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Responsible tourism

The Different Travel Company Responsible Travel and Tourism Policy

We define Responsible Travel and Tourism as: ‘The use of tourism as a force for good which adds value to, and benefits, the economies, societies and communities we visit, whilst minimising the negative side effects of our tourism to both the destination and the global environment’.

When we travel, we become a guest in the destination and like all good guests we believe it’s right to be respectful and open-minded. Life-enhancing travel is not about seeing a place but experiencing a place, its people, its cultures, food and ways of life.

It is only right that when we, relatively wealthy tourists, enjoy the benefits of tourism we do so responsibly by ensuring that we are not contributing to the exploitation of either people or the environment; that we are participating in ‘fair trade’ practices which benefit those who work so hard to make our trips so great; that we are contributing to the sustainable economic development of the communities who host us; and that we are respectful towards and assist in the maintenance of indigenous cultures.

  • The Different Travel Company’s charity challenges and adventure holidays are all based on small groups of no more than 30 participants. We believe that the negative impact of tourism on communities is lessened when we travel in small groups.
  • The Different Travel Company endeavour to only use hotels who have adopted environmentally responsible practices.
  • The Different Travel Company requires our agents and hotels to observe environmentally sustainable practices, including limiting pollution, sound water management, recycling of glass and paper, and the sourcing of materials and foods locally.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage minimising water usage and the use of environmentally safe detergent as many places flush water directly into rivers and the sea.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage hotels to adopt a policy of giving guests the choice of re-using hand/bath towels rather than automatically sending them to the laundry. Participants may wish to bring a quick-drying microfibre towel which dries quickly so can be reused many times.
  • Where possible, The Different Travel Company use direct flights to our destinations. The worst carbon emissions are emitted during take off and landing, so the fewer landings and take offs, the better.
  • Each time you fly, customers are encouraged to offset their carbon emission by making a carbon offsetting payment to a reputable source to nullify the impact of their flight upon global warming. You can offset your emissions via places such as Climate Care.
  • Internal flights are avoided unless absolutely necessary. Our tours are of a length that permits us to use land transport as much as possible. In many cases part of our tours are on foot, by bicycle or by boat.
  • Turn lights, heating or air conditioning and fans off when you leave your hotel room.
  • Minimise water usage as many places have insufficient water. Shower rather than bathe. Don’t leave taps running when washing. Use the sea or a swimming pool to cool off, rather than taking repeated showers.
  • Use environmentally friendly detergent, shampoo and soap for any washing as many places flush water directly into rivers and the sea. Little Footprint Gifts and Lush stores do excellent ranges in environmentally friendly products.
  • Only flush human waste down the toilet and where toilet paper is not to be flushed, please use the bins provided.
  • Bring biodegradable toilet paper, wipes and nappy sacks/dog waste bags (for packing away used toilet paper) for treks.
  • Never leave litter, toilet paper, fruit peel, nut or seed shells or any other matter on the ground. Even if your waste is biodegradable it can take months to degrade, it is unsightly, and it can attract wild animals which cause problems in the local community.
  • Refuse single-use plastics, such as straws and carrier bags.
  • Invest in a re-useable water bottle. Help reduce the amount of single use plastics you use by topping up your own water bottle. Special filter bottles, sterilization tablets or UV Steripens, that eliminate a lot of contaminants from tap water abroad and even streams and rivers, are readily available.
  • Avoid bringing plastic bags, which are now banned in many countries. Bring fabric or synthetic reusable packing cubes, dry bags or luggage organisers.
  • Remember to recycle where possible, including plastic. Return glass bottles to where they were purchased.
  • Use public transport or walk wherever possible. Not only are you reducing carbon emissions but also staying fit.
  • Avoid take-away containers and plastic cutlery. Choose to eat-in at local establishments. Try not to waste food and recycle any rubbish.
  • Leave things be. Resist the urge to pick up rocks, sand, leaves and flowers to take home as souvenirs. You should only take away memories and photographs.
  • Don’t carve your name into anything or leave “love locks”. There should be no physical trace of your visit left behind.
  • The Different Travel Company will not tolerate any form of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, human trafficking or exploitation as defined by the Modern Slavery Act 2015 within our business or supply chain.
  • We endeavour to do our best to protect the rights of humans and animals by refusing to get involved in any kind of exploitation.
  • Things to look out for include children denied an education and made to perform in cultural shows, elephant rides and big cat petting.
  • You are encouraged to ask questions if you see something that worries you.
  • For more information about animal welfare while travelling please visit World Animal Protection.
  • The Different Travel Company understands the potential harm that can come from taking groups into areas of fragile ecosystems. We endeavour to lessen the impact by insisting on a policy of ‘leave no trace’ tourism.
  • The Different Travel Company go to great lengths to ensure that our customers are well informed about the area and aware of the impact that they can have on the environment.
  • We only take small groups into such areas.
  • The Different Travel Company work with projects that are specifically designed to preserve fragile eco-systems and endangered plants and animals (such as in the Galapagos).
  • The Different Travel Company has a policy of only working with agents who are local to the destination and who are, as far as possible, independent, reliable and professional.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage our participants to eat out at local restaurants and street stalls where possible and to visit local markets to boost the impact of their spending on the local economy
  • Although we seek to ensure all our events are accompanied by The Different Travel Company representatives, we have a policy of employing local guides and drivers for all our charity challenges and adventure holidays.
  • The Different Travel Company has a policy of only employing local builders, masons, craftsmen, artisans, electricians and other manual workers so as not to deprive local people of employment.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage our participants to support the local economy of the destination by purchasing goods and services whilst there.
  • Ensure that items you are buying are not from endangered/fragile species such as coral, ivory or produced using child labour.
  • Travel light and purchase extra clothes and goods while you are there.
  • Be prepared to haggle over the cost of goods and services but never haggle to try to get the lowest price. The idea of haggling is to come to a mutually agreeable price based on what you are willing to pay for an item. In poor communities vendors may feel they have to accept lower than the real value of the item in order to make a valuable sale. Please be sensitive to this. The annual salary in some places is less than £200 a year.
  • But also, avoid being exploited. Always be aware that some will see Western tourists as an easy target and prices may be increased because you are a tourist.
  • Consider adopting or sponsoring a project which will benefit the destination community.
  • Do not give money or gifts to beggars. Give donations to a local NGO or charity that supports homeless people and beggars instead.
  • Never engage in personal gift giving to individuals. Not only can this cause an expectation that all tourists bring gifts (which can subsequently lead to begging), but it can cause upset, jealousy and resentment from others who have not been given a gift.
  • Fix things instead of replacing them. Find a local cobbler or tailor to fix worn-out belongings.
  • At the end of your trip consider donating unwanted clothing, shoes, additional snacks or other items to the local community. Please ensure this is done via a local NGO, charity or via your local guide or representative. Never engage in personal gift giving and be sensitive about offering your items.
  • The Different Travel Company endeavour to use only hotels which have strong and positive links with local communities.
  • The Different Travel Company always try, wherever possible, to use hotels which are owned and managed by people local to the area in which the hotel is situated, thus ensuring the revenue benefits local people. Where this is not possible, we do our utmost to ensure that staff are treated with respect in terms of salary and working conditions.
  • The Different Travel Company encourages its customers to actively support social and environmental projects local to the destination and community, and to consider what help and support can be provided individually prior to the customer’s arrival and after their departure.
  • Never participate in prostitution or sex-tourism, which is usually illegal and always based upon exploitation of the weakest.
  • Learn about the laws and customs of the country and abide to the rules (even if you don’t agree with them).
  • Never buy or use illegal or illicit drugs in the destination country. You put yourself and your group at risk of legal repercussions by doing so.
  • The Different Travel Company believes that the tourist should have an awareness of, and respect for, the culture, history, beliefs and practices of the destinations they visit.
  • The Different Travel Company does not engage in ‘cultural imperialism’. We understand that all cultures are equally valid and believe that indigenous cultures should be respected.
  • The Different Travel Company believe that the customs of the destination visited should be observed and that time should be taken to understand that human societies are diverse and Western values may not be understood, let alone practiced.
  • All sites of religious or cultural significance should be respected, regardless of the religion they represent.
  • The customer should learn about the culture, religion, history, politics, beliefs and practices of the destination to be visited.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage participants to delve deeper into local etiquette, attitudes towards women and the LGBTQ community and common scams. As a result, you will be prepared for cultural differences and have a more enjoyable experience.
  • Learn to speak a few simple phrases of the destination language. Buy a phrase book and don’t be afraid to try your new language skills!
  • The Different Travel Company encourage participants to eat at local restaurants and maybe take an optional cooking class (where available).
  • Take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Different Travel Company to visit projects and places of interest.
  • The Different Travel Company encourage participants to research acceptable dress codes for the destinations for both male and female clothing.
  • Find out about customs and etiquette that is acceptable and unacceptable within the culture you are visiting. For example, when travelling to Nepal you should always remove your shoes before entering a temple or somebody’s home. Customs of the destination visited should be observed.
  • Always ask permission before taking someone’s photograph. Be mindful of sharing photographs on social media, especially of children where the location is easily identifiable.
  • Be mindful of taking photographs of human suffering. Taking photos of starving street children digging around in rubbish are likely to spread negative stereotypes about a country. Avoid sharing pictures that people would be ashamed of.
  • Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the culture. Take part but be respectful of other people’s beliefs and don’t try to force your own views on others.
  • The Different Travel Company staff work from home, negating the need to commute to the office, utilising technologies such as email and Skype and phone calls instead.
  • When planning tours, The Different Travel Company consider very carefully the impact of taking groups to certain destinations.
  • The Different Travel Company tries to be as ‘paper free’ as possible, utilising email and phone for communications, and we recycle whenever possible.
  • We are proud to be partnered with International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) and the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) to ensure all our Kilimanjaro treks meet the stringent guidelines for porter protection. Click here for more information.
  • The Different Travel Company are proud to be partnered with South West Coast Path to ensure all our walks are Coast Path Friendly. Click here for more information.
  • Join an organisation such as Sustainable Travel International or The International Ecotourism Society who work to transform the negative impact that tourism can have on nature and communities across the world.

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