Sustainable Tourism | Eco Travel
Big Five Tours & Expeditions remains committed to the best practices of sustainable tourism that support cultural heritage, conservation, wildlife and educational initiatives.
In 2016, Big Five was recognized by Virtuoso, an international luxury travel network, with the 2016 Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award. We are proud to be the only tour company in the consortium to be so honored for a second time. View Ashish’s and Mahen’s acceptance speeches here. Big Five also gained this honor in 2014, after receiving the Conde Nast Traveler’s World Savers Award in 2013.
Big Five has a sustainable vision that encompasses working with companies, accommodations and suppliers who share our corporate philosophy of responsible tourism. In East Africa, for example, Kenya has for generations been ‘the’ safari destination. We have all heard about or witnessed scenes of a dozen vehicles surrounding one lion trying to catch a nap. How do we balance the needs of animals, local communities and visitors? Each segment is vital to the future survival of the animals, cultures and ecosystems of Africa.
We believe that part of the answer can be found in private conservancies such as the Selenkay Conservancy, adjacent to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. This 15,000-acre private game reserve in the heart of Maasailand admits only 18 visitors per day. It is one of a growing number of conservancies leading the way in habitat conservation as one of the best solutions to help save Africa’s wild places and the animals that inhabit them for the future generations.
We also promote and support destinations such as Namibia, which has sustainability written into its constitution, and Costa Rica, which aims to be the first carbon neutral nation.
Big Five Tours & Expeditions’ nonprofit Spirit of Big Five Foundation is dedicated to Supporting Sustainable Tourism for a Better Tomorrow. www.spiritofbigfive.org
Formally launched in 2007 as a 501 3c nonprofit organization, the Spirit of Big Five Foundation seeks to broaden the scope and depth of support to conservation, poverty alleviation, education and healthcare in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.
The foundation grew out of the guiding philosophy of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, a leading luxury tour operator. It is a continuation and evolution of our commitment to responsible travel that harks back to its origin of Big Five in Nairobi, Kenya. The founder and CEO, Mahen Sanghrajka, became part of a group of tour operators who established some a code of ethics for safaris such as prohibiting smoking while on safaris, and forbidding guides and drivers to harass the wildlife. Today those ideas seems obvious, however, in early 1970s in East Africa, they were not.
The operation of the Spirit of Big Five Foundation is entirely funded by the Sanghrajka family, the founders of Big Five Tours & Expeditions. But many of our guests returning home from their journeys are also inspired to be part of the solution. We welcome guest donations, and the foundation guarantees that 100% of any donation made goes directly to project(s) selected.
We support select projects and programs around the world, demonstrating how tourism can play a positive role in protecting nature and sustaining the well-being of local communities.
Foundation funding for projects operates in two ways. First, it makes direct donations to charitable organizations, including humanitarian assistance during natural disaster, such as the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Secondly, it also disperses small project grants to grassroots non-profit organizations that meet its funding criteria.
Primary goals of the Spirit of Big Five Foundation are:
- Conservation and protection of biodiversity, wildlife and natural habitat consistent with sustainable tourism practices.
- Support for poverty alleviation and community development, including capacity building, education, and healthcare in tourism destinations.
- Support for cultural heritage, archaeological and historical preservation in and around tourism destinations.
- Promotion of sustainable tourism principles and best practice
Join us as we seek out solutions that positively impact the world today and our children’s world tomorrow.