Responsible tourism: Ethiopia trekking vacation, small group
We have a social, cultural and environmental conscience! It is vitally important that travel has a positive impact on the social, cultural and environmental aspects of the places we visit. We ensure that when you visit places with us, your presence will help those that live there, that their culture will be respected and that the environment at the very least will not be harmed.
Environmental Policy There are many aspects to the issue of the environmental impact of travel. Flying to the destination, accommodation, food preparation and human waste control. Each of these is covered either directly by our own environmental policy or we ask you to assist by for example, offsetting your carbon emissions to get to your destination. We try to use eco friendly accommodation where possible. Food is bought and prepared locally. We try to use fresh produce as much as possible.
All expeditions are accompanied by rubbish bags. These bags are used by our local staff to remove non biodegradable stuff from the mountain. When at high altitudes, where food does not decompose well, we also return food scraps to Addis to be disposed of. We encourage our trekkers to participate in this process too.
We strongly believe in the motto 'take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints'. Our guides and porters are always careful to leave as little trace as possible of our presence when we visit remote locations, we never leave any rubbish. Remember, the less rubbish you create the better, as many countries don't have adequate rubbish collection infrastructures in place, let alone recycling facilities.
We also inform the trekkers how to treat nature along the way, where they can go to the bathroom. how close they can get to wildlife etc. We teach our local staff the dos and don'ts in relation to how to treat the environment. We discourage hunting and deforestation for burning wood as well as keeping camp sites clean and clear of waste.
A key feature of our green tourism policy is that we make sure we boil all drinking water when on location, rather than relying on bottled water. This makes a huge difference to the local environment, as bottles take tens of thousands of years to biodegrade. Be aware of the environmental impact washing in streams and other natural water sources could have - many shampoos, soaps et cetera contain harmful chemicals which are then deposited into the ecosystem. Eco-friendly soaps are available to buy.
Office procedures We do not produce printed brochures. All our branded stationery is carbon neutral, manufactured using 100% wind power. Green seal and FSC certified it is acid free, environmentally friendly, recycled paper. We also ensure we recycle any waste paper in the UK office, in order to reduce our carbon footprint further. We promote volunteering and sustainable tourism to all our customers. The wonderful thing about adventure travel is that it can be an opportunity to get involved hands-on in practical community projects around the world. There is nothing quite as fulfilling as knowing you're making a direct difference and building something for the future.
Cultural Policy All societies have their own rules, borne out of generations of cultural development. We are not here to change these directly, but to witness them and appreciate them as another form of human existence. While on expedition, we will respect local cultures, those developed out of religion or social norms. We ask you to respect these to, as they are no better or worse than our own.
Services of a local guide Our company employs local guides and porter, thus ensuring that economic benefits remain in local hands. We also encourage craftsmen at various destinations to produce local and traditional crafts keeping tradition alive for their children. We advise them to sell their wares for reasonable prices so that tourists do not go away with either nothing or feel they have been taken for a ride.