Wild and Wonderful:
Ecotourism and Alternative Travel
Written by Annelise Jolley on May 20, 2014 in General
Summer’s nearly here and vacation plans are underway. While you are dreaming of a getaway, consider alternative travel options that positively impact creation and culture.
In their recent book, Wild and Wonderful: Tourism, Faith and Communities, Stan LeQuire and Chantelle du Plessis identify ways to be a thoughtful tourist. Part travelogue and part theological reflection, Wild and Wonderful offers stories of Christians who are alleviating poverty through innovative methods including ecotourism and entrepreneurism. The book shares alternative options to short-term missions trips through tourism initiatives that foster sustainable community development.
In Executive Director Scott Sabin’s forward to the book, he shares his reflections on community-based tourism and ecotourism:
“In our work at Plant With Purpose, we are often hesitant to leave a community with such a tenuous lifeline, preferring instead to focus on local food security, local markets, and regional opportunities, before connecting them with possibly more lucrative, but certainly more fickle, external opportunities. Yet more and more I am seeing a role for ecotourism as a viable option for communities, giving an incentive to celebrate the good in the local culture and an incentive to protect and sustainably use the resources that a community manages.
In a well-run trip, the most important thing we have managed to accomplish has been to encourage and validate the work of the local people. Often it has lent energy to the community long after the group has left.
Effective community-based tourism can have the same effect, because communities are able to offer something and to be paid for their effort. They are treated as people of value, with inherent talents, rather than being the recipients of handouts. They can be proud of their culture rather than made to feel ashamed of it.
[LeQuire and du Plessis] give us insight on how to do ecotourism right, and how, when properly done, it can bring glory to God through the stewarding of creation and the witness of the community. Furthermore, the authors give us some wonderful examples of places where it is being done well. After reading this book, I can hardly wait to get packing.”
As you research destinations and make summer travel plans, consider a form of tourism that cares for creation and culture. Attend a Plant With Purpose Vision Trip to witness firsthand how our work brings transformation and hope to rural communities. Or explore countless other ways to travel and support community-based tourism using Wild and Wonderful as your guidebook.