Responsible tourism: Iran small group tour, Persian Odyssey
Iran is a country where 'green' policies and principles are not exactly buzz words so it's all about the little things adding up to slowly start to make a difference. We are always talking to our local ground agents about the importance of stressing to clients the importance of basic responsible principles such as appropriate waste disposal, not to waste water, turning off lights on leaving the room in hotels, not replacing towels and bedding daily etc. In a country of so much desert with water shortages and a low power supply it is important for the growing tourist numbers to have minimal impact.
Our local agents are also keen to stress to visitors the importance of not straying from marked trails at historic sites, an important step towards maintaining the sites for future generations.
As a company we have introduced responsible practices in our UK office including paper, cardboard, aluminium and plastic recycling. We also support local UK charities including the RNIB and various charities around the world. 50% of our office staff use public transport (bus and train) and cycle to work. Management encourages this with their introduction of the cycle to work scheme which offers subsidised cycle ownership.
By the very nature of life in Iran all services are provided by local Iranian people. This includes your local English-speaking group guides, the drivers, local guides at various monuments/sites and hotel staff. All staff are paid a fair wage for Iran and all wages are kept within the local communities thereby supporting local people. Furthermore, by visiting these hotels and sites additional income is brought into the region, further helping to develop the local area.
Almost all meals are included on the itinerary and food is sourced locally whether it is served in hotels or a local restaurant. All hotels on the itinerary are locally owned, managed and run.
Possibly one of the key positive benefits of visiting Iran is the albeit sometimes small influence outside attitudes and cultures can make on the people of the country. Iranian people are always welcoming and friendly and keen to learn a little about Western ways. This vacation helps to allow each culture to learn a little about the other which should hopefully encourage tolerance between Iran and the outside world.