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Connecting with people from around the world is, in part, what makes the tourism industry so fascinating! When you travel you inevitably broaden your scope to include new perspectives of the places you visit and the people you meet.
Here at Austin Adventures, we have been so moved by our experiences that we have created programs to not only improve the lives of people in the places we visit, but also to educate travelers and propagate the importance of sustainable travel. Our mission has been to develop programs to help, protect, and sustain the places we visit – that’s why AA has developed Wheels of Change and the Preserve a Park Program. Both are unique programs that are driven by passion to help create a better future for us all.
Wheels of Change is a non-profit organization that was created to help distribute donated bicycles and improve mobility for people living in Africa. For example, a healthcare worker can visit up to four times more clients by biking instead of walking and girls are 70% more likely to attend school if their household owns a bicycle. We have sent hundreds of bikes to Nairobi, Kenya and worked with a Nairobi woman to build a much needed bike shop out of the shipping container and create jobs in the local community. Guests on our new Kenya Program have the opportunity to visit that shop and rent and ride bikes with the local “crew”.
Director, Dan Austin: “This effort was so energizing and eye-opening! We witnessed the community (and our staff) rally to collect hundreds and hundreds of bikes and through it all, I kept learning more and more about the process, the opportunities and the growing need for such programs in rural Africa.”
The Preserve a Park Program is our way to give back to our country’s national parks. For 2014, we selected Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and for every person that books on the 2014 South Dakota vacation or the South Dakota Family vacation, we will donate $100 to the non-profit Friends of Wind Cave National Park.
“New guests and our loyal alumni love knowing that a portion of their trip fee helps preserve our national treasures,” said Dan Austin.
In 2011, Austin Adventures was awarded the Global Vision Award by Travel+Leisure for corporate innovation with our work with Wheels of Change and Preserve a Park Program. AA is very honored to receive such a prestigious award and it only fuels our passion to create sustainable and responsible travel.
Sustainable Tourism isn’t just about providing sustainable adventure tours, it’s about YOU! That’s why we have teamed up with Pack for a Purpose, a non-profit which assists travelers wanting to give back to local communities by providing supply lists for specific destinations. We’ve also teamed up with Sustainable Travel International to help support responsible travel and ecotourism to protect the cultures and environments they visit.
Some people classify these acts as philanthropic, but we believe that they are simply the right thing to do! If everyone gives a little more than they take, think of the amazing change we could see in the world!