So yesterday was an exciting day for all of us at Adventure Alternative. Our MD, founder and captain of the AA ship, Gavin Bate, was sat in a packed audience of over 500 tourism professionals, media, ministers and officials. The room was hot and he looked slightly uncomfortable in a shirt (he’s more at ease in a down jacket on a snowy knife edge ridge), the room lights dulled and the stage lights ignited as the compare announced the
These awards are highly regarded within the industry and are competed for globally. We were over the moon when Adventure Alternative made the shortlist in the ‘Best for Poverty Reduction’ catagory, but we didn’t expect to win…… But we did! Suddenly Gavin, who prefers the quiet, solitude of the mountains found himself on a stage with a million watts glaring at him, the music pumping and his mug shot on the big screen. Meanwhile in the various AA offices around the globe whoops and cheers went up as the @RTAwards twitter feed announced the winner as Adventure Alternative!
What the Judges wanted: The Best for poverty reduction category is one of the longest standing categories of the World Responsible Tourism Awards. With this category we are looking for holiday providers that offer memorable experiences that support their activities in seeking to reduce and prevent poverty in a local community.
Judges reason for winning: “We have previously awarded Gavin Bate, when he won Best Personal Contribution in 2009, but the judges felt that the extent to which he has expanded the operation of Adventure Alternative and increased the flow of benefits to the local communities with which the company works, deserved further recognition. Over twenty years, Adventure Alternative has developed companies in Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania, Malaysia, Morocco and Russia using responsible tourism and equitable contracts to create sustainable livelihoods and help people out of poverty. The judges were impressed by the wealth of detail that Adventure Alternative provided on their impacts and the way in which it is building self-reliant locally owned businesses”.
Gavin Bate, the founder of Adventure Alternative, is a man who climbs mountains. And moves them too, by knowing clearly what he wants to achieve in tourism. Which is to take tourists into extraordinary, rural mountain landscapes in developing countries and, in doing so, pull the local people who host them out of poverty and into wealth creation.
For all of us in the AA family, whether in the offices in Portstewart, London, Nairobi, Moshi, Kathmandu, Moscow, Kota Kinabalu or working out in the field or on treks or peaks it was great to be given this recognition. Our business model is purposely designed so that tourism positively impacts on everyone involved. Sustainable and reponsible tourism is our DNA and it’s great that other people outside of the company / our clients also appreciate and recognise the difference that can be made if the right approach is taken.
And today, heavy heads in the office? No, we’re busy as usual planning more trips and we hope to launch our new website very soon with even more stories about the wonderful people and communities with whom we work around the globe!