North East India tour, Meghalaya & beyond

Responsible Travel, Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: North East India tour, Meghalaya & beyond

Environment

The company that organises this vacation is a multi-award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travelers are well-informed, as an informed traveler tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveler. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.

One of the first stays on this adventure is with a local Khasi family. Not only do they promote their way of life they educate in the local traditions and customs, through walks, and cookery classes. The daughter of the family runs an eco-bamboo company making utensils, cups, bowls etc. But as well as making them, she looks at how to replant and sustain the environment around the business.

The local Khasi business owners that are partners in this trip are very keen to treat nature with reverence, after all, in a remote area such as this suitability is a by word. They use home grown produce or that from the local villagers, while lodges and hotels are built with and use to furnish, locally sourced material.

The Kaziranga National Park is now over 100 years old and was formed to ensure the local animals was conserved. It is home to over 2200 one-horned rhinos, 2/3 of the world’s population. This is a UNESCO world heritage site with a special rhino protection force. Poaching has not been eradicated as yet, however; the numbers involved have been declining. Very much a case of poachers beware! The tiger, elephant wild water buffalo and swamp deer have also increased in numbers thanks to the efforts of the park.

The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).

Community

The properties we use in this itinerary are owned and operated by local families who believe in using locally sourced if not home grown produce, they employ villages at their properties and believe that they are the keepers, the guardians of the environment that gives then so much in return.

At the eco-bamboo company in Shillong the workers come from the village and produce ethically made products for sale.

At another of the properties the entire workforce is made up from local Khasi women, giving the community employment. When the resort was built, it was to provide much needed employment in the area, the native home of the owner, as the town was becoming neglected as many residents were migrating to the cities looking for work.

In terms of information, all travelers are given guidelines on Traveling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have a Community Tourism Information sheet for travelers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They are also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, e.g. rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveler being more aware.

The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveler wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.

They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed, they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.

The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. It is a charity we encourage our travelers to donate to if they would like to give something back.

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