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. 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. For example on trips like this one through Vietnam where dress standards are conservative, particularly outside of the major cities, we recommend our travellers (both female and male) wear loose, lightweight clothing so as not to offend, particularly when visiting religious sites.
This comprehensive trip from northern to southern Vietnam has been designed to pass through the country as considerately as possible, while maximising the experience of our group. This is a cycling tour and so the majority of transport will be by bike thus leaving a very small carbon footprint behind.
Where we do use other modes of transport we use local transport, from overnight sleeper trains to public buses and ferries. Throughout, we stay in small, locally owned hotels reflective of the local flavour. This is a vital source of income to the local area ensuring that money is going back into the local economy. This tour features a homestay with a local host in Mai Chau. Here you will stay in a simple style stilt house, traditional to the area. Your hosts will cook a fabulous home cooked meal, a great opportunity for local interaction. Whilst on this tour you will get the opportunity to visit the Cuc Phuong primate rescue centre, to see how this organisation work with injured, orphaned and threatened species.
All produce used throughout the trip is sourced locally en route. We eat at local restaurants, sample street food from local vendors and encourage our travellers to only purchase souvenirs from local artisans. We visit some fantastic traditional markets on this itinerary so the opportunities to support local craftsmen are plentiful. We even recruit our on the ground team (including the group leader) from the local communities that we travel through. All these elements combine to not only give a fantastic insight into the country and a snap shot of day to day life, but also put valuable financial resources back into local economies, creating jobs and supporting local businesses.
As company our responsibilities donít 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.
Across Vietnam, our foundation actively supports five different projects and causes. These include Cuc Phuong National Parkís Turtle Conservation Centre) which specialises in breeding and protecting the countryís 23 native turtle species, including training protection officers, and The Nguyen Nga Centre, offering education, training and work placement opportunities to disadvantaged people and people with disabilities.
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!