This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Kerala tailor made tour, 8 days
This trip uses some unique accommodation which has been sourced to ensure that the environmental impact of this trip is kept as low as possible. The charming homestay of Vanilla County in the village of Teekoy is set upon a working farm / plantation that is dedicated to the growing of organic produce.
Much of the food offered to guests is grown on the farm itself, including spices, vegetables, coffee and tea, and although bottled mineral water is available guests also have an option to drink genuine mineral water from natural springs of the mountains, boiled and filtered, to minimise the use of plastic bottles.
Specific practices are followed in order to ensure the long term fertility of the soil, crop rotation is practiced and wherever possible renewable sources from the farm itself are used for manure. No chemical pesticides are used, being substituted instead with neem oil and tobacco tea, and particular attention is paid to water conservation with water pits and rain water harvesting being used in order to minimise environmental impact. Solar power is used for heating water, and low energy lamps are employed throughout the accommodation.
Other accommodation includes a tastefully converted rice barge and the charming homestay at Emerald Isle, both of which have made extensive use of local materials, practice responsible waste disposal policies and source all ingredients for meals from within local communities.
In our UK office we recycle extensively, from paper and envelopes to ink cartridges, plastic bottles and food packaging, with dedicated recycling bins. We minimise our use of electricity by turning off appliances and using energy efficient lightbulbs, and our toilets use reduced water cisterns to minimise our use of water.
Through the use of local homestays and locally owned accommodation within this trip we try to support the communities that we travel through as much as possible. We feel that the homestays in particular not only allow travelers a greater insight and understanding into local culture and customs but it is important in allowing families in often remote areas to earn an income from tourism, rather than travelers just passing through the area and contributing very little to the people that actually live there. Homestays tend to spend more of the money that they earn within the local community rather than buying food and supplies from further afield.
From Emerald Isle travelers can book an excursion to visit local villages; this is carried out in conjunction with the villages themselves so that they are able to gain some income from tourism in their area, rather than being excluded, and travelers are also able to buy locally produced handicrafts which support small cottage industries.
The Vanilla County homestay works in close connection with the local community, employing local guides for excursions in the area and making use of public transport and auto-rickshaws to travel around the area; the latter in particular helping to provide employment for people outside of the homestay itself. Guests are encouraged to spend their money in nearby shops rather than in the accommodation itself, ensuring that a little more 'trickles down' and local people also benefit from their presence.
Within our pre-departure information we include an extensive section about traveling responsibly, which covers appropriate behaviour and guidelines as to how our travelers can minimise their negative impact upon the destinations they visit. This covers aspects such as:
- respecting local dress codes - buying goods that are locally produced - eating in locally owned restaurants