When we speak about solidarity tourism, we immediately hear the notion of tourism. That is to say, to go elsewhere with the objective of escape, of discovery. As Marcel Proust quotes: ”The real voyage of discovery does not consist in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes”.
The notion of solidarity is very broad. We can show solidarity in different ways. Through understanding, through physical, emotional, material or even financial support. Solidarity tourism is a voluntary approach to travel differently.
When you decide to do solidarity tourism, you should expect to discover a destination as it really is, without pretense. You have to be ready to meet the local population, to discuss, share with them and sometimes even adapt to their way of life. The purpose of such a trip is to allow anyone to discover and see with their own eyes how the country they are visiting is developing.
Local Masai guide in Kenya
Travellers during their honeymoon in Eswatini
Most travellers on a solidarity trip seek escape but above all aspire to have a unique and authentic experience rather than looking at it through a postcard.
Not everyone can claim to do solidarity tourism. It is a form of travel that can challenge certain values ??or certain principles. It is not always easy to keep an open mind, to adapt or even to understand the difference that can exist between certain destinations.
Local village in Ethiopia
Local village in Tunisia
Solidarity tourism is not about paying to work locally and replace the local workforce. It is a form of tourism that allows you to discover a destination by participating in local daily life, living in local conditions and sharing a strong experience. The aim of Timuntu Travel is therefore to offer another way of traveling and to demonstrate that it is entirely possible to travel usefully by paying attention to the local population. The tourism that we offer has a positive, real and almost immediate impact on the local population.
When we talk about volunteering, the first thing that comes to mind is work. The primary purpose of volunteering is not tourism. Even if you want to take this opportunity to travel, the first motivation should be voluntary work and the experience.
Volunteering is a voluntary process of going to work, helping, as part of a project. There is no mention of discovering the country. Today, we notice that a market has developed around volunteering and that more and more organisations are emerging to offer internships or voluntary stays. Nevertheless, we must differentiate between voluntary work which allows people to work in specific conditions and solidarity tourism which allows travellers to discover a destination through its participation in the local daily life of the country that welcomes us.
Environmental project in Gabon
Daktari project in South Africa
If we define the two terms ‘humanitarian mission,’ we will understand that first of all a mission is a duty. Humanitarianism is a human notion that designates mutual aid. This notion relates more to organisations that intervene following events or alarming findings targeting a large number of the local population such as hurricanes, tsunamis, famine, etc. The appearance of occasional dramatic events or certain living conditions and chaotic situations require the presence of international aid in order to find solutions to restore these situations and try to perpetuate good local living conditions.
There are therefore organisations such as the Red Cross and Doctor Without Borders that exist, with qualified personnel to meet very specific needs. The humanitarian mission is carried out for a well-defined period. These are generally more or less long missions linked to the survival of the inhabitants. We are therefore very far from discovering the country and the solidarity projects that we support locally.
There are too many concepts to mention, a few examples include voluntourism and humanitarian travel. Timuntu Travel would like to inform you about these different forms of travel and practices that exist today and above all, make you aware. It is important to differentiate between all of these terms and not to confuse them. If you would like to know more about the type of travel we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to talk to you.
As a committed and responsible travel agency, Timuntu Travel supports development projects in Africa. To find out more, refer to the list of sustainable projects in progress that we support.