The Observer Effect says that when you try to observe or watch something, you will always change something about it, even if you do not want to. Adventure travel is a bit like that sometimes. We love bringing visitors like you to our special, off-the-beaten track places and taking you hiking deep into the wilderness with us – whether it’s in an Ecuadorian cloud forest, on a remote sheep station in New Zealand or to a mountain hut in Patagonia. It gives local communities a financial incentive to preserve these places as well as maybe a traditional way of life they might otherwise take for granted. But no matter how sustainably we travel, our mere presence in some of these places inevitably will have an impact, and it’s our responsibility (the hosts as well as the visitors) to make sure we’re doing more good than harm so our great grandkids can return to enjoy it one day too.
On that note, last year we promised to donate money to local charities on our clients’ behalf when they completed a post-trip survey for us. As a result, we received valuable feedback from more than 70 percent of our travellers during the 2011/2012 season and we were delighted to support several notable charities in the places we go, including the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, Cool Earth and the Hillary Himalayan Trust.
Active New Zealand clients who booked trips to New Zealand during the 2011/2012 season and completed a survey after their trip helped raise NZ$1650 (about US$1340) to help rebuild the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, following a series of recent earthquakes.The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust is responsible for allocating money raised to support earthquake recovery initiatives with the cost of running the Trust being met by the New Zealand government. “Thanks very much for your fundraising efforts to help the people of Christchurch,” replied Vanessa Lowe of the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.
Cool Earth works with local rainforest communities to protect rainforest from being cut down and have saved more than 250,000 acres so far. Clients who booked South America tours to Ecuador, Patagonia, the Galapagos Islands or Peru in the 2011/2012 season and completed a post-trip survey helped Active South America raise 1000GBP (about US$1580) for the charitable organization. “Thank you for protecting endangered rainforest with Cool Earth. We’re delighted to hear you’ve chosen to raise money for Cool Earth and are very grateful to your clients for their kind generosity,” replied Lauren Faulkner of Cool Earth.
“Thank you very much indeed for your work in raising this donation for the Himalayan Trust. It will be put to good use towards helping students in Nepal,” said Michael Gill of the Hillary Himalayan Trust. Although the 2011/2012 season was the first time Active Himalayas offered Nepal tours, we were delighted to be able to start helping a charity with strong Kiwi roots. It was founded by one of our New Zealand national heroes, Sir Edmund Hillary, who was obviously the first to climb Mt Everest but is most well known in Nepal for his tireless philanthropic works in the region.
Sir Ed said it best: “Reaching the summit of a mountain gives great satisfaction, but nothing for me has been more rewarding in life than the result of our climb on Everest, when we have devoted ourselves to the welfare of our Sherpa friends.” We aspire to continue following in your footsteps.