We care about the countries to which we travel. Consequently our objective is to maximise the economic benefit that we can bring to these destinations whilst trying to minimise our environmental and social impact. We are committed to continually reviewing and improving our Policy of Responsible Practice.
- After 21 years, we are well aware of the adverse impact that mass tourism can have on a country. Many of our own destinations have changed drastically over the course of our existence and while one must not condemn a nation’s desire to earn revenue from foreign visitors, we do, wherever possible, advise great caution before a country opens its flood gates to cheap package tours.
- We support a number of charities which promote a wide range of education programmes together with environmental and community projects in the countries we visit. When possible, we encourage our travellers to visit these initiatives. A full list can be seen under Charity Portfolio.
- We are well aware that international hotel chains frequently repatriate a significant proportion of their profits. As a result we encourage our clients to use locally owned restaurants, shops and other local businesses so that the communities directly benefit from your expenditure.
Our Partners Abroad
- As with most tour operators, we sub-contract the handling of our clients to a third party in the country of destination. Our intention is to find a partner who shares the same core values and ethos as ourselves.
- We prefer, where possible, to partner with smaller, family owned and run companies. Not only does this ensure that the local community benefits directly from your holiday, but in addition it is our view that overall our clients will receive a higher standard of service.
- Similarly, we favour agents who have an awareness of responsible tourism policies, a strong environmental commitment and who actively support local environmental and community initiatives. Responsible practice is one of the principle criteria during the selection of new suppliers and environmental initiatives form a fundamental element in our ground arrangements.
- In addition to feedback from our staff educational visits, all our agents are requested to keep us updated on their own responsible tourism practices and community projects, so that we can recommend these to our own clients.
- We endeavour to use experienced and responsible local guides and drivers. This not only provides crucial employment and income for the local community, but it also ensures our clients obtain a better understanding of the region in which they are travelling.
- Travellers are encouraged to report back on their experience and on the behaviour and awareness of our agents and local guides once they have returned home from their trip. Only in this way can we improve and ensure our demands are being met.
- We favour small locally owned hotels over large international chains. We work closely with our local ground agents to source smaller guesthouses, B&Bs, boutique hotels and eco-friendly lodges where possible. This ensures that as much revenue as possible remains in the host country as well as providing a more authentic experience for our travellers.
- Where available, we recommend our travellers stay in lodges and hotels that aim to preserve the beauty of their natural surroundings and that have recycling projects and similar environmental policies in place.
- Our staff travel frequently to the countries they sell and furthermore are encouraged to read both historical and contemporary literature about their destinations. This ensures that while they will have a good understanding of the culture and customs of the region as a whole, they will also be aware of local nuances that are frequently overlooked. Itineraries, accommodation and local environmental practices are all discussed on their return. Furthermore any particular points are noted on their online blogs.
- Whilst we recognise that a vital element of any holiday is relaxation, we do try to encourage our travellers to be aware of the impact they can inflict on the destination they choose. For each country we provide notes on the local culture and customs or details of any sensitivity surrounding the chosen destination. Where applicable, our local guides will also brief our travellers upon their arrival. We hope this will serve not only to ensure the sustainability of our destinations, but also to improve the quality of the experience overall.
- In addition to providing advice specific to each destination, we have drawn up a generic Travellers Code (see below) which we hope will benefit all our travellers as well as the destinations they visit. These travel guidelines include advice on everything from preserving local resources to appropriate tipping and bartering customs.
- Ethical considerations are also part of our research and development process and we encourage feedback on our practices. Travellers are asked to comment and make suggestions on our responsible practice when completing the post-trip questionnaire they receive when travelling with us.
- Our ‘responsible policy’ is not just limited to the destinations in which we operate. Responsible practice is exercised in our office with various measures put in place aimed at reducing, re-using and recycling resources where possible.
- We carry out dedicated responsible induction sessions with all employees upon joining the company.
- We minimise our electricity consumption. We also monitor thermostats and keep doors and windows closed when the heating is on. We do not use air conditioning preferring simply to open a window when it becomes too hot.
- We recycle all office paper, encourage double-side photocopying and, where appropriate, circulate documents by email. We also exercise effective control of brochure production, distribution and disposal and try to encourage our suppliers to send invoices electronically or we pay through a process of ‘self billing’.
Over the years we have helped a wide variety of causes from wildlife, human rights issues and education programmes through to the environmental and conservation projects. While the list is far from exhaustive it includes:
- Tusk Trust
- Rain Forest Concern
- Galapagos Conservation Trust
- Charles Darwin Foundation
- Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust<
- Climate Care
- Global Canopy
- Global Tiger Patrol
- Jane Goodall Institute
- Save the Rhino
- Scott Polar Research
- WWF - China
We are committed to developing our Policy of Responsible Practice even further in the future. Our aim is to continually incorporate new responsible practices into our business at all levels and encourage our suppliers to do the same.
Nicholas A G Laing