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Sarah Loughlin explains how to swap your standing orders for jungle safaris by supporting social enterprises.

With so many charities to choose from it can be difficult to know who to direct your philanthropy towards. I think everyone at some point has been approached on the street or watched a television advert telling them what a difference a £3 a month donation to their charity could make, but what if you could make your money go further? For some issues and causes the charitable donations are essential, but for others it may not be the answer.

In developing and developed countries alike, the local communities of many popular tourist destinations and their income are almost totally dependent on tourism. By choosing a holiday with a company that engages with locals you can really make a difference. In many cases these communities don’t want or need charity, they want a chance to grow and develop and invest in their own futures. Social enterprises aim to increase the employability of locals by offering training and permanent jobs with fair pay, as well as getting supplies from local businesses to give money back to the community. The ripple effects of these projects can be huge and add a vast amount of money in to the local economy.

Tourism also has a huge impact on the environment due, in part, to the travel involved – there is often a large carbon foot print associated with it, as well as issues around maintaining and preserving the beautiful environments which we enjoy visiting. So why not pick a hotel that is taking responsibility to limit its impact on the environment or a company that is making a real effort to cut its carbon foot print?

To find out more or to book a holiday and save the world go to www.responsibletravel.com

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