We are often asked if the cost of your holiday actually reaches the country that you are heading for and the answer is not straight forward. So much depends upon on the type of holiday you choose and the company you book with.
The big multinational companies have the power to force down the cost of hotel rooms, tours and meal plans, which benefit the traveller but impact the local trade. Small operators, such as Experience Holidays, often deal direct with the smaller lodges, hotels and B&Bs knowing that 100% of costs arrive in the country. Do we pay any more for the rooms – probably a bit but we do have a relationship with the owners which works for our clients when something goes wrong and we need someone on the ground to help our client.
Many of the suppliers that we use work closely with their local communities bringing benefits such as employment, sale of local produce, funding for local schools and water projects and animal welfare. This in turn means that the community values the wildlife and the country and act as unofficial guardians. This is a win win situation and these companies, lodges and tour operators certainly ensure that funds are ploughed back in to the local community.
Those of you that self drive or organise your holiday locally obviously support the local economy by direct payment and with the spending you incur while in country.
As a final thought on this topic: the GDP of Namibia is 1% of the GDP of South Africa which is 1% of the GDP of the USA. With this in mind it is simple to see where your hard earned money will benefit the most.