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Responsible Tourism

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AiTO 3 Star Responsible Tour OperatorTourism is a forceful agent of change and has the potential to both positively and negatively influence development. At Silk Road and Beyond we recognise that we must be accountable for the social, environmental and economic impacts that our business practices have on the natural and socio-cultural environment on which our holidays and clients’ satisfaction ultimately depends. Hence, we aim to lessen the costs and maximise the benefits to the environment and the communities at our destinations, while running a profitable business and without compromising the quality of our products.

Our Responsible Tourism Policy

Economic Responsibility

Through the way we conduct business, we endeavour to maximise the economic benefits for the destinations, by ensuring that as much revenue from our holidays stays in the host countries and that we generate employment and business opportunities, further stimulating infrastructure development, investment and entrepreneurial activity.

Therefore we:

  • Promote and favour locally owned accommodation such as small family run hotels and guesthouses, local home stays and traditional accommodation (i.e yurt camps in Central Asia).
  • Work mostly with local ground agents based at the destination countries, and use local guides and drivers.
  • Provide information and encourage our clients to use local businesses such as handicraft shops, markets and restaurants.
  • Give our clients guidelines on suitable tipping to ensure that local staff receive fairer wages.

Environmental Responsibility

Our activities and itineraries are designed taking into consideration the potential that tourism has to positively benefit the physical environment by contributing to the protection and conservation of biological diversity and natural resources, while minimising (or compensating for) pollution and waste generation.

Hence we:

  • Offset carbon emissions for all our staff flights and office activities through the ClimateCare carbon offsetting scheme, and we encourage our clients to do the same with their own trips.
  • Include in our itineraries destinations or activities that bring travellers into closer contact with nature and the environment, potentially raising their awareness of environmental problems (i.e wildlife sanctuaries).
  • Encourage our clients to stay in ecolodges and other ‘eco-accommodation’ that directly finance conservation initiatives and that are built in harmony with the natural surroundings.
  • Provide our clients with practical guidelines on how to reduce their environmental footprint in the countries they visit. For example, by not buying wildlife souvenirs, minimising the use of resources or generate less waste.

Social Responsibility

Cornerstone to the Silk Road and Beyond experience are the local destinations cultures and heritage, and therefore we design our tours to maximise the opportunity for clients to meet local people, and to experience and learn about their customs and traditions. We are also aware of the negative effect that tourism can have on the inhabitants of the destination and we accept responsibility in educating our clients and ourselves to mitigate this impact.

Accordingly we:

  • Work with local agents that employ native guides and drivers, therefore encouraging the participation and involvement of the host communities, fomenting cultural exchange and understanding, and favouring a more ‘authentic’ experience for our clients.
  • Support community tourism projects and related accommodation by encouraging our clients to include them in their trips. i.e. Ban Tamee Lodge in Laos.
  • Provide travellers with destination specific information that attempts to portray societies honestly, dispel stereotypes and inform about traditions, religion and social norms (i.e. appropriate dress, local customs, tipping and bartering).
  • Encourage tourists to try new experiences, such as cuisines, cultures and ways of life.

 

Carbon Clear

Silk Road and Beyond has teamed up with Carbon Clear to help you repair the biggest environmental impact of your trip – the greenhouse gas emissions from your flight.

When you take one of our trips, we will make a contribution to Carbon Clear at no extra costs to yourself towards 'offsetting' or 'neutralising' these emissions. This is done by funding projects across the world that will reduce greenhouse gases on your behalf through sustainable energy or rainforest restoration. If you'd like more information, please see www.carbon-clear.com.

 

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