It’s been said before, but for us responsible travel really is more than just a marketing catchphrase; to travel to remote and unusual destinations carries with it a responsibility that should not be ignored. We can’t claim to be ‘pioneers’ of responsible tourism, but we can promise you that it is something we take very seriously; it guides our philosophy and shapes our itineraries as well as the experiences we create for our groups.
We are working with some of the least developed and poorest nations in
the world. Although our operation is small and focused we are
passionate about creating real and sustainable economic benefits.
We take our role incredibly seriously and are determined to put as
much as possible back into the communities we are privileged to visit.
We have gone to great lengths to personally research our tours and to
meet with our 100% locally owned suppliers. We have built up strong
relationships with these operators who we prefer to call ‘colleagues’.
We believe that our continued success is dependent on this close
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers,
meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real
economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within
such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We try to
engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest
possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities
and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers
fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our
success and to us working together is much more than just a business
arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly
benefits everyone involved.
Our travellers are usually only accompanied by locally based staff and
guides. We do not send UK or other non-local staff to escort our
clients unless absolutely unavoidable (ie. In Algeria
where English is not widely spoken by local guides).
We actively support and advise our overseas colleagues on a range of
issues, which are intended to benefit their overall business, not just
the business they do with Undiscovered Destinations. We have advised
on brochure and website design, and have contributed financially to
their overseas marketing campaigns.
- Our overseas operators are encouraged to join us in the UK at travel shows to jointly promote their destination. We will consider payment of their airfare and accommodation costs to make this possible.
Undiscovered Destinations, together with our overseas colleagues can
often be described as the pioneers in tourism. We therefore believe
that this represents a unique and exciting opportunity to formulate a
clear Environment Policy at an early stage of the country’s tourism
development. We are determined to set the standard.
We are working closely with our locally owned suppliers to inform and
educate their staff about a range of issues, including litter and
Litter is a huge problem in many countries where there is limited or
no infrastructure for waste disposal, let alone recycling facilities.
The first step is to ensure that we minimise our use of resources in
the first place, in order to generate less waste.
Wherever possible we use environmentally friendly local accommodation.
If this is not possible we make every effort to alert the management
of the accommodation in question to ways of improving their service
with the environment in mind.
Many of the hotels and lodges we use are in extremely remote areas and
are therefore almost entirely self-sufficient, using local sources of
food, labour and construction materials.
We only work with small group sizes, averaging just 6 clients. Our
small group sizes have a very low impact on the environment.
Some of our trips include camping. We go to great lengths to travel
without leaving any trace of our visit.
We encourage clients to make full use of our website, including the
facility to download a brochure and tour dossier for viewing, rather
than sending printed copies in the mail.
We are avid users of public transport and the company and its Managing
Director does not own any motor vehicles. We use our local metro
system to commute to the office and the national rail network to
travel to meetings and appointments within the UK. We avoid taking
domestic flights for travel within the UK.
All clients are provided with a Travellers’ Code of Conduct which
includes suggestions for how to reduce water.
Our Travellers’ Code of Conduct includes suggestions to minimise
damage to the environment, wildlife and marine ecosystems.
- Throughout our programme we have included a growing number of visits to appropriate local projects with direct or indirect environmental benefits.
Our very small groups and limited departures means that our impact –
both cultural and environmental – on the destinations that we visit is
small and truly sustainable. By not bringing groups to our
destinations on a weekly, or monthly basis, we hope not to have an
adverse effect on the sometimes vulnerable ethnic groups that live
We are working hard to promote destinations that so far do not appear
on the tourist map. We are investing in the future, in the belief that
along with our local colleagues we can create sustainable social
benefits for corners of the world, that to-date have been overlooked
by larger tour operators.
We will not provide travel plans for individuals who are not prepared
to travel in a courteous and responsible manner.
We ensure our guides and clients are sensitive to local attitudes and
act responsibly in their interaction with local people.
- Clients and guides are briefed on local customs and general courtesy (such as asking permission before taking photographs/dress-codes/conduct in places of worship etc) and behave appropriately.