We are excited to roll out the first VESTA workshop with our network of guides and porters in Darjeeling and Sikkim in February 2014. We have chosen this region for our pilot because of it’s high dependency on tourism, the sensitivity of its ecosystems, and our connections there through our advisor Jamling Tenzing Norgay and our partner organization Broadleaf. Not only will the guides and porters of Darjeeling be the world’s first VESTA Sustainable Certified tour providers in the world, they will be the first guides that qualify to sell their services on voygr.com.
We are also poised to start working soon in Uttarakhand, experimenting with a voluntourism model at our partner organization Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya School (APV) – an affordable mountain school that believes in meditation, music, community living, and self-betterment as the basis for holistic education. We want to cater specifically to clients interested in high-mountain retreats and meditation as a way to develop livelihoods in the region, support the cause of APV, and raise awareness of the social and ecological challenges of the Himalayas.