Giving Compass' Take:

· Bianca Caruana shares her experience visiting the Himalayas and how Fernweh Fair Travel, a responsible tourism company, has implemented income-generating programs in remote villages in India.

· What is sustainable tourism? How does tourism affect a community? How can tourism be sustainable?

· Here's more on this topic and sustainable development initiatives of tourism companies.

In the land of the snow-capped Himalayas, responsible tourism company Fernweh Fair Travel has introduced income-generating programs to India’s lowest caste, the ‘Untouchables’, residing in remote villages in India’s northern region of Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand. Through fair trade and sustainable tourism, Fernweh Fair Travel brings guests to the region to participate in a cultural exchange that drives income to these marginalized communities.

Our tour takes us into a village in the distant hills of Gopeshwar. Situated high above the main road, this village lies hidden from view not by coincidence but by a social stigma that sees a divide between communities dependent upon caste. Today we visit the ‘Untouchables’, India’s lowest caste system segregated by a society exposed to archaic beliefs about societal status.

We commence our ascent through the foothills of the Himalayas, the verdant mountain ranges pose as our backdrop as we climb the cobbled pathways en route to the home that will host us for the afternoon.

We’re here in this village to learn the ancient art of bamboo weaving and learn more about the ‘Untouchables’ that call these hills home. Our itinerary includes an afternoon of cultural immersion through handicrafts and hospitality, stepping into the shoes of these local residents and understanding what life is like for them here.

Read the full article about sustainable tourism and fair trade by Bianca Caruana at Causeartist.