People First Tourism: Prioritizing Local People Creates Responsible, Authentic Travel Experiences

Nightborn Travel has provided information about ecotourism in the past, but today we have an exciting announcement! We are launching our new partnership with People-First Tourism – we’ll tell you a little more about their travel philosophy and look at why the experiences they offer are both unique and responsible.

What is People First Tourism?

(c) People First Tourism

People-First Tourism is a company with the goal of connecting local tourism entrepreneurs with the greater tourism market. They help supply authentic, sustainable experiences to travelers, while bringing better opportunities to local people around the world by giving control of tourism to the people that live in different destinations.

What is their philosophy and why should I support it?

(c) People First Tourism

People-First Tourism has an amazing manifesto that shows why traveling with them is a great idea if you are interested in being responsible and sustainable, but it also might inform your personal travel philosophy.

“All people have knowledge and experiences that they want to share with others.” This is at the heart of an authentic experience in any destination, learning the story that local people want to share with the rest of the world. Giving residents the ability to run their own tourism businesses, rather than massive, international companies, assists local people in telling their stories.

(c) People First Tourism

“Communities are complex with constantly evolving factions that use their various capitals to compete, complement, and collaborate with each other.” There are people in every community that are more able than others to benefit from industries like tourism. People-First Tourism helps extend this opportunity to more people in the community.

“Immersive experiences into other ways of living bring perspective on what is important in life and fosters tolerance towards others.” We live in an increasingly connected world, but one that is still plagued by misunderstanding and sometimes hatred. Having authentic experiences that are beneficial for hosts and guests can help us build a better, more understanding world.

(c) People First Tourism

“Visitors are guests in their destination communities.” This means that we travelers should appreciate the hospitality of the people welcoming us into their community, without taking advantage.

“Travel writers must act as ambassadors for host communities.” Whether we’re travel bloggers, visitors, journalists, etc., it is our responsibility to help share the stories that local people in the places that we visit want to tell. In this way, we can help share the lessons we learn with the rest of the world, and encourage more people to help support small businesses around the world.

What experiences do they offer?

(c) People First Tourism

Right now People-First Tourism is offering experiences with hosts in North Carolina, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Guatemala. They include things like exploring natural sites, and learning more about local art and culture.

These host experiences would be great additions to any trip that you might be planning to take to these destinations. The complete People-First Tourism Manifesto is on their blog page.


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  1. I agree that locals should be prioritized!

  2. Looks like a great tourism initiative. I love the local experience and being able to work with a company in certain places like these would be of a real benefit to solo traveling females especially. Thanks for sharing!

  3. ispyprettyplaces

    What a brilliant idea. I always love learning from the locals from the country. Nobody is a better tour guide than a local and you see their pride beaming as they share the best of their country, town, city.

  4. This sounds like such a great initiative! Thank you for being another voice speaking out for responsible tourism! So refreshing, I hope to do a tour with People First Tourism someday soon.

  5. Awesome post about people-first and what they do. I didn’t know about this organization before. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love this! I was just recently talking with a traveler friend about finding ways to connect with the local culture when visiting places- and natural sites and crafts (and food!). Will definitely look more into them!

  7. This is lovely! It sounds like a great way to really connect with the culture and people of a country. Your pictures truly capture the spirit of these people. Seriously love this! Good job!

  8. This sounds really great! One on trip to Lisbon, I had dinner with a local family and I learned so much about them and their viewpoints. It was incredible. I think this is a great initiative .

    • That sounds amazing! We learn so much more when we connect with local people. It’s wonderful that you had the opportunity to share a meal with local people.

  9. I love learning about alternative travel styles. I would have never thought of searching for this on my own but what an amazing way to really immerse yourself in the local culture

  10. Congratulations on the partnership! Sounds very exciting, and a great mission to get behind. I honestly can’t imagine travel without putting people first. It’s the connection with locals that changes everything.

    • Thank you! And I totally agree. Sadly, lots of tourism doesn’t put local people first, so it is great to hear from other people that feel this way.

  11. What a cool company. I love when tourist meets thoughtful actions and respect. I hope they’re successful and spread to some other areas, especially around Latin America.

  12. karen

    This is a great idea. I had a local experience while traveling in Asia and it’s made me rethink all my future trips

  13. We are in the process of organising a similarly immersive activity with local communities in north Thailand, just for a couple of days, but I am sure it will be a highlight of our trip. Good to learn about People First Tourism.

  14. Sarah

    So this is the heart and soul of my blog too! I can’t imagine touring a place without experiencing the local entrepreneurs!! Thank you

  15. Great idea who better would know about where you re visiting, than the locals. Great concept.

  16. I would always like to travel in this style. Travelling as a tourist completely warps your preconceived notion of a place.

    Sondra xx

    • I agree. You get a much better understanding of a place when you get to learn from local people who are teaching you about the things they love the most about their home.

  17. Love the respect behind this for people and other cultures. What a great way to embrace the whole experience.

  18. When I travel, I really liek to spend my time with local people. Before when I was younger I’m used to live in 4 different countries and always spent a lot of time with locals who showed me some hidden places where you can’t find any tourists 🙂
    If you want to see unique places – be friends with locals 🙂 Thats the whole secret of traveling 🙂

    Kasia Walkow

    • Very true, especially if you don’t like hanging around in crowds. It is also so much more beneficial to local cultures when tourism is done like this.

  19. What a great post! Love that they are helping the locals and others immerse within the culture too.

  20. This is an amazing tourism initiative, I love when I find places to visit that are consumed with pleasing just the tourist!

    • Any place that we visit is for the local people, and it is always good to remember that. 🙂 Recreational activities should also be available to residents.

  21. I really love this initiative. I hate going to tourist areas that have lost all elements of the local scene and authenticity.

    • Same here, and I think local people don’t enjoy that most of the time either. There are a few places in my home state that have gone through this, and I don’t even bother visiting anymore.

  22. Omg this is exact my blog’s advocacy and wants to convey to my readers. It is not about selling, its also more on caring for the community, making they part of the subject, and be their own ambassadors.

  23. ayeshafarhad

    This is such a great initiative! I traveled with such a company in the past and it was amazing how the locals made sure that you had the complete tourist experience without feeling like one!

  24. I think this is a great initiative! We should be reminded we are guests when traveling and be grateful to those who are hosting us.

  25. Thsi is such an interesting idea! I’m all for sustainability and giving locals more exposure and support. I think it’s a great way to experience the culture firsthand too!

  26. thank you for the great article , i have followed you by the way

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