Toward a Sustainable Future
Big Five Tours & Expeditions is dedicated to Supporting Sustainable Tourism for a Better Tomorrow. Our vision encompasses working with companies, accommodations and suppliers who share our corporate philosophy of responsible tourism. We have a three-pillar definition of sustainability that we developed with the help of an expert in sustainability. Today, everything we design has to fit within those pillars that focus on conservation and protection of biodiversity, wildlife and natural habitats; support poverty alleviation, community development, education, and healthcare; and support cultural heritage, archeological and historical reservation in and around tourism destinations.
We reviewed everything, even our classic tours, and rebuilt them from the ground up. Sustainability isn’t always about the grand gesture. Indeed, it is about the everyday choices we make. For example, in Kenya, the Northern Rangelands Trust, a collection of communities, benefits when our guests stay there. Indeed, just by staying there our guests are providing employment to the local tribes, who own the land; and educational opportunities. You are empowering them to take care of their own land. In Ecuador, Mashpi Ecuador Lodge was built to help conserve an area that has suffered from some of the worst deforestation. The first thing the lodge did was hire all the loggers to come work at the lodge. By staying there, guests are actually furthering a larger cause – the reduction of deforestation.
Even before Big Five established a foundation, Spirit of Big Five Foundation, (www.spiritofbigfive.org), we knew we could do more. It was simply a matter of having the right vehicle for it. For a while that was the foundation – and it still is to some extent – but the larger vehicle has become our product, the journeys themselves.
You have to be willing to stand for something. If you’re not, it becomes merely a transaction.