Friday, February 28, 2014

Practicing in Fair Trade

Leaving a country better than you found it is a great standard to have while traveling the world. I know that when I travel I like to make sure that I am staying at local hotels and eating at local restaurants so that my money is staying in the country instead of going to large private companies who may not be giving back to the local community. 

These standards that I mentioned before are the standards of fair trade. In order for someone to fully practice and be involved in fair trade they must have:
                Fair working conditions and fair prices
                They must be integrating into the local economy and regional development
                Have fair trade partnerships between all actors in tourism
                Must use sustainable resourses and environmental justice. 
There is an international company called Traidcraft that offers fair trade tours around the world. Their motto is "fighting poverty through trade." Something that they said on their website that I found to be very powerful was, "For more than 30 years, Traidcraft has been fighting poverty through trade, believing in the positive and transformational potential of trade to bring hope to millions trapped in poverty."

I looked into their Nepal tour is see how they demonstrated fair trade. On the tour you will spend time with the ceramic and handmade paper producers. The company GPI ( Get Paper Industries) was established in 1985 as a family business. It is" now a cooperative and workers are involved in all aspects of decision-making through a number of committees." "While on the tour, the tour facilitators, Mahaguthi, bring their knowledge of local communities and fair trade to this tour and encourage you to enjoy Nepal that few tourists get to experience. Mahaguthi Craft with a Conscience is a fair trade organization who work with more than one thousand individual producers, fifty percent of whom are from remote and mountainous areas." 

Traidcraft believes in leaving a positive impact on the countries that you visit. Their tours are ran responsibly and seek to:

• respect all people - both travellers and those who provide services to them
• work with local partners in long-term relationships ensuring local people benefit economically and socially from our visits
• ensure that guides and others involved are paid a fair wage
• respect the environment, minimise impact on resources and the natural environment and encourage recycling where possible
• respect local culture and traditions and report on our impact on them
• build links with locally-based tourism projects that have a pro-poor focus
• operate in line with all Traidcraft’s existing best practice policies towards suppliers
• ensure travellers are given advice on how they can travel more responsibly
We make no grand claims for how these tours will change the world, but we do believe that they will change those who go on them and those who are visited by them.

I think that this is a phenomenal company that is really trying to make a difference in both the consumer's and the local people's lives. If we are traveled with these things in mind we would get a better taste to what is going on in the world and how we can truly make a difference. These tours are rich in culture and purpose. I know that that is they way that i want to travel!,

Friday, February 21, 2014

The RIGHT way to visit Nepal

The whole purpose of this blog was in inform the general public about the shocking culture changes that are happening in Nepal due to high amounts of tourism. But here is the thing, people are never going to stop touring Nepal. It is remarkable in beautiful and has an interesting and colorful culture. People will always travel to Nepal. So what is the RIGHT way or correct way to visit Nepal. How can we go there and "leave no trace" as they say??

Trekkers in Nepal

Well let me answer that for you. I have done some research. I found a touring company that is a non-commercial organization specializing in travel to the Himalayas. They donate all of their profits to charity. That generates income for developmental projects which support environmental and educational development. Now who wouldn't want to travel with these people??? They are giving back and trying to use tourism as a tool to educate the world, which will help it stay healthier longer. 

They also promise to:

1. Pay the cost to carbon balance your flights in order to neutralize the impact on the environment 

2. Through a committed environmental policy they work to ensure minimal impact of their activities

3. They have a fair and ethical employment policy which is committed to employing local staff and  
    paying fair wages

4. They have a simple and fair pricing policy with no hidden extras

How great is that???!! I looked more into their environmental policy that is mentioned in #2. It is a long long LONG list of ways that they make sure to not abuse the environment but rather help it. Some of my favorite examples given were:

1. "Souvenirs: try to buy local crafts from fair trade outlets rather than imported goods. This encourages the practice of fair wages and promotes the local economy . If in doubt about a fair price or where to shop please ask your leader."
2. "Try to respect local tradition. There are a number of customs you will come across on Your trip which your guides and Leader will explain."

I love those examples because it tells me that this company is not only trying to protect the environment, but they are also trying to preserve the culture which is the whole point of this blog. 

Now THAT is the correct way to travel to Nepal. It will always pay off to be an eco-tourist. For more infomation regarding their tours visit I would HIGHLY recommend it!

Friday, February 7, 2014

And So It Begins

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

So Nepal is this beautiful country nestled inbetween China and India. It is known for its cold temperatures and tall mountains. Before the 1950's we didn't hear much about Nepal, but that changed when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to summit Mount Everest in 1953.

Nepal was once a secluded area that focused on religion and family. They had nothing of which to compare their world. Then, the world, quite literally, came knocking at their door. Hiking Mount Everest became a very appealing, popular idea and brought people from all over the world who in turn brought new ideas and styles.

For example, the Sherpa’s did not used to have watches. They didn’t know how to tell time. They understood time as the sun rising and the sun setting. Trekkers brought watches and the western idea of being “on time.” Now that aspect of their culture, of just living the day while the sun is shining is gone. They have time and schedule and time limits. If something as small as a watch can change a culture dramatically, just imagine what all the other changes brought to their culture.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Just Imagine This

Culture is beautiful. There is nothing I love more than discovering a new culture. It is so interesting to see how other people do things and how they see the world. Imagine if there was no culture in the world, if we were all the same. What if we all thought the same, believed the same, dressed the same, and all wanted the same thing. HOW LAME would that be. Unfortunately I feel like this is what is happening to a small degree in certain countries.

The purpose of this blog is to look at the culture change that has occured in Nepal due to tourism from Mount Everest. I am going to talk abou the negative changes that tourism has had on the culture, but also the positive changes that it has made for their society.