurs n Often look to serve rural and remote populations n Seek to address issues in poor and developing areas of the world n Are creative people, pushing limits of known solutions to issues n Access unconventional sources of funding due to the often unconventional projects they launch Though it may seem like an unlikely pairing, natural synergies exist between adventure tourism and social entrepreneurship.

7 6 The adventure tourism industry has a long history of aiding local communities. Two examples: mountaineers and river runners pioneer best practices n 1960s in the Himalaya: The Khumjung School established by Sir Edmund Hillary Educates students to read and write in their native Sherpa language and to learn skills appropriate to their environment. Local teachers were trained and employed. n In 2005 Mountain Travel Sobek and The Nature Conservancy partner on the Upper Mekong in Yunnan, China, teaching local Chinese to operate their own river trips with MTS support. Whats new: Increasing levels of traveler participation Increasing number of companies doing community projects

8 7 Findings: Todays Emerging Business Models 1. The Interwoven Itinerary n Tour operators take an adventure tourism itinerary - bike, horseback riding, hiking/trekking - and include volunteer visits to villages along the route (PEPY, Explorandes, Relief Riders International) 2. Adjust Standard Procedure to Include Tourists n NGOs and other aid or research-focused organizations (church groups for example) invite tourists to join in their work for short periods (Los Ninos) 3. Innovations to Support Donors in Direct Giving A general backlash against big business has led many philanthropists to want to give to small projects and know precisely where and how their donation is applied. n Donor-brokers focused on the adventure tourism sector take traveler desires to donate and help establish aid projects or vet existing projects (Global Sojourns Giving Circle, Generosity in Action)

9 8 Findings: Primary Challenges n The best intentions may sometimes have unintended consequences Tour operators may establish dependencies they may not be in a position to serve long term; sustainability is an issue Voluntourists may over time put local communities in a welfare state of mind when self empowerment, not a welfare state should be the goal Giving what we think they need rather than what they actually need/ cultural exports nBalancing traveler expectations with the realities of humanitarian and environmentally oriented field work is difficult nFor companies, balancing short range profit needs with the longer term results horizon required for social projects is difficult

10 9 NGOs and Tour Companies alike can benefit from these lessons learned : nAppropriately identify community needs nCreate a shared investment - communities and the traveler-volunteers must both contribute in some way nStart by identifying organizations who have history in the region before launching new initiatives that may be duplicative; seek partners nFollow up; maintain a presence in the regions you visit Findings: Emerging Best Practices

11 10 Findings: Compelling Success Stories Even with the challenges, the benefits to communities, travelers and businesses are compelling enough to warrant continued exploration. Tour operators and NGOs In leveraging community assets for tourists, assist destinations in enhancing and preserving their natural and cultural aspects and strengthen product offerings NGOs are able to attract funding more easily when people can experience in- country the benefits of their donation Communities Receive aid for common needs – medical, educational, infrastructure May develop businesses catering to tourists Travelers Add the emotional benefits of giving back to the standard list of tourisms intangible benefits: rest, relaxation, cultural exploration, adventure Episodic type of volunteer experience combined with travel attracts people who may not typically volunteer in their home setting

12 11 The Future Educators - Continue learning and guiding students in designing practical tools for leveraging tourism to benefit social and environmental causes Industry practitioners - Look across industries for lessons learned

13 12 Christina Heyniger Kristin Lamoureux

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