Innovator Spotlight: sustainable tourism in remote mountain communities with Andean Lodges

1 - What inspired you to create your business? We created Andean Lodges thanks to the initiative of two High Andean communities: Chillca and Osefina. During the 90s, the creation of roads allowed remote rural communities to connect with cities. This made business easier for these communities. However, for the alpaca-shepherding communities, this meant a significant drop off in business as the llamas, which were the traditional means of transportation, were replaced by trucks, at the same … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight: how to discover an authentic slice of rural Italy with Terra Tua

Terra Tua runs walking, bicycle and horse-riding tours in the Italian countryside, taking its guests off the beaten track to discover a slice of authentic village life. Jeremy Smith spoke to the company's manager and chief guide, Elena Riccioni about the challenges and rewards of running a responsible tourism business. What inspired you to create your business? It all began from the beauty and historical interest of our area and the realisation that visitors wanted to delve more deeply into … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight: Surtrek and sustainable luxury travel in South America

Ecuador-based Surtrek is a 20-yr old responsible tourism business running luxury travel experiences across South America. Jeremy Smith spoke to its founder Alfonso Tandazo about his inspirations, challenges and ideas. 1 - What inspired you to create your business? Surtrek began 20 years ago with a local guide who had seen the environmental threat posed by conventional tourism to the region's cultural and natural resources – everything from the impairment the water supply and beaches, to … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight: developing community tourism in remote rural India

Maroon Migrates develops innovative responsible tourism experiences in the Indian state of Gujarat. For the first of our new style Spotlight, Jeremy Smith speaks to the company's founder, Nischal Barot, about how the company's approach to responsible tourism and the lessons he has learned along the way. What inspired you to create your business? My hometown is the source of my Inspiration. I am from the Narmada District of Gujarat. Returning home after my Masters in Environmental Science, I … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight – back to authenticity with Lamai Homestay, Thailand

Have you ever wondered what Thailand was like before the Full Moon parties, before every strip of coastline became lined with villas and hotels? Wondered if it was possible to see a more genuine side to the country as a visitor? I was in Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan 23 years ago, and even then it was banana pancakes and European techno all night long. And from speaking to friends who have been to islands that then were unknown specks, mythical places as personified in Alex Garland's The Beach, the … [Read more...]

An interview with Goldman Prize winner Fatima Jibrell, a Somali eco hero

Considering the endless cycle of televised appeals, the global conferences to alleviate hunger and the ubiquitous twentysomethings standing on street corners asking us to fill out direct debit forms, one might assume that the more that rich countries give to the Third World, the better things would be there. So when the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) said recently that it was planning to return with 'interventionist strategies', everyone must have breathed a sigh of relief. Help was … [Read more...]

London’s new lavender mob: traditional agriculture in the suburbs of Surrey

A bumblebee careens clumsily about a lone yellow foxglove, surrounded by row upon row of lavender bushes, their flowers oscillating gently in the breeze. The sun beats down on my neck. I pick a head from a nearby plant, roll its buds between my fingers and inhale its distinctive scent. I sigh happily. Mmm… Mitcham. This is surburbia at its most suburban, a world of cul-de-sacs, washing the car, trimming the hedge, dreaming of the countryside, commuting to the city. A land I long to forget. To … [Read more...]

An interview with Tony Spacey, the UK’s most successful honey manufacturer

Bees and the honey they produce have always fascinated us. Mesolithic cave paintings show men harvesting honey. The Promised Land of Exodus flowed with it, The Ancient Egyptians embalmed people in it. Meanwhile Aristotle, Homer and Virgil all wrote about bees, as did Shakespeare and Milton. For they may be just insects, but their social structure of queen, drones and workers is remarkably complex. They have been shown to be able to learn at a level normally associated with vertebrates. … [Read more...]