Sustainable Cruises: Rainforest Cruises
At Travel Begins at 40, we beleive it is important to highlight organisations that have sustainable tourism at their heart.
Today we highlight Rainforest Cruises which provides bespoke responsible and eco-conscious riverboat and small ship cruises in South America and Southeast Asia, supporting local communities, particularly women.
Delfin Amazon Cruises
Its Delfin Amazon Cruises, for example, support local women living in the river settlements along their routes, having established a programme that enables them to create handicrafts and artwork that is then purchased by visiting tourists.
The programme offers women and mothers the opportunity to provide for their families and their communities, and to feel empowered by doing so. It now supports almost 50 women in each community, which has risen from the five it helped when the programme was founded 11 years ago.
The programme is a team effort where community members come together for their collective benefit and the women’s husbands help to collect the fibres, bark and seeds used in the handicrafts.
Travellers have the opportunity to enjoy the artwork whilst on board, being surrounded by the stunning Amazonian artwork and furnishings that decorate the ships’ interiors.
As part of the cruises, there is usually the opportunity to visit malocas, or communal houses, where the women also exhibit their artwork. At present, these visits are not possible due to the Coronavirus pandemic in order to protect the local communities, but the company is hopeful that they will resume in the near future.
The luxury cruise provider shares its passion for responsible travel with passengers and encourages the support of local people.
Jeremy Clubb, the founder of Rainforest Cruises, said, “Authentic, immersive experiences can only be achieved through slow travel, partaking in real and positive social exchanges with the locals of the destinations you visit along the way; none more so than with the communities of the Amazon.
“To learn about their way of life first-hand is a real privilege, and the chance to reciprocate – and remind yourself – of such enriching moments by purchasing keepsakes, provides these women – true artisans who work with such enthusiasm and creativity to craft these beautiful products – with the means to support their families, the community, and preserve their rich cultural heritage for future generations.”
It is exactly this ‘slow travel’ approach that Rainforest Cruises focuses on in order to build relationships with the local communities along its routes, allowing tourists to fully immerse themselves in their destination, through excursions including naturist-led discussion of the rainforest’s medicinal plants and a visit to a Shaman to learn about the local healing and spiritual traditions.
Rainforest Cruises is a proud Conservation Circle Partner of the Rainforest Trust Charity, which involves donating a cut of traveller proceeds to safeguarding endangered species and rainforests around the world through partnering with local communities.
The company is also committed to environmental responsibility and having a positive impact with small group tourism, having signed the Glasgow Declaration Tourism Pledge and being members of Sustainable Travel International, they want to share their vision to make sure that communities and their environments in the destinations they visit thrive and that the cultural heritage of the locations is preserved.
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Main image of Delfin III, supplied by Rainforest Cruises.