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Published on : Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A unique model of self-sustainable eco-tourism is enjoying great success thanks to online supporters from around the world. From Fiji and Sierra Leone to the heart of Italy, these are locally managed communities welcoming motivated visitors to take part in both fun and work at incredibly beautiful sites.
In 2006 an online community or “tribe” called TribeWanted started by social entrepreneurs Ben Keene and Filippo Bozotti began the endeavour. Their mission was to build a sustainable tourism community on the Fijian island, Vorovoro, in partnership with the villagers.
The campaign caught fire and within a few weeks 1,000 people from 21 countries supported the project with on average $250 each. Over the next four years, a rotating group of 15 tribe-members, built the cross-cultural island community along with the landowners and 25 Fijian employees.
This success story soon led to the creation of new eco-villages in John Obey Beach, Sierra Leone in 2010 (check their beautiful videos here) and Monestevole, Italy in 2013.
These communities are funded by worldwide members, starting at £10 ($12) per tribe member per month. Members can then vote online for new locations and distribution of any surplus money, connect with sustainability experts, and reserve a stay at any TribeWanted location at a discounted rate.
During a few, rainy days in early October I traveled with my daughter and a group of 15 other people (mostly Germans) to the new “eco-tribe” in Italy to experience this communal living experiment.
We helped with farming activities and hearty meal preparation, played music together and spent time wandering and marveling over the beautiful scenery.
It’s a collaborative, social experiment based on a simple truth: another world is possible, here and now. When you build a sustainable business model around conviviality and sharing, people can actually put into practice a new lifestyle around this belief.