We are well aware of the impact tourism has at home and abroad, and we make every effort to balance the environmental impact of travelling with the immense benefits sustainable tourism can bring to destinations and the people who live there. So we start in the office: we turn off all electrical equipment every night; we use energy-efficient bulbs; we measure print and paper consumption, and re-cycle wherever possible; we print our brochures on paper from sustainable sources, and send them out in bio-degradable packaging.
Leaders & local suppliers:
Base of this walking week is the uber-friendly, Hotel Alfa Soleil, in the heart of Kandersteg. Owned and managed by husband-wife team, Peter and Agnes Seiler, it is very much an upmarket walking hotel for walkers, and everything is focused around people enjoying the great outdoors! Peter is himself a walking guide, and is totally in tune with the surrounding mountains. On arrival, he’ll sit down with you and go through all hiking possibilities, providing maps, bus times, cable car possibilities etc. Each day he’ll advise on current weather conditions and propose routes to suit. In the evening, he “walks the floor” asking guests where they’ve been, what they have most enjoyed etc in order he can make the best suited suggestions for the following day.
This area is a beautiful and unspoilt part of the Alps, since development arising from the winter sports industry has been controlled and contained. In Kandersteg itself, building regulations prevent the construction of tall buildings, which must be built in traditional Swiss chalet style. As such, the village has retained its postcard-pretty “ chocolate box” feel, and has year-round appeal.
Having no minimum number means that groups sizes can be small and therefore the trips have less impact on the environment.
Walking has minimal impact on the environment as you provide most of the energy yourself and, when you’re strolling from village to village, you can enjoy a relationship with locals in a way motorists passing through never can. On foot, you get off the beaten track, and you’ll find that people treat you as a visitor rather than a tourist. Also, by walking independently, and not having to worry about keeping up with a group, you set the pace so you can soak up the sights, sounds and scents of your surrounds and really get under the skin of the place you’re visiting.
We proactively encourage walking clients to think about travelling responsibly too: packing light, saving water, buying locally and re-cycling all maps and route notes at the end of their trip.