As a global operator, we take our role in the tourism industry very seriously. We recognise the impact that tourism has on local communities and the environment, and we plan and operate all our tours with this front of our minds. We believe that every tour operator must be responsible in the way they conduct their business, to ensure the welfare of all people and the conservation of the environment.
We are committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way we provide our travellers with real life experiences. These values are more than just words on a page; they are ingrained in our culture and the daily operations of every office and every trip. In addition, we expect our staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.
We believe that responsible travel is about the attitude you take with you and the choices you make when travelling - to respect and benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment. On trips like this through Asia for example, dress standards are conservative, and we recommend loose, lightweight clothing so as not to offend, particularly outside of the major cities.
This tour follows a number of specific responsible travel guidelines. We take care to use local transport throughout including sleeper trains and stay in small, locally owned hotels and guesthouses. This trip also includes a stay with local hosts in a homestay in the village of Jinbo. Where you will get to share a meal home-cooked by the local family you are staying with, sampling the local seasonal fresh vegetables and homemade smoked meat. You will also get the opportunity to pitch in and practice your cooking skills. We source produce locally throughout the trip, eat at local restaurants and encourage our travellers to purchase souvenirs from local artisans and recruit our on the ground team from the local community. This not only gives a fantastic insight into the country and a snap shot of day to day life, but it also puts valuable financial resources back into the local economy, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. We encourage our travellers to reduce their excess waste using a reduce, re-use and recycle policy. We also in avoidance of animal cruelty never visit places known to use cruel practices in rearing and/or slaughtering of livestock. We also make sure that foods from the endangered species list are not served on the trip.
As company our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 10 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002, from health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and in environmental and wildlife protection. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.
Projects supported in China include, Beijing Huiling which offers innovative services to youths and adults with learning disabilities and teaches people to respect what those with disabilities can do, rather than what they can't. Their activities and training facilitate independence and improve daily living and employability skills in a family-like group home environment. Secondly the Xi'an Huiling project provides adults with learning disabilities opportunities to develop their personal abilities and life skills, enabling them to achieve independence as a fully integrated member of the community.
We are proud to be a carbon neutral company. We offset all our global carbon emissions and offer a carbon offset option to passengers booking their flights through us. Through these schemes, significant financial contributions are being made on behalf of our business, suppliers, staff and travellers to internationally certified carbon abatement projects, equating to over AU$1 million since 2007. Since then, we have offset over 45,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. That's equal to approximately the amount of carbon that 2,796,047 trees would absorb over 10 years, or taking over 4,753 passenger cars off the road for an entire year!
We invest in internationally accredited offset projects that are based in our biggest destinations. These projects not only offset our emissions but they also improve the environment of the local communities by providing an alternative to fossil fuels and therefore produce less pollution.
Our current project is the Alize Çamseki wind farm in Turkey. The wind turbines produce approximately 82,000 MWh of electricity annually and in doing so prevents 52,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere each year.