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Detour and the Rainforest Alliance Promote Sustainable Tourism
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What is Sustainable Tourism

Go Global, Buy Local

Detour’s adventure travel marketplace is a model of sustainable travel, as it is a place where customers can purchase trips from top quality local travel providers at their local retail prices. We don’t operate trips, tours, or lodges–we promote top-quality local travel companies to ensure that your travel dollars make it into the local economy to support local communities and local environments.

Detour understands that travel can be both good and bad for local communities and environments, and we are determined to only promote travel that has positive effects on local communities and the environment. We firmly believe that travel and ecotourism should have a positive impact on local communities and should help to alleviate rural poverty, promote cross-cultural learning, and provide a financial incentive for local people to preserve wilderness areas and their natural environment.

What is Sustainable Tourism or Ecotourism?

The Rainforest Alliance defines Sustainable Tourism as “not just limited to areas of ecological significance, but (tourism that) actively aims to reduce negative impacts in a holistic way, in urban, rural, and wilderness areas. Issues confronted include economic viability, socio-cultural sensitivity, and environmental sustainability, at destinations of natural and cultural significance, in both mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainable tourism not only examines and responds to the needs of the present, but how current actions will also reduce negative impacts in the long term. “

The International Ecotourism Society (IETS) defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” According to IETS, this means that ” those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following principles:

  • Minimize impact
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate
  • Support international human rights and labor agreements”

Detour views ecotourism as a subset of sustainable tourism, which we define as tourism that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing local cultures and the environment for the future.

Sustainability Begins With Local Tour Operators

The travel providers on our site are all professional, reliable companies that are respected leaders in the travel industry in their own country. They choose what trips to list on the site, set prices for their trips, and are in control of their own trips in all ways. Purchasing trips from local companies means that the money you pay for your trip goes into the local economy, not into the pockets of a US or European based company. By putting money directly into the local economy you are doing more than just taking away memories and resources from the places you visit, but you are making a difference to improve the lives of the people who live in the areas you are visiting, and provide economic incentive to local people to conserve their environment.

Traveling with local companies also gives travelers a window into the lives of local people, and enables travelers to experience unique and special places that only local could know about. This inside knowledge can make the difference between being a tourist and thoroughly experiencing and learning about a destination.

All of the Travel Providers who sell trips on our site practice socially and environmentally responsible tourism. They have implemented programs like dental care for porters, donating money to local schools, and paying living wages to local staff. Look at the information on our travel provider pages, which is provided by the travel providers themselves, and purchase trips from those doing the best job of offering socially and environmentally responsible travel.

Detour’s Sustainable Office Practices

  • We are a virtual company — customers reach on us the internet, not by traveling to our office by vehicles
  • Paperless business model—we don’t print brochures or customer documents–everything is sent electronically
  • Our office is 100% Wind powered
  • We encourage non-motorized travel to our office (the office location was selected based on ease of travel by public transportation/foot travel)
  • Employees work from home around the world
  • We cool our office with a low-energy, cfc evaporative cooler instead of air conditioner
  • We recycle and re-use as much as possible
  • Our company vehicle is fueled with biodiesel
  • We hire employees who share our mission of environmental and social responsibility
  • Minimize our flights overseas, and try to fly smart, travel by public transportation
  • What we can’t reduce we offset through carbon credits with

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