Responsible Travel: Our Vision
We founded our Company to impact positively and make a difference. We have owned this as a critical pillar for our Company’s ethos. ‘Responsible Travel’ means a combination of ethical practices to positively impact the environment, society where we operate for commercial benefit, and our employees.
We make sure that we contribute to and support the people and places we visit while making our guests’ dreams come true during their journeys in the Himalayas’ timeless beauty.
We thus work closely with our team, partners, and guests to ensure that our experiences benefit both the local communities and the national economy. At the same time, it alleviates adverse effects on the social and natural environment.
We believe that all aspects of Responsible Travel – communities, environment, and economics – simultaneously support sustainable and attentive tourism. It is essential to develop societies economically while preserving the destinations we visit and the cultural heritage and environment.
We specialise in Boutique Trekking Experiences, which involve spending most of our time in remote parts of our destinations. Some of our routes are entirely off the beaten path track. We take utmost care to provide unique and enriching experiences to our customers.
Our approach to Responsible Travel
Being a responsible tour operator is to be mindfully engaged in the way we work. It is the proactive way we engage in our work and incorporates these essential factors. We have adapted our practices as we see the need in remote parts of the Himalayas.
We enhance our guests’ experiences by paying attention to minute details beyond the routine and transformational life experiences.
We ensure this through:
- Safety first – practice in prevention rather than cure
- Encourage interaction with our staff.
- Promoting local involvement, our team will gladly help with translations when needed.
- Personalised and professional service – we take care of minute details.
We assess our impact by gathering guest feedback after each trip, listening attentively to what is said, and using this proactively to enhance our services and experiences for future guests.
We treat all team members equally, providing a dignified, safe, and favourable work environment and working conditions.
- Above-average remuneration
- Multi-ethnic groups and cohesive teams
- Women and LGBTQ personnel are a priority.
- Employee Insurance
- Mentoring to ensure both professional and personal growth
- Team engagement and constructive feedback
- Encouraging individuality and creativeness
We evaluate our impact through our annual training and team-building events. It includes heart-to-heart sessions between the mentors, management, and field staff.
Supplier Evaluation & Relationship
We continuously maintain respectful, trustworthy, economically fair, and mutually beneficial relationships while instilling strong ethical values to ensure long-term partnerships with our business partners.
We encourage them to minimise their environmental impact and treat their team with mutual respect and as part of an extended family.
- Hotels in cities are encouraged to install lower power-consuming electrical appliances.
- Encourage our transporters to upgrade to electric vehicles when the infrastructure for charging is available.
- Encourage our Wildlife Safari lodges to upgrade to Electric vehicles when jeeps with enough power can be driven through challenging terrain and muddy tracks.
- Raised awareness to the Wildlife Safari lodges of how people feel about animal cruelty while offering Elephant safaris/rides.
- Hotels in cities and towns are encouraged to engage the ‘homeless’ or individual garbage collectors. They collect and sell the garbage to recyclers.
We assess our partners’ impact, quality of relationships, partner sustainability evaluation during our regular test and training trips, and guest reviews.
We encourage our customers to interact with the host communities while extending the benefits to their economies.
- Preserving cultural heritage
- Supporting Rural Women Empowerment organisations
- Internship opportunities
- We put our trekkers in a lodge owned by a deaf gentleman. Now the younger son helps at the lodge.
- We provide a complimentary one-hour massage for women or the blind to our trekkers at the end of their trek.
- We work internally to improve our environmental footprint by choosing suppliers and accommodation providers who take serious steps to lower ecological impact and conservation efforts.
- Sustainable office management: energy, waste, recycling, repurpose, and technology at the office:
- The Founder is still using a 10-year-old Macbook Pro.
- We avoid unnecessary printing. Most documents are shared or distributed electronically. A printer bought in 2008 is still being used.
- The printed A4 papers are recycled to take notes and messages, and the paper is used in small provision shops. The shopkeepers use these papers to make little paper bags to put goods bought by their customers, reducing plastic use.
- We gave away older smartphones and tablets to our field staff’s children. The children utilised it for their online classes during the COVID 19 period.
- Flexible work-from-home arrangements
We have a small office for the core staff, but they were welcome to work from home. We will continue to work from home for more efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding unnecessary travel.
Internet and its carbon footprint.
The internet is a fantastic tool that has become a vital part of our lives. However, are you aware that the internet leaves as much carbon footprint as the aviation industry?
Despite the world coming to a standstill with next to no international flights – internet usage still produced a tremendous carbon footprint. This took place through increased internet use for Online Webinars, Video calls, online classes, video streaming and other forms of entertainment with increased internet use.
Some small steps we take to avoid more carbon footprint:
- We delete all old email communications to free up data for the servers.
- We share google drive links for photos and videos to prevent data usage by attaching heavy folders/files.
- We turn off our Wi-Fi routers at night or when not in use.
Read this article by the BBC…
- We are raising Environmental Awareness in remote Himalayan villages.
i) We have been advising the Shey Phoksundo Tourism Coordination Committee. This Committee is from a very remote part of Nepal in the Trans Himalayan region of Dolpa. They have a growing number of domestic tourists. The Committee has raised awareness among the local villagers, lodge owners, local guides, and tourists’ environmental attention and importance.
ii) We have spoken with one of the largest National Daily English Newspapers on raising awareness for Responsible Behaviour while trekking in remote areas. The Kathmandu Post is a prominent daily newspaper in Nepal. Responsible Travel in Action
Is Responsible Travel a “Hype-word”? We believe not. We work vigorously to ensure our trips are as accountable as possible through our hands-on approach, including continued updates on global and local actions.
We keep in mind that we are located in a developing world and operate in remote and harsh conditions. Therefore, some of our advice/recommendations are more challenging than developed nations. However, we encourage our supplier partners to try to implement the ideas when possible or feasible. Otherwise, we raise their awareness of what is possible.
- We share and encourage the positive aspects of the travel destinations we care about and our guests to visit the destinations we offer.
- Lodges in remote villages are strongly advised to upgrade to double glazing to reduce fuel use for heaters and prolong the dining rooms’ warmth. In addition, it saves precious natural resources such as wood and dried yak dung (it is becoming rare as fewer people continue animal husbandry in the Himalayan villages).
- Double glazed windows in rooms as the temperature difference can be as much as +8 degrees Celcius.
- We give priority to the lodges that have double-glazed windows. However, some newly refurbished clubs have heeded our advice and installed double-glazed windows.
- We promote off-the-beaten-path places and avoid destinations that may be adversely affected by tourism.
- We practice “Lead by example” when operating the more popular destinations by going beyond the norms.
- We emphasise high-quality local guides trained/moulded by us; to provide insights into each culturally sensitive destination.
- We encourage and promote all conservation and environmental projects.
- We minimise our guests’ negative environmental impact while maximising the locals’ benefit support and encourage sound environmental management of accommodation sensitive to sustainable activities.
- We support environmentally and socially valuable projects through constructive feedback, impartial advice, and generating awareness and bringing them business opportunities.
- Staff and customer awareness
Some of our Nano contributions to the environment.
i) Our staff knows the “Leave No Trace” practices. All our refuse from remote camping treks is packed out. They often pick up trash left on the trails by others.
ii) We have been using the Sawyer 0.1 micron water filter to provide safe drinking water to our customers. This helps us reduce our carbon footprint by not having to boil water and avoiding single-use plastic bottles.
iii) We provide non-dairy milk to our clients. Reducing environmental impact.
iv) Solar panels to charge phone batteries on camping treks,
v) Solar lights for the kitchen and dining tents. We have given some of the disadvantaged villagers solar lights on our hikes.
- We evaluate our customers’ impacts and team feedback while creating awareness through positive examples and success stories between our guests and crew.
- We raise the community’s environmental awareness and encourage its practices.
- .We encourage local projects that support girl child empowerment.
- We support charities and community projects, especially those involving Women’s Empowerment.
- We make a difference by raising their awareness, giving small donations, and using our skills and capabilities to impact and enrich their lives positively.
- We encourage our support staff to continue agriculture, as most are from rural villages.
i) We encourage them to continue growing traditional crops with high dietary benefits and teach them to produce ‘new or different cash crops’ that provide more financial help.
ii)We encourage villagers’ self-employment in agriculture, animal husbandry, and micro-businesses as most locals inherit ancestral farmlands. However, many youths are going overseas as labourers leaving farmlands uncultivated. This has caused high inflation as most vegetables and grains are imported from as far away as South America.
iii) One of our most loyal staff in Kathmandu was encouraged to plant trees in his uncultivated land at the bottom of his villages several years ago. His forest has saved part of his village from a landslide during the monsoon of 2020. If not all, most would have been swept in the coming years had it not been for his tree plantation.