Back in 2002, 280 delegates from 20 different countries gathered in Cape Town for a “Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations” and joined forces in signing a declaration on responsible travel.
Responsible tourism was defined as:
- minimizing negative economic, environmental, and social impacts;
- generating greater economic benefits for local people and enhancing the well-being of host communities, improving working conditions and access to the industry;
- involving local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
- making positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity;
- providing more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues;
- providing access for physically challenged people;
- being culturally sensitive, engendering respect between tourists and hosts, and building local pride and confidence.
The delegates of the Cape Town Conference concluded the following:
We call upon countries, multilateral agencies, destinations and enterprises to develop similar practical guidelines and to encourage planning authorities, tourism businesses, tourists and local communities – to take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit.
Better places for people to live in and for people to visit. This resonated with us. We decided to name our organization after this motto, and live it every day in our way of doing business.
Local, authentic & responsible
We have committed ourselves fully to responsible tourism—by offering unique, high-quality travel experiences, 100% tailor-made by local travel experts, and focused around nature and the local population. We believe that by offering travel in a responsible way we can help to make the world just a little bit better.
The local travel experts we work with are all Travelife certified, or in the process of obtaining their certification. We make sure that all partners we work with are true and tested local experts, with the utmost respect for nature and the local population. Personal contact is always a top priority: between you and the local travel expert, and between you and the local population. This way we make sure that your travel experience is as enjoyable, authentic and meaningful as possible. Because we believe that travel is about more than just ticking sightseeing highlights off a bucket list. We believe experiences and encounters are what stay with us the longest, what make our travel experiences truly extraordinary and unforgettable.
The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see
–Gilbert K. Chesterton
To minimize the negative environmental impact of travel, we have also made sure that when booking through Better Places you are travelling carbon neutral. We compensate not only the in-destination travel you book through us, but also the emissions from the flight you took to reach your destination – ensuring complete peace of mind when you travel.
We want to be responsible not only in the type of travel we offer, but in the way we run our business. Better Places is a Social Enterprise, and part of the Social Enterprise NL community. We are committed to making a social impact above making a profit, and use our profits mainly to achieve our social objectives. Better Places is also currently in the process of becoming a certified B Corporation. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to learn more about our business practices.
Better Places Travel consciously focuses on individual, unique travel experiences. We believe individual travel is ideally suited to bringing you—the traveller—directly in contact with the local population. You are able to spend the night in small-scale family hotels, lodges, or even in people’s homes (homestays). Individual travel means there is plenty of room for personal attention, and we can focus on making your travel experience truly extraordinary.