Responsible tourism: Hiking vacation in Vietnam, hidden hilltribes
In their offices, our local partner in Vietnam recycles and re-uses paper and prints on both sides, to avoid waste. Once used, paper and other waste is recycled and lights and air-conditioning are turned off when not in use. Apart from the overnight train, and a few transfers, the majority of the tour is hiking. This is the perfect way to experience the area, being immersed in the area, with very little environmental impact. We also do a walking tour in Hanoi, and an optional visit to the Dong Xuan market, time permitting. We stay in rural villages, in bamboo huts and traditional homestays where we enjoy traditional meals, ensuring that isolated tribes benefit economically from tourism and have the opportunity to share their culture and traditions with visitors who would not otherwise come to the area. Accessibility of environmentally friendly resources is limited in the region, however, suppliers and staff are educated in the benefits of becoming a greener company and therefore a greener society.
We are committed to helping the local communities that we visit on our tours, and so is our local agent. We employ local Vietnamese people to operate this tour, and a staff development program has been recently introduced to allow for career development and ongoing training opportunities. Fair practices are employed towards local staff to ensure that wages and benefits are above fair levels. On our tours, preserving the local cultures and customs and supporting local communities is our priority. Guides are sensitive to local customs and religious and ancient sites and visitors are informed and encouraged to respect these. Many attractions visited by other tour operators are avoided for social or fair-trade reasons, as well as ensuring you get a more authentic experience. Guests are advised the best places to buy local handicrafts, where they are able to purchase fair-trade, authentic, good value souvenirs whilst benefiting the local community, and contributing to the local economy. Our local partner also promotes the KOTO restaurant scheme which sponsors underprivileged street youths – employing and training them in hospitality skills for onward employment opportunities.