Responsible tourism: Nakasendo Trail walking tour, Japan
1. Protection of Local environment Our tours are all small-group, both avoiding the need for large vehicles and hotels, and ensuring we donít overwhelm the places we visit. Where our tours use mountain or countryside trails, we ensure that we donít damage vegetation by using only established trails. We leave what we find, so no taking of plants, rocks, archaeological artefacts, etc.
2. Wild life We respect wildlife by avoiding quick movements, loud noises, getting too close and feeding animals. We help with the preservation of local culture by educating visitors about local traditions and crafts, and making the history and culture a central theme of their visit.
3. Energy We reduce the consumption of energy by unplugging all electronic appliances when leaving the office. During the day when it is bright we use natural sunlight and avoid turning on the light. During the summers we use electric fans instead of air conditioners.
4. Waste We follow the principles of ĎLeave no Traceí on our walking tours. We do not leave behind any waste on our tours. On our walking tours we dispose of all waste properly to avoid contamination of water sources. We avoid as much the use of paper, and do as much of our marketing as possible on-line, using internet fax and avoid printing out paper. When we do print we use double side as much as possible.
5. Transport We use local public transport as much as possible where this is an option, lessening the environmental impact of extra vehicles on small country roads. We encourage our employees to walk/bike to the office
A fair deal We work only with small local businesses rather than international chains, and where possible we source goods and supplies locally, using only small, locally-owned and run accommodation and restaurants. This ensures that as much as possible of the money remains within the local economy.
For our accommodations where possible we choose to use locally family inn run by family for generations. On this Nakasendo Trip we use Daikichi an accommodation that has run in the family for three generations.
We higher local staff and provide sickness and vacations benefits. The local staff is given full responsibility of tour operations encouraging great responsibility and fostering management skills.
Our tours often visit the lesser-known (but equally enchanting) areas of the countries we visit, and this helps to spread the economic benefit of tourism more evenly. Small group tourism encourages young people who would otherwise leave to find work in the cities to stay and start small-scale sustainable enterprises that cater to visitors. We try to avoid the destinations that cater to mass-market tourism, taking our guest to the lesser-known but if not more rewarding places that larger tour companies tend to avoid due to their unsuitability for large groups. This means our clients money will end up in small community that may have little in the way of work for its young people.
2. Local Crafts & Culture To offer unique, engaging and educative tours which take visitors to lesser-known countries and regions, and introduce them to the culture, history and traditions of the people who live there. We provide cultural classes which help spread and preserve the culture, knowledge and traditions of the locals. We also encourage our tour leaders to have a deep knowledge of the local people and culture. They have often lived and worked locally for many years. By traveling the quieter backroads and encouraging personal contact with the local people, we reveal a side of these countries that most visitors never see.