Rural Adventure Tourism and Social Entrepreneurship Practices and

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					          Rural Adventure Tourism and
            Social Entrepreneurship:
             Practices and Trends

       BEST Educational Network Think Tank
                 June 22, 2007

Christina Heyniger, Xola Consulting
Kristin Lamoureux, George Washington University

 Understanding the unlikely pairing of adventure and social

 Market Statistics indicate continued sectoral growth

 Overview of study participants

 Findings:
    Emerging business models
    Recurring challenges
    Compelling successes

 Emerging Best Practices

 The Future
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.

The organizations in this study are blending social
and business goals in a variety of ways.

We examined tour operators and NGOs blending adventure
tourism with initiatives aimed at improving social and
environmental problems:
 Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself (PEPY) - Cambodia

 Explorandes - Peru

 Global Sojourns - South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana

 Relief Riders International - India
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 Generosity in Action - Global

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Blending tourism with social causes is a trend that
continues to build.

 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 35-54

 International Institute of Peace through Tourism estimates 7% of all
  trips in 2005 had a service component.

 United Way partnered with to launch a website
  for people planning holidays with a service component in 2007.

 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

 Youth and educational tourism accounted for 20% of global
  tourism market in international travel in 2002.
Though it may seem like an unlikely pairing, natural
synergies exist between adventure tourism and
social entrepreneurship.
       Social Entrepreneurs                   Adventure Travel
   Often look to serve rural and       Rural, remote
    remote populations
                                        Increasingly takes people to
   Seek to address issues in poor       travel in developing countries
    and developing areas of the
    world                               Tries to engage travelers in
   Are creative people, pushing         cultural Interactions
    limits of known solutions to
    issues                              Involves people pushing
                                         perceived limits of experience
   Access unconventional
    sources of funding due to the       Expensive, attracting travelers
    often unconventional projects        with disposable income (largest
    they launch                          segment is baby boomer
The adventure tourism industry has a long history
of aiding local communities.

Two examples: mountaineers and river runners pioneer “best

 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.

 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.

                         What’s new:
           Increasing levels of traveler participation
   Increasing number of companies doing community projects
Findings: Today’s Emerging Business Models
1. The Interwoven Itinerary
 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
 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.

 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)
Findings: Primary Challenges
 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

 Balancing traveler expectations with the realities of humanitarian and
  environmentally oriented field work is difficult

 For companies, balancing short range profit needs with the longer term
  results horizon required for social projects is difficult

Findings: Emerging Best Practices
NGOs and Tour Companies alike can benefit from these lessons
 Appropriately identify community needs

 Create a shared investment - communities and the traveler-volunteers
       must both contribute in some way

 Start by identifying organizations who have history in the region before
  launching new initiatives that may be duplicative; seek partners

 Follow up; maintain a presence in the regions you visit

 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

      Receive aid for common needs – medical, educational, infrastructure
      May develop businesses catering to tourists

      Add the emotional benefits of “giving back” to the standard list of tourism’s
       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                              10
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

Christina Heyniger             Kristin Lamoureux

202-297-2206                        202-994-8197