As a global tour operator, we are committed to operating every one of our trips in a way that respects and benefits local people, their culture and economy, while minimising our impact on the natural environment.
We travel in small groups and wherever possible we use local transport, stay in locally-owned accommodation or homestays, eat at authentic local restaurants, support traditional artisans and small-scale businesses, and provide opportunities for travellers to interact with local people.
On this small group sailing adventure along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, we travel with a maximum of eight passengers on board a 50ft yacht, but if there are fewer passengers then we will use a smaller yacht. Bathrooms are shared and although there is hot water, we encourage passengers to use it carefully. Toilets are usually operated by hand-pumps and we have recycling arrangements on-board.
Weather permitting, we use the power of the wind to sail the boat as much as possible which means that we have less impact on the environment than if travelling by other modes of transport. When on land, you will mostly hike or walk however when we are on the island of Hvar, you may choose to take an excursion by car to Hvar Town, for which we use a local driver.
We hire our skippers on the basis of their superior sailing and trip leader skills, rather than their nationality, however where possible we provide local employment and we are delighted that our crew includes Croatian skipper, Mato who has been sailing since he was twelve years old. He is passionate about sharing Croatia’s hidden gems and his local knowledge on where to go and what to buy to support the local economy. At times during this trip you will also have another local guide, for example when we take a guided tour of Mljet national park, which provides valuable local employment.
For breakfasts and lunches, we shop for local produce which the whole group will prepare and eat together on board the boat. In the evenings, we go onshore to dine at small, usually family-run restaurants. For example, one evening we moor at Blace on the mainland, which is a small village way off the beaten path. Due to the amount of fruit farming in the vicinity, it is often referred to as the "California of Croatia” and we dock right next to a family-run restaurant where the locally-caught mussels are highly recommended.
On your journey from Dubrovnik to Trogir, you will have the chance to swim and snorkel in the Adriatic and may be tempted to purchase a reminder of your sea voyage from souvenir shops, however we discourage the purchase of coral products which you will find for sale in many places, because they are stripped from the reefs that are becoming endangered. We are only too aware of the need to preserve the stunning natural environment that we sail through, and that is why we also operate this trip on a carbon neutral basis, by offsetting 50kg of C02 emissions for each passenger.
After a three-year process, we were proud to become a carbon neutral company in 2010 and we have an ongoing programme to measure, reduce and offset the carbon emissions from our offices, stores and trips. We also offer passengers who book their flight through us the option to offset those emissions. To date, we have offset more than 45,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by investing in a range of internationally accredited renewable energy projects in destinations where we travel.
As well as a Responsible Travel Code of Conduct which we adhere to as a company, we expect our staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel and provide a number of responsible travel tips to facilitate this, for example advice on what clothing is appropriate and respectful. In the case of this trip, while there are few dress restrictions in Europe we request that our passengers dress modestly if visiting churches or religious sites.
As a tour company, our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. In 2002, we established a charitable foundation so that our passengers and staff could support grassroots community projects around the world. To date, it has raised over £2million for over 75 projects involved with health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development, and environmental and wildlife protection. We match every donation made by passengers and pay the administration costs, so every penny that is donated goes to a good cause.