Rural mountain communities are often excluded from economic wealth generated by their own natural and cultural resources. Our adventures combat this by promoting local skills and employment. This investment means jobs and economic benefits are kept local and that communities are empowered to see tourism as a legitimate force for improving their own economic wealth.
Travel with Project Cordillera has impacted the local economy in Huaraz. In 2015, we supported 15 travellers to the Cordillera Blanca. These travellers contributed to developing the prosperity of all those directly and indirectly supported by the tourism economy in the area. Excluding formal expedition costs, they spent an average of $500. Spending locally means that a person’s contribution will stay in that community longer and create exponentially higher value. This is called a tourism multiplier effect. Therefore, even though each person spent approximately $500, the actual realized economic contribution to that community could be over $1,000. For example, all of those who travelled with Project Cordillera this year spent some time in and around the Yurac Yacu community centre, eating food there and buying tours and produce that helped to ensure financial security at the centre this year. That financial security could lead to growth of the Center with the possibility of higher wages to local employees and more participation in its programs. The $500 impact multiplies because it stays local.
Furthermore, Project Cordillera’s contracts and business relationships help to establish financial security for the communities we work with, which is necessary to invest in expansion. As we grow, the economic impacts of travel through Project Cordillera will undoubtedly grow.
A factor in the economic impact of Project Cordillera’s work is the way in which we contract sustainability into business relationships. Our aim is to change the way businesses work locally around areas such as labour and animal rights, employee welfare, fair wages, and environmental responsibility. We require our partners to sign a ‘service, safety, and sustainability promise’ to ensure we have an ethically minded supply chain. The aim is to engender a behavioural change, whereby companies adopt best practise as the norm, rather than the exception.
Our goal is to continue to promote local expertise and work towards a fairer economy: together we can fight poverty and inequality through the way we travel.