In light of our dedication to the conservation of the environment, a fair economic benefit for local communities and the preservation of cultural values, we ask you to read the Code before departing on your trip. We hope this will serve not only to ensure the sustainability of the areas you are visiting, but also to improve the quality of your experience overall.
Before You Travel
Before you travel, try to learn about the local culture and traditions. A little time spent researching the unique customs of the region you will be visiting can avoid embarrassment and offence, as well as providing a useful insight. Openness and a willingness to learn about the differences between foreign cultures and our own can open many doors, especially when combined with a tolerance of those differences. The notes in your itinerary are there to help you with specific information on the cultural sensitivities of your holiday destination. Try to remember that it is the cultural differences that will make your trip special.
When packing for your trip, consider taking clothes, shoes and toys that you would be happy to leave behind. Pens and notebooks make nice gifts for children, but please try to buy these abroad rather than taking them with you from the UK.
Learn the Language
A few words learnt in a local language can be greatly appreciated and can open the doors to a more “authentic” experience. Likewise, listening to local music and reading local literature will really help you get the most out of your trip.
Adopt the Culture
Consider adopting cultural practices where appropriate but without being patronising. Try to make sure you know how to dress appropriately in places of worship or significance.
Be Cautious Taking Photos
In many regions of the world it is considered offensive to take someone’s photograph without obtaining their permission beforehand. Please try not to be offended should they decline, even if you do not understand why. Also please note that flash photography can be damaging to artwork.
Respect the Environment
You can help to respect and care for the local environment in many ways, such as not picking wild flowers or plants, disposing of litter responsibly and aiming to recycle what you can. Ensure bottled water is locally produced and not imported. You may well have purchase additional items for your trip, remember to recycle any packaging that these came in before you travel and bring items such as batteries back to the UK to be recycled responsibly.
You can help to preserve resources by complying with local environmental initiatives. If your hotel has a policy for reusing sheets or towels, support this as often as you feel you can. Remember to turn off lights and electrical equipment in your room if you are not using them – for example, you could turn televisions off fully rather than leaving them on standby, turn off air-conditioning units when they are not needed or when you leave the room. Do not leave your mobile phone/I-pod/laptop connected to power supplies or the internet. Water is often a precious resource so try to keep your usage of it to a minimum, both in your hotel room and whenever possible throughout your trip.
Respect Natural Habitats
When visiting national parks, stick to set paths in order to preserve the natural habitats and leave animals undisturbed. Keeping noise to a minimum also helps and allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature or simply the peace and quiet.
Take Care When Buying
Ancient artefacts or products made from endangered animals or plants that are on sale were probably acquired illegally, so refusing to buy them is not only in the interests of the local people, the environment and travellers who follow you, but it will avoid any conflict with police and customs. Try to make time for a visit to IFAW (The international fund for Animal Welfare) before travelling and be aware that some crafts encourage deforestation. Your local guide should always be able to advise you if you are in doubt.
Buy Local Goods
It is estimated that as much as 90p in every pound spent by visitors can leave the host country, but we are trying to ensure that as much of your money as possible stays in the local area by supporting community run and locally owned business. You can help us, for example by trying to eat in locally owned restaurants and ordering local drinks and produce rather than requesting international brands. You can encourage local community initiatives such as handmade crafts by buying locally produced souvenirs. Many of the clothes that you will find in the Middle East, for example, are produced in India. Check the label.
Learn the Tipping Culture
Different cultures have different attitudes to tipping, bartering and begging so ask your guide or the local representative for advice so as not to offend. Keep a light heart and a big smile when bargaining and try to remember that small amounts can mean a lot more to your vendor than to you.
Don’t Give Money to Beggars
It sometimes takes a hard heart not to give money to beggars, but remember that if a person earns more than someone who works for a living it may encourage the practice and cause problems for the local economy furthermore giving money to children might dissuade their parents from sending them to school. If you would like to make a donation to the country you have visited, please talk to our Country Directors who will be able to recommend a charity or project that will welcome your donation.
Off Set Carbon
If you are worried about the environmental impact of your trip, you may wish to offset the carbon emissions from your flight. Please see below.
Leave a Destination Better off
Ultimately, we strive to ensure that a visit from any client travelling with us leaves a destination better rather than worse off and we value your co-operation in helping us to attain this goal whilst also enjoying your holiday to the full.
Global Warming & Carbon Reduction
Carbon dioxide is the most significant of the greenhouse gases that are increasingly trapping solar heat and warming the global climate. Predictions are difficult to make but the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated that by 2025, at current rates of warming, world temperatures will have risen by 1.5 ºC. This will lead to a sea level rise of around 20cm and huge changes in climate and vegetation patterns.
Flying is the most carbon intensive way to travel although to date it accounts for just 3% of greenhouse gases. However air travel is growing faster than any other form of transport. Predictions suggest that unless more environmentally friendly engines are developed, by 2050 around 10 % of emissions will be directly attributable to aircraft.
We are fully aware of the many organisations which have emerged to allow travellers to offset their carbon emissions during travel however we refuse to be caught up in a media driven frenzy simply to establish green credentials. Our own view is that many of these organisations are purely money making ventures and frequently only a small proportion of the money generated actually reaches the designated project. Furthermore they remain unregulated with no overall checks to ensure they comply with their stated aim.
We believe that the surest way to prevent global warming is to stop the wholesale destruction of forests through partnerships with local communities. If you would like to help compensate for some of the effects of your journey then you can do so by supporting projects that either extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reduce harmful emissions entering the atmosphere. While there are of course many to choose from, our current favourite remains Rainforest Concern who can be found at:
8 Clanricarde Gardens
London W2 4NA
Tel: 020 7229 2093