Making a difference section prompts

For each trip we need a making a difference section to explain 'how this trip makes a difference'.

Objectives of making a difference sections
To explain to the traveller in real, tangible terms how this trip –
  • Benefits local people (all product)
  • Supports conservation (if relevant)
  • Minimises waste, energy use, other environmental impacts (all product)
  • Minimises any negative cultural impacts (if relevant)
Tip 1: Avoid generalities, we need to know specifics!
Tip 2: We must feature how we support people AND minimise environmental impacts
Tip 3: Read the making a difference paragraphs on the site for inspiration

It's marketing too!
Write them in such a way that makes the trip appealing! Tell travellers the ‘backstory’ of the holiday. These holidays should reconnect travellers with local people and communities so these making a difference sections should be part of this, introducing the local guides, produce and accommodation and giving a taste of the trip.

We market more ‘locally distinctive’ and ‘authentic’ holidays. Authentic travel is about –
  • Real experiences based around local cultures and lives, not experiences created and packaged up for tourism
  • Meaningful connection with local people, traditions, food, culture
  • The ability to be part of, and to contribute to a place
  • The sense of belonging and of making a difference
Tip 4: Use the MAD section to bring to life the authenticity of the holidays by making it as personal as possible – e.g. the name of the guide, owner of the home stay – unlike mass tourism we aim to re-connect the traveller directly with local people & cultures.
Tip 5: Storytelling is the most powerful form of marketing we have. Tell the story behind the brochure, and of the people involved in this tourism venture. Make it personal.

Getting tourists involved.
Responsible comes from the word to respond. It means to be open to your surroundings, to react to them, and to be part of it in some small way.

Tip 6: Where possible we should encourage members to identify how tourists can participate and be actively involved in making a difference. For example –
  • We have joined forces with Kasbah du Toubkal and Room to Read to assist in providing educational books for schools in Morocco. If you would like to offer your support to the project, please bring with you any educational books that will appeal to students from ages 5-18.
  • Guests to the house are encouraged to bring unwanted clothing which is welcomed by families especially in the nearby countryside. The practice is socially acceptable because of the important Islamic principle of 'sadaqua', or alms-giving.
Some guidance
Ideally, each making a difference section should be specific to that trip, with details that reflect the itinerary such as sites visited, accommodation used and activities offered. Also, making a difference sections should highlight key local issues (such as water use, unemployment or conservation) and should explain how this trip combats these issues. Don’t be tempted to overstate the benefits of the trip (greenwash) as any misrepresentations will be spotted by travellers and reported back to us in the reviews.

Use the following questions as a guide for the kind of information we are looking for in the making a difference sections. Please elaborate and give details.

Do you visit Parks and/or cultural sites/museums where fees contribute to conservation?
Do you encourage travellers to minimise waste and recycle? If so how?
Do you encourage travellers to save energy and water? If so how?
Do you use accommodation with environmental policies? If so what are these policies?
Do you encourage travellers not to litter, to keep to trails etc? If so how?
Do you encourage travellers to respect local cultures and respect wildlife?
Do you support local conservation projects? If so which ones? How do you support them? Do you encourage guests to support them? If so how?

Do you give your guests information about the conservation of the natural environment? If so how?
What is the group size and how does this impact on the community and environment?
How has tourism benefited the conservation of the local area? Has it increased awareness of conservation issues, saved historic buildings from dereliction or reduced dependence on unsustainable activities (such as poaching)? Please give details and any stories that can highlight the positive effects that tourism has brought to the area.

Do you employ local guides and staff? If so how many?
Do you train your staff?
Do you buy local produce on trips?
Do you use local services on trips, public transport or local restaurants? If so which?
Do you use locally owned accommodation – does it employ local people &/or have local purchasing?
How do you support the local community? Are you involved in local fundraising events or raise awareness? If yes, please give details.
Do you support charities? If so which ones? What do they do? Do you donate money on a regular basis? If yes how much? Do you volunteer? If so, how often? Do inform your guests about the charity? If so how? Please give details
Do you give your travellers information about culture, customs, language, tipping, appropriate dress code etc?

How has tourism benefited local people? Has it provided jobs and employment? Has it reduced the number of people moving away from rural areas into cities in search of work? Has it provided an outlet for local handicrafts or shown that skills that were in danger of dying out can bring in an income instead? Please give details and tell any stories of the positive impact that tourism has brought to the local people and community.

In your office:
Do you get your electricity from a green energy scheme? If so which one? Is it hydro electric or wind turbines?
How do you minimise energy use? Do you use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances?
Do you recycle? If so what do you recycle?
Do you run a paper free office? Do you use recycled stationary? Do you encourage car sharing? Do you work from home to avoid transport pollution? Please give details
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