At Grayl, we live for global travel and outdoor adventure. Our company was founded on the desire to travel and adventure safely whether on the trail needing to drink from a dirty stream or filling up from a sketchy hotel sink in a far flung destination. Like so many things during the pandemic, global travel has ground to a halt, putting many plans and adventures on hold. And while this has been a disappointment for us, it is devastating for those communities who depend on tourism and travel for their livelihood.
2020 has been a challenging year, one that has impacted almost every individual on the planet. The travel industry has been hit particularly hard—not just the major airlines and hotels—but the local communities that depend on tourism for their economy. Travel supports one in 10 occupations worldwide, generating 320 million jobs. But right now, we’re at risk of losing 174 million of these jobs as the global pandemic continues.
With the lack of travel income, communities are turning towards extractive industries as an alternative to tourism in order to put food on the table. This includes logging, mining, wildlife trafficking and hunting, all of which will result in devastating long-term impacts to environmental health of these communities.
ATCF identified 10 communities and projects that have an acute, immediate need. By supporting these communities, we will create a ripple effect in their area, so that when travel does reopen, these communities and wild places are still standing in pristine condition, ready to receive visitors.
If our ecosystems collapse, it will impact us, the people. So if we can support a person’s livelihood through conservation and tourism, it’s a win-win. This program will help these vulnerable communities bridge the gap until tourism rebuilds.
“Conservation does not work without the people who help make it happen,” said Soraya Shattuck, ATCF Executive Director. “If our ecosystems collapse, it will impact us, the people. So if we can support a person’s livelihood through conservation and tourism, it’s a win-win. This program will help these vulnerable communities bridge the gap until tourism rebuilds.”