Responsible tourism: Winter walking and snowshoeing vacation in Italy
Activity: Snowshoeing has very little impact on the environment as we don’t need to expend any energy apart from our own to get around. We respect our natural surroundings and operate on a strict ‘leave no trace’ basis. Aside from snowshoeing, we visit small towns and museums along our route, where we employ young people from a social cooperative to guide us. The 16th century village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is particularly beautiful with its imposing Medici watchtower and cobbled streets.
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 and Meals: We spend four nights in a welcoming B&B situated in traditional stone buildings and authentically renovated in the historic center of Calascio. The remaining three nights are spent in a hotel with a small wellness center attached. Some of the buildings are fitted with solar panels and we adhere to recycling and waste disposal regulations. The local restaurant we use buys seasonal produce directly from nearby farmers. Meals are hearty, plentiful and include fresh meat, vegetables and even homemade pasta. Food is a massive part of Italian culture and we aim to encourage traditional customs by delivering authentic culinary experiences.
Community As we stay in a community with only 70 inhabitants, right in the middle of a National Park, the local community is hugely reliant on tourism. As we use small, family-run lodges and a local restaurant, the community benefits greatly from our stay and especially in the winter time. We visit a sheep farm with the group, where clients are able to get an impression of the rural, agricultural lifestyle in the area. They are also able to see sheep’s cheese being made here and purchase some local produce. This is a valuable avenue of income for the farm.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 15 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.