May 12, 2016
Written by Kirsty Barnby, Founder of Island Spirit.
Founded in 2012 partly in response to category 6 cyclone ‘Tomas’ in Fiji, and partly to create ecotourism income generation opportunities for remote communities on the outer islands. Kirsty had built relations with the people of Fiji during her 9 month contract as a volunteer Marketing Manager in Suva in 2009. She’s since spread her wings to Vanuatu, Barbados and Sri Lanka.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We go local.
We are here to help you organise your very own tailor-made, authentic island experience giving you a chance to truly get into the island spirit of one of our four extraordinary destinations.
From volunteering on coral reefs to remote, island camping and yoga, surfing, kayaking and hiking adventures with hand chosen, local guides, all our trips are designed especailly for the open-minded and eco-conscious, traveller.
We specialise in a unique combination of local island knowledge, passion for fairtrade, sustainable travel, and unparalleled island experience provides the foundation for a unique journey.
There is no such thing as a typical trip with us – that isn’t what we are here for. We help you to combine your passions whether they be adventure activities, short-term volunteering, cultural immersion, or responsible travel. We design your journey to incorporate everything to suit your individual desires and needs.
We give every single one of our travellers the chance to be involved in their own journey more. We believe that the more you give, the more you get rings true.
10% of proceeds go towards our hand chosen, local community projects where they need the help most. These projects benefit the larger community. So there is a direct incentive to both keep the environment healthy and uplift the community. The most important thing is that the people living with wildlife are getting direct benefits from that wildlife.
We are so proud to be the first ever organisation in the world to specialise in responsible travel and be a member of the world Fairtrade Organisation (WFTO).
Island Spirit don’t own a resort, car or pay to do media advertising (one exception was when we were asked to feature in the National Geographic Islands Collection 2018, we couldn’t say no!).
We work closely alongside local villages (in Fiji we work with eight and Sri Lanka three), businesses and guides because we believe responsible tourism is a long term strategy to increase quality of life for both the islanders, the natural environment and resultantly us the travellers!
HOW DO WE DO IT?
As a small organisation, with a founder who spreads her time between the destinations, we are able to engage with local communities far more than most travel organisations. This makes the overall benefit to communities and individuals greater as they are a fundamental part of who we are as an organisation.