Look for the Rainforest Alliance frog that verifies sourced operators, when booking your trip.
The Rainforest Alliance provides tourism entrepreneurs and community-based businesses in Latin America with the tools and training they need to become more environmentally and socially sound, and to gain access to and be more competitive in the marketplace, while contributing to the conservation of the local culture and nature.
Text provided by the Rainforest Alliance
What is TOPS?
Launched by the Rainforest Alliance, TOPS is a community of tour operators that have come together to help conserve threatened landscapes and provide sustainable livelihoods for the local communities where they work. Each participating region is represented by a locally based and elected tour operator who works to coordinate activities and provide input to the larger TOPS community.
By joining TOPS, tour operators commit to improving the sustainability of their own practices as well as the sustainability of their suppliers in various tourism destinations. The result: sustainability ripples down the supply chain. Hotels are inspired to operate responsibly, TOPS participants are motivated to promote sustainable tourism businesses and consumers are encouraged to visit eco-friendly destinations.
What Adventure Life’s commitment to the Rainforest Alliance means?
The Rainforest Alliance is a leading international conservation organization whose goals include promoting ecologically and socially responsible best practices for tourism businesses in Latin America. We promote tourism certification programs by publicizing the various programs’ requirements and the benefits of certification. The Rainforest Alliance also gathers and distributes information about current tourism market conditions and trends, provides marketing support to participating tourism businesses and creates commercial alliances that benefit owners of sustainable tourism businesses.
Tour operators who sign these cooperative agreements agree to motivate their affiliated business enterprises to conserve biodiversity and reduce tourism’s negative impacts. The agreements offer staff with these affiliated lodges and enterprises the opportunity to receive training on effective business management and the requirements of sustainable tourism certification programs. Participants can then elect to receive technical assistance and marketing support if their businesses meet specific requirements.
A Working Relationship
The Rainforest Alliance’s relationship with tour operators begins when they sign a contract that spells out commitments by both parties. We then provide introductory seminars about best practices and tourism certification programs, including an introduction to our program.
Next, the Rainforest Alliance invites staff with their affiliated lodges and enterprises to attend workshops that allow us to delve deeper into the subject of sustainability, and study successful businesses that have implemented best practices or have earned eco-labels.
Then, the staff of businesses that meet specific requirements may elect to receive additional Rainforest Alliance support -- our experts will provide them with an in-depth analysis of their business, including technical assistance, marketing support and publicity designed to attract more visitors.
For their part, the tour operators agree to be responsible for organizing the seminar and training events, recruiting participants and motivating them to join our best practices program. Tour operators also agree to give priority to hotels and lodges that adopt best practices, in tour packages offered to international tourism wholesalers.
For more information about Rainforest Alliance visit www.rainforestalliance.org
What this means for your Adventure Life trip?
Adventure Life has formed an alliance to source from Rainforest Alliance verified inbound operations currently in Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico & Costa Rica to promote sustainable tourism. When you see the Rainforest Alliance logo, you can feel confident that the components of our tour – including local operators, hotels, lodges or yachts – have been trained in the Rainforest Alliance’s Best Management Practices in Sustainable Tourism Program. Furthermore, as a responsible traveler, you can feel good that you are participating in a tour that has proven its dedication to supporting sustainable tourism.
Adventure Life staff member, Julia Kocubinski, made her first visit Ecuadorian Amazon in February to review – learn from, and lend insight to -- Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve, Huarani Ecolodge, Sani Lodge, Secoya Lodge and the Napo Wildlife Center. These lodges sought-out assistance from Rainforest Alliance. A return visit was made in August 2011 by staff member, Beth Conway. Adventure Life is one of only four tour operators to partner with the Rainforest Alliance on this project.