By Andrea Rodríguez Valdés, Ripess Europe

When you travel, do you contribute to the well-being of local populations? Do you have a sustainable and fair attitude towards the country you are visiting? Do you respect its cultural integrity, its fauna and flora, its trade, its customs…? Have you ever wondered about the negative effects of your travels? Effects on water, air, cultural heritage, gender equality, rising price of living and housing for the local communities etc. Responsible and solidarity tourism encourages you to turn your travels, not into a consumer product, but into a practice of rapprochement between travelers and communities that respects the host country both environmentally, culturally and socially.

As a result of this and in response to the need to stop gentrification, different initiatives and collaborative platforms have been emerging. More specifically, in 2016, as a result of the issues generated by accommodation sharing platforms, a social movement called Fairbnb was initated in order to foster sustainable tourism by creating an alternative to these platforms in cities like Venice, Amsterdam and Bologna, three cities with high tourist numbers. At the end of 2018, after various groups joined the movement, the cooperative was created with the aim of serving as the legal entity of the collective project, the aim of which was to limit the negative impacts of tourism while exploiting its full potential.

Under the social economy paradigm, the platform pursues the initial objectives of Airbnb, namely sharing assets, connecting guests with hosts and boosting social interactions, including with the local communities. The founders considered that three main negative aspects of the existing platform needed tackling: 1) lack of regulation, 2) cost for the local community and 3) the decision-making process. To mitigate the negative aspects on local communities, fifty percent of commissions charged are allocated to social projects selected by the community to generate a positive impact. In response to multi-listing issues, they created a policy called “one host – one home” to avoid commercial advertisements and price speculation.

Along the same lines is the Ecobnb platform, a platform that advocates tourism that respects nature, the economy and local communities. Traveling with Ecobnb, you can offset your carbon footprint, so you can help fight global warming. By choosing an eco-sustainable accommodation. On the other hand, REAS Red de Redes also gives us a lot of tips for traveling within Spain, through this article (in Spanish); it gives us to know not only places to stay but also cooperative bars to go to, cultural activities or outdoor tours…

In short, real community-based tourism alternatives that help make our vacations a socio-environmental transformation. ¡We wish you a pleasant trip!