Bird watching tour in Pyrenees, Spain

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bird watching tour in Pyrenees, Spain

Environment

1. Wildlife. We are committed to conserving the local wildlife, in particular the birds of most conservation concern in the region and their habitats. Birds of prey feature highly among our priorities and through our actions we believe we have directly benefitted a number of rare species including Lammergeier, Bonelli's Eagle, vultures and Goshawk. This is mainly through supplementary feeding programmes sponsored in part by commercial returns from our birdwatching and bird photography activity. We have also created or improved breeding habitats and sites for Little Owls, Lesser Kestrels and Rollers, through, for example, the provision of nest boxes.
Awareness-raising among the local population, stakeholders and visitors from abroad is another pillar of our pro-conservation action, some examples of this being the publication of books, leaflets, and educational games,the organization of talks, meetings and seminars and placing emphasis on the importance of effective conservation policies at all administrative levels.

2. Waste. We conscientiously reduce the use of paper and expendables in the office. We encourage clients to bring their own bottles or to keep plastic water bottles for refills from large containers. When we take hotel picnics we reuse the bags and cups whenever possible and discourage the use of excessive packaging, aluminium foil, etc. We have been separating and recycling for many years at both personal and professional levels, and we encourage others to follow suit if they don't already!

General: We actively draw our traveler's attention to our Responsible Travel Policy on our website before the tour begins. All of our trips are based on small group sizes for more personal contact between the participants, and a more intimate and low-impact experience on the environments we visit.

Community

1. Friends and neighbours. We intentionally place an emphasis on using small, family-run rural hotels which source most of the food and services we need locally - catering, cleaning, repair work, etc. People at such establishments are usually the best possible source of local information available! They can tell you where to go, and when, what to avoid, etc and are usually proud and happy to do so.

2. Local crafts and culture. We do our modest bit to sustain local jobs and cultural diversity firstly by addressing this as an issue worthy of our efforts. We like to inform clients of cultural and historical attractions along our itinerary, and if the option arises we will gauge their interest in arranging a guided visit with local specialist guides or guiding mechanisms. In this way we have arranged group visits to castles, battle sites, wine cellars, churches, visitor centres and more. We are always keen to help our clients with information about such attractions even if for the duration of the trip they prefer to focus entirely on the birds, and then to redirect their attention either before or after the tour. We actively encourage our clients to purchase local artisanal products for souvenirs instead of mass-produced ones. In the past souvenir items have included locally produced honey, wine, rice, photography books, artwork and more. We believe that sustainable nature tourism needs to raise its public profile. Partly for that reason we visit information centres at nature sites, where we are usually counted and asked where we are from. We also wear binoculars when entering shops, bars and restaurants, we do not want it to be a secret that we are in a particular rural area to enjoy its natural values.

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