As we witness the evolution and integration of social purpose in travel, we find more travel experiences charged with a kind of social activism. In this way, otherwise marginalized groups like homeless children, human trafficking survivors, and victims of acid attacks have new opportunities to tell their story and find employment in tourism. As innovation and access to these types of experiences grows, the tourism industry may increasingly become a force for social change. Here’s how and why.
If you’re looking for more meaningful travel interactions and are interested in giving something back as you travel, it’s important to understand the concept of social enterprise — what is it, how it works with local communities, and where to find it in the travel industry.
In this piece, we explore the nature and meaning of favelas in Brazil and the ethics of favela tours. Through conversations with residents and community leaders in Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro, we consider how community-driven favela tour experiences can create positive social impact and reduce the exclusion and separative otherness of marginalized communities.
“The kingfisher tried to warn the Mala men about the devil dog approaching, but it was too late. Some weren’t able to escape. You can still see them there,” Rachelle, our guide, pointed to the contours of the cave wall.
It was as if the men were petrified for eternity in those reliefs, struck in a terror pose as they tried to flee. While my rational mind acknowledged a scientific explanation for the geological formations around me, I slowly began to admire them in a different way, as if the stones were living, given life through story.