Wild Frontiers is proud to work with and support TESFA (Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives) in Ethiopia and the Ladakhi Women's Travel Company in northern India. These are two inspirational community based tourism initiatives that are helping local people in isolated rural areas earn a living form tourism, while preserving their unique cultures.
Trekking with TESFA in Ethiopia
Wild Frontiers is proud to work with and support TESFA (Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives).
Tesfa was set up in 2010 by former Wild Frontiers tour guide Mark Chapman to promote community tourism and now works closely with communities, guides and other stakeholders across 20 rural communities in both the Wollo (Lalibela) and Tigray areas.
Through Tesfa local communities host visitors walking/trekking through the regions, offering traditional homestay accommodation and meals along the the way - all while enjoying the spectacular surrounding of a truely beautiful part of Ethiopia.
‘We believe that true community tourism is a partnership between philanthropic businesses and community run enterprises. This partnership should enable local communities to generate sustainable improvements in their livelihood through the development of their own tourism related enterprises, while also contributing to the protection of their physical and cultural environments.’
Each hosting community is based around sub groups of a local parish church. They are registered as cooperatives and are run for the benefit of all their members. There may be as many at 300 households in one such community, probably around 1,500 people, so the income a community makes from hosting our groups really does go to the community level!
Wild Frontiers includes a 3-day village walk in conjunction with TESFA on many of our Ethiopia itineraries, visiting local communities and staying in traditional village accommodation along the way.
Leading Ladies of Ladakh
In northern India we work with the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company, which is owned and operated by Ladakhi women.
Through the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company local ladies are offered the opportunity to train as trekking guides and porters or utilise their hospitality skills open their homes as homestays to visitors trekking through the region.
The homestays offer visitors the chance to stay in real Ladakhi homes and meet the local people of the villages along the trek, while allowing the women of the area the opportunity to gain employment in their own villages and provide income for their families and giving them an equal status to the men.
It also encourages people to remain in their villages instead of seeking employment in the cities.
Homestays are also the most eco-friendly way to discover Ladakh, rather than camping which puts extra pressure on natural resources. Ponies and donkeys are necessary if you are camping and cooking out, but they tend to eat the limited grass available, depriving local wildlife and domestic animals of their food supply.
In addition to helping women by means of homestays, the company only employs women for organising and running its treks. The guides are highly knowledgeable about the places you visit and history behind them, and are more than happy to tell you about the real Ladakh. When using the homestay system you will get a closer look at the traditional Ladakhi way of life in a way, which all contributes to helping preserve the Ladakhi culture.