Responsible tourism: Portugal family activity vacation
Activity: This being a nature-based activity vacation, we are very keen to make our impact on the environment as small as possible. We work within Vicentine Coast Natural Park, Portugal’s largest protected area, and so abide by strict regulations set out by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature. Our leaders take active steps to ensure our groups behave in an environmentally responsible manner, such as sticking to established trails as to prevent path erosion and not leaving anything behind in terms of litter or removing any plants. We have also co-founded the Rota Vicentina Association – an N.G.O. dedicated to promoting sustainable nature tourism, the preservation of the environment and local economy in the area. By traveling with us you are contributing to these goals.
Water: Water is a really important issue with activity trips and especially as temperatures can be very high in the Summer months. Whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular container at their accomodation. We can provide water bottles up to 5 litres in size in order to minimise waste and are vigilant with recycling.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation & Meals: Our base for the week is a comfortable hotel located in a quiet area of Vila Nova de Milfontes, 900 meters from the beach and a short walk into the local town. This location minimises need for transport and fuel consumption, and there are solar panels fitted at the property. Food is an important part of local culture and nowhere more so than in the fertile Alentejo region, known as the bread basket of Portugal. Typical ingredients include various breads, sheep's cheese, black pork, salt cod, wild mushrooms and asparagus. Where meals are provided, we endeavour to buy produce locally from suppliers in the area in order to benefit the community. We also suggest restaurants, cafes and markets in the area for every group, so that when they shop independently we can ensure that smaller businesses profit.
A Fair Deal: As we are based in a very rural environment, our business represents a very important alternative regarding local employment opportunities. Most of our tour leaders were born in the region and others have lived in this region for a long time. They're all part of our community and share the same values and culture. For us, nothing beats a local’s insight into the area you are visiting, and in exchange for this expertise, we are happy to provide steady employment, fair wages and treatment for all of our staff.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.