This is the section that most people will associate most strongly with responsible tourism and it certainly is the most high profile area.
Tourism and the environment must be managed and the relationship monitored. It is something which we take into account throughout the planning of a holiday, the operation of a holiday and the evaluation of a holiday.
Firstly we are a niche operator; we do not send hundreds of clients into one destination during a week. It is not the way in which we operate and nor will it ever be. Large groups are not conducive to successful and high quality activity holidays and so we limit our group size and vary it depending on the destination – our holidays can all be classed as small groups. The group size is always made appropriate with regards to the nature of the environment and the proximity of our guests with the local population. We do not want local people to feel they have been invaded!
We work in remote areas and in many places which can only be described as pristine wildernesses. The impact of unmanaged tourism in these areas can be wholly detrimental. The basis in most of these destinations is that if the environment is damaged then for future clients and generations the word pristine or wilderness might be removed from the descriptions and this would be tragic.
Working with local people obviously provides us with a huge advantage in this respect. Our guides' pride in the regions is always tangible and they ensure that the 'leave no trace' ethos is continually expressed to clients and visibly implemented during the activities.
When we plan our holidays we do so with the environment in mind. We deliberately leave out certain activities if we feel that their impact on the environment is to its detriment. The group sizes which we offer are designed with the client's experience in mind as well as the likely impact on a natural area if large groups are continually bombarding it.
We assess a hotel's facilities with regards to the environment and have developed an audit which we are introducing to enable us to document the processes and facilities in places in each of our hotels with greater accuracy and in order to help provide our clients with further information.
Where possible we always include group transportation. Not only is this obviously more economical but it reduces emissions. We also ask clients to consider the use of public transport such as trains and buses on their free days (when available).
When planning hotels we ensure that we familiarize ourselves with all means of arriving in a destination, whether by train, sea or by road. When flights are involved we encourage clients to off set the emissions caused – in fact we encourage this for all methods of transport.
We dedicate additional time and money to ensuring that the impacts of our holidays are positive and that the environments we operate in remain unspoiled by our presence.