It’s been said before, but for us responsible travel really is more than just a marketing catchphrase. Indeed, to travel to remote and unusual destinations carries with it a responsibility that should not be ignored.
At Undiscovered Destinations we do not claim to be ‘pioneers’ of responsible travel, however, we can promise you that it is something we take very seriously. It guides our philosophy and shapes our itineraries along with the experiences we create for our groups.
- We understand that 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.
- As a business, we take our role incredibly seriously and are determined to put as much as possible back into the communities we are privileged to visit. Undiscovered Destinations have gone to great lengths to personally research our group tours and to meet with our locally owned and operated suppliers. Strong relationships have been built with these operators who we prefer to call ‘colleagues’. We believe that our continued success is dependent on this close relationship.
- Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers. This means 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. It is importnat that we engage with our suppliers on an equal basis. In most cases, trying to get the lowest possible price 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 all part of the key to our success. In addition, us working together is much more than just a business arrangement. It is an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
- Our travellers are usually only accompanied by locally based staff and guides. Unlike some other small group tour operators, we do not send UK or other non-local staff to escort our clients. This only happens when it is absolutely unavoidable. Additionally, this ensures that your tourist spend goes directly in to the local economy.
- Undiscovered Destinations actively support and advise our overseas colleagues on a range of issues. In fact, this is intended to benefit their overall business and 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. For example, we will consider payment of their airfare and accommodation costs to make this possible.
- Undiscovered Destinations along with our overseas colleagues can often be described as the pioneers in tourism. We believe that this represents a unique and exciting opportunity. It allows us to assist in the formulation a clear Environment Policy at an early stage of the country’s tourism development. All at Undiscovered Destinations are determined to set the standard and to do this we constantly review our operations both locally and in the UK.
- We work closely with our locally owned suppliers to inform and educate their staff about a range of issues. For instance, litter and waste disposal and also water conservation.
- Litter is a huge problem in many countries where there is limited or no infrastructure for waste disposal. The first step is to ensure that on our group tours we minimise the use of resources in the first place.
- Wherever possible we use environmentally friendly local accommodation. If this is not possible we make every effort to alert the management of the accommodation to ways of improving their service with the environment in mind.
- Clearly a lot of the hotels and lodges we use are in extremely remote areas. Many 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. Undiscovered Destinations 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.
- Clients are encouraged to make full use of our website. This includes the facility to download a brochure and tour dossier for viewing. Printed copies are then not required.
- Our team are avid users of public transport and the company and its Managing Director do not own any motor vehicles. The local metro system is used 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 consumption.
- 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 group size and limited departures means that our impact on the destinations that we visit is small and sustainable. Importantly, we do not bringing groups to our destinations on a regular basis. We hope not to have an adverse effect on the sometimes vulnerable ethnic groups that live there.
- Our team are working hard to promote destinations that so far do not appear on the tourist map. This is an investment in the future and in the belief that we can create sustainable social benefits. These are regions 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.
- Undiscovered Destinations ensure that our guides and clients are sensitive to local attitudes. All are expected to act responsibly in their interaction with local people.
- Clients and guides are briefed on local customs and general courtesy. For example, asking permission before taking photographs and appropriate dress-codes and conduct in places of worship.