With travel, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly where our money is going. While we can try to make ethical choices – opting to support local enterprises or choosing responsible tour operators – it isn't always clear if our choices are making the positive impact we intend.
That is why G Adventures decided to create the Ripple Score, on the belief that travel should (and can) be a truly remarkable form of wealth distribution. This ranking system – devised in collaboration with Sustainable Travel International and the Planterra Foundation – indicates what percentage of a tour’s local expenditure goes to locally-owned businesses. It was named for the positive ripples they want to make in people’s lives.
To date, 640 of G Adventures' 800 tours have been rated, with their average Ripple Score coming in at 93 – meaning that 93% of the money spent on the ground supports local companies and benefits local people. Some trips go even further though, with a Ripple Score of a whopping 100.
A positive impact
One trip receiving 100 on the Ripple Scale is their Delhi to Kathmandu Adventure – a journey that takes you from the multicoloured Indian capital, through the vibrant city of Agra (home to the Taj Mahal), along the picturesque River Ganges and up into Nepal, where you can take part in a safari in Royal Chitwan National Park for a chance to see the rare one-horned rhino. Along the way, G Adventures ensure that you not only see the places you’re travelling, but that you really experience them, by meeting local communities, taking part in homestays and visiting the very same social enterprises the money for your trip is helping fund.
On arrival in Delhi, for example, you will be driven by a fleet of Women on Wheels – a rank of all-female taxi drivers, part-funded by G Adventures' non-profit partner, Planeterra. Disadvantaged women from resource-poor areas of India are trained up by the Azad Foundation, in order to become professional drivers, giving them an income of their own. This is not only a safe way to travel Delhi, but a rewarding one too: you know your trip will be making a difference.
Make a change
On a G Adventures experience, the activities are specifically chosen with the community in mind – each one accompanied by a G Adventures Chief Experience Officer – or ‘CEO’ – who gives expertise to enhance your community interactions. On the Delhi to Kathmandu Adventure, you’ll take part in cooking classes run by local families, visit initiatives like TARAgram – a paper-making plant in Orchha set up to assist tribal women from the area – and spend time at authentic homestays such as Barauli Community Homestay near Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal. At this homestay, you will spend two nights with the Tharu people – an indigenous Nepalese tribe who, prior to this initiative, had never been able to access the economic benefits of tourism. The homestay project is completely run by women, and with the funds raised so far, the Barauli community has invested in cleanliness programmes, funded a teacher at a local school, improved agricultural techniques and added new guest houses for more travellers to enjoy.
You can also visit initiatives like the Sisterhood of Survivors – a Nepal-based grassroots organisation that trains survivors of human-trafficking to become paralegals, who can then be the first point of contact for other victimised women. You’ll get to meet some of the beneficiaries of the programme, as well as learn to make Nepalese momos (dumplings) with them, before a traditional lunch – a great way to round-off such a fulfilling trip.
G Adventures believes in the power of travel to change lives. Almost all of their trips include rewarding experiences like those on the Delhi to Kathmandu Adventure. These ‘G for Good’ moments are just one of the many ways G Adventures is trying to give back. By opting to travel in a responsible way like this, not only can you experience some of the most beautiful parts of our planet, but you can also do your part to support the people who call it home.