We believe strongly that forest conservation through ecotourism is most effective when local community members are directly involved and empowered in their roles. This is why we spend significant time working with villages to learn together about conservation and sustainable tourism practices, and identify and work in partnership with growing local leaders. This is also why we are committed to working solely with guides from Kerinci, and work hard to make sure that all guides and porters come from the communities as close as possible to the forest-edge or site of interest. We also strive to partner with guides that are both experienced in the forest, and experienced with English. However, as tourism to the area is still so new, many guides are still in the process of learning, and may not be 100% proficient. Thank you for supporting and encouraging them in this learning process!
To be clear: as advocates of community-based ecotourism, only local guides accompany visitors on trips with Wild Sumatra unless it’s an exploratory or training trip. We also believe in the importance of guests having an authentically local experience, and for local communities to have full ownership – as such, you will likely not interact with anyone but them during your trip – there are no foreigners inserting themselves. Our guides are all independent—we simply work together with them in equal partnership behind the scenes to support their goals and assist them in areas like training and development, marketing their services, networking, email communication, logistics and planning. Wild Sumatra in Kerinci is not a tour operator, but rather a platform to assist local guides, consulting with them in how best to promote the Kerinci region and their services to a wider global audience.
When you book a tour on this website you are booking a tour directly with the local guide, with all money spent staying in the Kerinci region. In this way, it is the locals at the grassroots who have full autonomy and control, with any non-locals only in a supporting, consulting, partnership, and advocacy role. After all, they will be here long after we have gone.