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Reality Tours eNewsletter

Greeting Reality Tours Alumni and friends.  

In this month's e-letter, I want to take a moment to reflect on the meaningful slogan and sustainable foundation of Global Exchange's Reality Tours program.  As you know, for almost 23 years we have sought to "Meet the People, Learn the Facts and Make a Difference," and our team, both here in San Francisco and across the world, takes this seriously.  Last week, I returned from TIES (The International Ecotourism Society) conference in Portland, Oregon.  It was an honor to speak about how travel can be used for a source of good on the planet, and it was refreshing to find so many individuals and travel institutions committed to sustainable tourism and biodiversity.  

However, I was haunted upon leaving the conference.  It was stated that according to the World Tourism Organization, the current rate of "capital flight" or leakage in the travel industry is now 95%.  This means that out of every $100 spent in the conventional travel industry, only a mere $5 stays to benefit the host. This is a tremendous lost opportunity. 

Reality Tours holds the bar high, and we know that tourism dollars can help communities sustainably develop and be reciprocal.  We pride ourselves in offering journeys where in most cases, up to 80% of the tour price stays in the local or national economy. In so doing, Reality Tours makes a difference! 

Thus, as we approach the end of 2010, we invite you to celebrate, explore and learn with us over the New Year.  In 2010, we are launching a new tour to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in addition to the regular offerings to Cuba, Ecuador, India and Mexico. Each Reality Tour focuses on people's lived experience, forges links between travelers and people who often live in very different contexts and fosters relationships of dialogue and exchange with the world.

In this month's letter you will find:

  1. A link to a great piece from Vancouver's Metro about us.

  2. Sweepstake details for a Reality Tour with World of Good. You could win a Fair Trade trip for two to Guatemala. Followed by a few words from  Siddharth Sanghvi, General Manager at WorldofGood.com by eBay 

  3. Reality Tours announces its first LGBTQ-focused delegation to South Africa!
Past Participant Larry Heath shares a few thoughts about his trip with us to Nicaragua: Fair Trade and Alternatives to Neoliberalism.
  5. Invitation to all of you to join us for our Annual Open House!

Have a Boo-tiful October!

Malia Everette, Director Reality Tours

1. Reality Tours offer travel alternative, by 

2. Global Exchange Reality Tours is honored to partner with World of Good on their first Fair Trade producer's journey tour.   Please see World of Good's sweepstakes soon, as it ends on October 15. You could win a trip for two to Guatemala!  www.worldofgood.com/journeyforgood 
We are delighted to work with Global Exchange Reality Tours for our upcoming Fair Trade Trip to Guatemala next March. Not only did we want our trip to be socially, culturally and environmentally responsible but we also wanted our travelers to interact with the people behind the Fair Trade and human rights movements in Guatemala and build memories to last a lifetime. Reality Tours was a natural choice for WorldofGood.com as both organizations are focused on connecting people and increasing awareness about the positive impact that we can make in communities around the world. We look forward to working with Malia and the rest of the staff at Reality Tours on this trip as well as other projects in the future.
Siddharth Sanghvi
General Manager
WorldofGood.com by eBay

3.  South Africa : From one end of the rainbow to another - LGBTQ delegation 
December 7 - 2-, 2010

Are you interested in learning about parallel issues and struggles connecting different LGBTQ communities across the world? Experience Global Exchange's first ever LGBTQ-focused delegation to South Africa!  On a continent experiencing a wave of homophobic campaigns, legislation and rhetoric, South Africa stands as a beacon of light for African LGBTQ rights.  After the dissolution of apartheid in 1994, the self-proclaimed 'Rainbow Nation' boasts one of the most liberal constitutions in the world whereby discrimination based on sexual orientation is explicitly prohibited within the Bill of Rights thus ensuring gay and lesbian equality. In addition, in 2006 South Africa became Africa's first and the world's fifth country to recognize same-sex marriage. While these legal protections stand, unfortunately the lived reality for many members of the South African LGBTQ community remains both unprotected and uncertain. The last few years have seen a wave of assaults and murders of lesbians in particular. Join this delegation to investigate the historical as well as the current issues facing the South African LGBTQ population.  Learn about South Africa's tumultuous past and bright future by examining apartheid, post-apartheid and LGBTQ political landscapes while meeting with leaders and activists to provide an exclusive and intimate view into the LGBTQ-centered grassroots movement. In addition, a trip to South Africa would not be complete without experiencing various sites of natural beauty, national pride and cultural significance.

4. Past Participant Larry Heath shares his insights on his Reality Tour to Nicaragua: Fair Trade and Alternatives to Neo-liberalism this past July.

 A tour that coincided with the 31st anniversary of the Sandinista revolution and the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship on July 19. Read here to read about his experience at the Reality Tours Blog!

Larry Heath

5.  Join Global Exchange staff, founders, board members, and friends at our annual (FREE!) Open House this Friday, October 8 from 6 to 10pm at our San Francisco Headquarters. There will be plenty of food, drinks, dancing, and FUN! Purchase prize drawing tickets online at www.globalexchange.org/2010OpenHouse (you need not be present to win!)

For more information about the open house or to purchase prize drawing tickets and possibly win a trip to Nicaragua, go to www.globalexchange.org/about/OpenHouse.

To make a donation to help support the Open House, go to www.globalexchange.org/openhousedonations

We hope to see you here at 2017 Mission St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8TH!

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