Inspiration, Responsible Tourism

Fighting back against organised crime with our Etna Volcanic Adventure’s responsible tourism policy

April 26, 2012

Sicily is best known for Mt Etna, Europe’s most active and explosive volcano – indeed we regularly take teams of trekkers up there on our Etna Volcanic Adventure, and second most well known for its heritage in Greek mythology and it’s beautiful untouched landscapes.

The third association on the list is not so pleasant. The era of ‘Gangster Rackets’ may seem long past to us, but unfortunately for the people of Sicily it is still very much a reality as around 80 per cent of Sicilian businesses pay up a “pizzo”. “pizzo” is the term used for ‘protection money’ paid by a business to the Mafia, usually coerced and constituting extortion. Businesses that refuse to pay the pizzo may suffer extreme harassment.

In return for the “pizzo”, businesses receive “protection” and can enlist the neighbourhood “Mafiosi” to cut through bureaucracy or resolve disputes with other tradesmen. Collecting the pizzo keeps the Mafia in touch with the community and allows them to “control their territory”.  According to Antimafia police estimates, organized crime collect about €30 billion a year in pizzo, not just in Sicily but in Calabria, Naples and the North.

However, there are organisations out there that are fighting back against the God Father mentality! One such organisation is Addio Pizzo, an anti-racket focussed charity who works to create a new way of thinking for Sicilian entrepreneurs and break the mafia hold. It also looks to protect local companies who may be victims of the Mafia and raises awareness so that more companies and local people in Sicily are not affected by this.

For every trek that we operate, we donate approximately $20 per participant to a local community project to help with education, the environment, or healthcare. So by participating in our Etna Volcanic Adventure; you are making a vital contribution to Addio Pizzo. So by signing up this amazing trek, not only do you get the chance to summit Europe’s most active volcano! You also get to effectively “stick it to the mob”. What more reasons could you need!

To learn more about all our charity challenges, and find out how else we get involved with responsible tourism. Please visit our website at, and to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

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