Guided walking holiday in Albania

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2018: 10 Sep
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Guided walking holiday in Albania

Environment

By nature, our trips have a significantly lower impact on the general environment; we use local guides and staff, and buy food locally, thereby directly benefiting the local economy. In this way, our adventures are designed with the local people, culture, and eco-system in mind. We believe that are trips not only deliver a unique journey, but also benefit those people whose lands we are privileged enough to visit. Most people who travel to Albania focus on the the architecture and heritage, whereas we make sure that our clients can also take the time to appreciate the beautiful Albanian countryside and experience a more rural way of life.

We were among the first UK-based travel companies to automatically offset every client’s international flight (if booked with us) with a payment to Carbon Clear to help promote sustainable energy. Carbon Clear is an organisation devoted to ‘offsetting’ or ‘neutralising’ harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as those caused by your flight. This is done by funding projects across the world that will reduce greenhouse gases on your behalf through sustainable energy or rainforest restoration.

Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip to Albania. We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the fragile eco-structure of the land is not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our guides are trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas. We will intend to be exceptionally careful in regards to litter due to the walking and camping aspects of this trip, bins won't be available for much of time so it will be our responsibilty to not leave anything behind. We very often leave camping sites cleaner then they were before we arrived.

We also support several other NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, Tibetan schools trust and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.

Community

Fully integrating with the local community in such as way as staying in local homestays allows us to gain a real insight into their lives. In another way, part of the trip provides the opportunity to buy local handicrafts, which not only helps to keep unique skills alive, it also is another way to support their livelihood and thus the local economy in addition to the homestays. In this way, you can ensure that money goes directly into the hands of the local community. Not only does this allow local people and visitors to interact and learn about each other’s culture, it also allows visitors to make a meaningful connection with local people, and ensures that the revenue generated by tourism goes directly to local communities.

In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, we set up a charitable foundation through which we can channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities. Wherever possible we are happy for our clients to visit these projects to see for themselves where and how this money is being spent. This is a very exciting development for us and something we hope in time will become a major part of our organisation.

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