Communities have always been at the core of Wild Frontiers. From our early days of taking travellers to meet our friends the Kalash, a minority pagan community in the remote mountains of northern Pakistan, our ethos - to create extraordinary travel experiences for our clients, which mutually benefit the communities we visit - has remained the same.
Community tourism not only empowers local people and supports sustainable development, helping to alleviate poverty, protect culture and environments in often more vulnerable communities, it offers richer travel experiences with more meaningful connections for visitors. Here is a selection of some of the inspiring community tourism initiatives you can enjoy with Wild Frontiers.
The Benefits of Community Tourism
- Creates employment and sustainable development
- Inspires in-depth and richer travel experiences
- Empowers communities and enhances livelihoods
- Helps preserve traditional culture and crafts
- Helps conserve and protect precious environments
- Inspires cross cultural connections
When local people open the doors of their homes to guests, it offers a unique cultural and interactive experience for travellers, while helping to ensure that tourism money directly supports the hosts, their community and its economy. Many of our homestays are in more remote locations, where tourism infrastructure can be limited. Supporting our hosts gives us the opportunity stay in some truly remarkable settings and get to know the community, rather than just pass through.
Community Village Stays - EthiopiaTESFA is a community-based enterprise that invites visitors to trek between villages, stay in traditional accommodation along the way and learn about the day-to-day lives of the people of the Ethiopian Highlands, while contributing to the protection of their culture and environment. Along with supporting hosts in providing a unique experience for guests, TESFA also trains local guides to lead the trekking element of the initiative.
Arslanbob Homestays - KyrgyzstanNestled beneath granite cliffs and surrounded by forests of walnuts, the village of Arslanbob in southern Kyrgyzstan offers a network of basic, but comfortable community-run homestays. Visitors have the opportunity to get to know their predominantly ethnic Uzbek hosts and support the local economy at a grass-root level. The homestays are booked on a rota basis to help ensure that all hosts and their families benefit.
Sepik River Homestay - Papua New GuineaTravel by motorised canoe to the village of Kanganamun to experience life on the banks of the Sepik River in this remote area of Papua New Guinea. While the homestay facilities are very (very) basic, time spent in the village, meeting the community and learning about their traditions far outweighs the need for extra comforts. The homestays contribute financially to the village economy, in what is a special experience for guests and hosts.
Meals that Make a Difference
Eating in locally owned and run restaurants, supporting hospitality training initiatives, or simply dining with families who welcome guests into their own homes, are all meals that make a difference while travelling. Enjoy delicious, fresh and locally sourced cuisine, while supporting your hosts and the economy of the wider community supply chain - it really is that simple.
Supporting Small Scale Farmers - LebanonSet in the ancient village of Ammiq, Tawlet Ammiq is a restaurant that celebrates the cultural heritage and culinary traditions of the region. Tawlet Ammiq is an initiative of Souk El Tayeb, a social enterprise that preserves traditional techniques and the natural environment - ensuring land and livelihoods will be sustained for future generations of small-scale farmers.
KOTO Training Restaurants - VietnamKOTO - Know One, Teach One - is a non-profit restaurant training programme that offers at-risk and disadvantaged young people the opportunity to learn and develop skills for a career in hospitality. Dining at a KOTO training restaurant contributes to the funding of the students' 24-month programme, which includes English lessons, accommodation and welfare support.
Home Cooking in the CaucasusIn some of the more remote Caucasus regions, locals put out the welcome mat and invite us to dine in their homes. This is always among the highlights for our groups as we not only directly support rural families in their small business ventures, but take the time to learn more from our hosts. In areas where there are few opportunities for employment, these meals make a difference for families.
Empowering Women Empowers Communities
Creating employment opportunities and empowering women to earn an income, not only improves their livelihoods and that of their families, but benefits the community as a whole. With women spending the majority of their income on their families, the standards of sustainable development, including education and healthcare, are also more likely to increase within their communities.
Ock Pop Tok - Luang Prabang, LaosOck Pop Tok, meaning 'East Meets West' in Laos, is a vibrant artisan social enterprise in Luang Prabang that employs and empowers women through the preservation of traditional textile skills, while committing to their well-being and social and professional development. Through purchasing the beautiful and finely crafted textile pieces you will support the artisans, their communities and help keep traditional craft alive.
The Pink City Rickshaw Company - IndiaTake a tour through the charming back streets of Jaipur with the Pink City Rickshaw Company. This social enterprise offers women from low-income households the opportunity to gain employment within the city's vibrant tourism sector. The electric rickshaw tours take visitors behind the scenes to soak up surroundings away from the typical tourist crowds, while supporting an inspiring initiative.
Al Ayoun Craft Trail - JordanWalk the Al Ayoun Trail and stop to visit traditional handicraft co-operatives along the way. Set up to promote the use the natural assets of protected areas, the craft workshops employ local women in this remote area where few other job opportunities exist. Empowering individuals in turn creates sustainable economic and social benefits for their communities. Visit The Soap House, The Cookie Shop and The Calligraphy Centre, to name a few.
Preserving Culture & Crafts
Many community initiatives and social enterprises centre around the preservation of culture and traditional handicrafts, while providing opportunities for local people to earn an income and support their families. Through visiting such enterprises and shopping for locally made products we support both culture and communities, helping to ensure traditional skills are continued to be passed on to future generations.
Palm Box Makers - EgyptCrafting boxes from the leaves of date palms is an ancient skill passed on through generations in Egypt. Cut from palms and left to dry to strengthen, the leaves are skilfully reshaped into boxes, used traditionally for the transport of food. The endangered craft, once a constant source of income for many, is being kept alive by the box making community in the village of Faris, on the banks of the Nile.
Cambodian 'Phare Ponleu Selpak' CircusLiterally translated as ‘the brightness of the arts’, the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus in Siem Reap, is a non-profit association founded by a group of young ex-refugees from Battambang Province in 1994. Combining remarkable acrobatics and visual arts with a fiery energy and humour, this is a wonderful way to support one of Cambodia’s most inspiring projects.
Handloom Weaving - Maheshwar, IndiaThe REHWA Society is a non-profit organisation, established in the 1970s to revive and sustain traditional weaving in the town of Maheshwar after the local industry collapsed with the increase of large-scale factories. The society has trained over 1000 villagers, mainly women, in handloom weaving methods, providing an income, healthcare and education for them and their families.
Protecting Precious Species & Environments
Supporting communities to protect their precious environments and restore eco-systems helps to fight climate change and safeguard nature for generations to come, while opening opportunities for local employment and sustainable development in often more vulnerable regions of the world.