Have you heard about “last-chance tourism”? It’s the latest trend in the travel industry. People are flocking to places that may be in danger of disappearing forever, due to climate change or other destructive human activities. This has created some controversy since an increase in unregulated tourism can actually cause more damage to places that are already struggling. That’s why it’s important to do some research and only travel with companies who are interested in preserving these spaces instead of profiting from them.
Gondwana Ecotours is a company that’s dedicated to providing unique travel experiences that educate people on the importance of conservation while at the same time, keeping the ecological impact of travel to a minimum.
Recently, Gondwana’s Polar Bear tour was featured in an article on Family Travel and MSN. The post, “11 places to see before they disappear,” focused on places that are being negatively impacted by climate change. Some places on the list might surprise you, such as the American Prairie Reserve in Montana, but others you’ve probably already heard about, including the Arctic Circle—which is warming nearly twice as fast as the global average. That’s where our tour comes in. We bring our travelers to the northernmost human settlement in Alaska so that they can experience this unique environment and talk to the people who are affected by this issue the most.
Travel that Educates
Most tours only show travelers the very basics of the places they visit, while Gondwana Ecotours takes the time to educate people on the unique culture, customs, and ecology of every place we go. You’ll get a real feel for what it’s like to live in a world that is totally different from your own.
On our Polar Bear tour, you’ll be traveling with Fred Vreeman, an engineer and environmental scientist. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the area and is an excellent resource for all of your questions. For our polar bear viewing expeditions, you’ll travel with Bruce Inglangasak, a native Inupiat Eskimo and experienced wildlife guide. He will be able to give you insights into native Inupiat culture as well as the polar bears that you’ll be viewing. Further into the tour, we’ll also meet an environmental author and activist and visit with tribal elders to learn more about the ancient practices of their tribe. Every step of our tour is designed to help you learn about the Arctic, its ecosystem and its people.
Travel that’s Responsible
Our goal as a company is to not only create exciting tours that allow people to have an extraordinary experience, but also to promote travel in a responsible and sustainable way. We minimize use, waste, and the impact we have on the places we travel by using the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” principle. When we can’t offset something on our own, we purchase carbon offsets in order to make every trip carbon neutral. In fact, Gondwana has been recognized by CarbonFund.org for offsetting more than 130 tonnes of carbon emissions!
Tourism doesn’t only impact the natural environment, it also impacts the local population. That’s why we also seek to partner with local communities to support their conservation efforts either through patronage or by donations. It’s important to understand and respect the place they call home.
“Last-chance tourism” might just be a controversial fad, but responsible, sustainable tourism is something we all need to strive towards. There are many places in the world that are threatened by human expansion and pollution. But hopefully, with a little bit of education and little bit of conscientiousness, we can all help preserve these spaces for many years to come.