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Travelling Responsibly - Himalayan Footsteps

National Geographic publish on their website a definition of responsible travel, as it came out of the Cape Town Conference in 2002. We already implemented the guidelines coming from this conference in our Ethical Policy. Here we have a short summary for you what we are doing to make our tours responsible:

“Assess how your style of travel affects local economics. Responsible travel works to leave your spending in local hands.”

All our hotels and guides are handpicked. The hotels are locally owned, the guides are all locals. Our tours visit remote villages, to make sure these can get their share of tourism revenue as well. All the money spent in the holiday destination and for hosts and staff on tour stays in the destination country.

“Gauge the environmental impact of your travel on your destination. Responsible travel attempts to reduce water use and energy waste, support local conservation, and avoid situations such as “pumping sewage into beautiful bay”

The hotels we use are chosen and inspected by our own staff to ensure they are likeminded about preserving the beautiful environment they are set in. We also ask them to fill in a social and environmental impact assessment. Where they lack good practice we encourage improvement and suggest practices that worked well in similar hotels.

We partner with trees4scotland to carbon offset all flights that are booked together with our holidays.

“Examine the cultural impact of your trip. Look for meaningful connections with local people and an understanding of the local culture.”

As our guides are all locals, they will tell our travellers all about their culture, and prevent them from offending unknowingly. We also offer homestays in Nepali villages and volunteering projects, where our travellers can really understand and live the culture and make new friends.

What does responsible travel mean to you? We would love to hear your comments and suggestions: What do you do to travel responsibly and what do you expect from responsible tourism businesses?