Responsible tourism: Central India cultural and wildlife tour, tigers & tribes
1. Our environment responsibilities start right from the office. We have policy of using eco-friendly goods and paper, plus we reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. We print our office documents on both sides of the paper to reduce paper consumption. We try to keep our marketing materials at bare minimum by using modern electronic communication for marketing purpose. We also work to minimise energy and water consumption in our offices, and we encourage our partners to follow similar waste management and energy philosophies.
2. We operate with small group sizes which not only maximises interaction within the group and guides and local community but also minimises the impact on environment.
3. Our vehicles comply with strict Euro IV emissions or Bharat Stage III control regulations set by the European Union and Indian Environment Ministry. We regularly check and maintain vehicles to the highest possible standard in order to limit carbon emissions and ensure the comfort and safety of our passengers.
4. In this tour you will be staying in homestays, lodges and hotels which are safe, comfortable and operated in a sustainable way. We specifically pay attention to the lodges and camps, located around national parks for their waste disposal and eco-tourism policies.
5. Tiger reserves and national parks are covered in majority of our tours and with the increasing number of tourists in these reserves can put extra pressure on the local flora and fauna. However, we believe wildlife tourism can be an important conservation tool if used responsibly. Travel to national parks and wildlife areas can bring positive economic benefits as entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and conservation of local flora and animal species, while visitors benefit from the educational aspects of the area and take away with them an increased awareness of the need and place for conservation. Equally important tourism helps the local communities living around these reserves by providing jobs and helping them realise the importance of the forest.
Our tour leaders and drivers follow strict policy while visiting national parks to minimise pressure on Tiger Tourism. Our code of conducts is:
• We do not guarantee sighting of any particular species because this puts pressure on drivers, guides, naturalists, mahouts and other authorities. Rather, we rely on skilled naturalists and guides who are expert in deciphering jungle signs to locate the client’s dream animal/birds. • We refrain from rushing through the jungle beyond the permitted speed in the hope of catching a glimpse of a tiger or other animal. We maintain a slow speed, which not only allows the tourists to absorb nature but it is also safe for animals crossing/sitting on the road. • We do not go beyond the marked area for tourists inside forest in hope of better sightings. • We strictly do not chase animals or disturb their natural behaviour for a better look or for the ‘ultimate photograph’. • Whenever we find garbage or plastic inside the reserve, we carry it out for safe and responsible disposal. • We maintain a safe distance from animals and do not come between parents and offspring. • We avoid approaching nesting or breeding sites as this causes unnecessary stress to parents and young ones. • We do not support attractions which use animals as entertainment for profit. These animals are often taken from the wild, mistreated and are trained to perform unnatural behaviours, which are not only stressful but often harmful to the animal.
Apart from above, we strictly follow and expect same from our clients to abide by the rules and regulations pointed out by Forest Department of India and local authorities.
1. A proportion of a profit from the tour is spent on community projects around Bhoramdeo with the help of local partners working in field. This helps in sustaining rural village communities by encouraging and building on the use of their deep local knowledge and their traditional skills to create economic opportunity, and thus make it possible for villagers to remain within their communities rather than migrate to towns in search of employment.
2. Group size plays an important role and we keep the numbers low to minimize the negative impacts on environment and the interaction with the guide at the historical site is more on one to one basis. The guides we employ on this tour are locals who know about the sites thoroughly. In this tour you will be meeting with many guides from different areas sharing real experiences from their own lives and insights into family life, influences and beliefs, thus providing our travellers with a deeper understanding of the places they visit.
3. All the guides in this tour are locals. We believe that a local guide can enliven every tour with local folk-lore, snippets of gossip, names of plants and their medicinal uses. Most importantly particularly in remote villages, our guide is our host, showing us around his or her area. This helps to make our tours an experience of cultural exchange rather than a brutish trample through someone else’s way of life.
4. All the accommodation used in this tour employs local people. This not only puts money back in the community but it encourages in imparting knowledge to the community about the importance of their environment and how it can be beneficial without destructing it.
5. We encourage our guests who visit villages or overnight there to express their thanks in the form of small practical gifts: fresh vegetables, or a blanket or jumper for a child.
6. We also encourage our guests to dine at locally-owned restaurants to experience dishes cooked by local cooks. This not only supports the local economy but also offers a chance to enjoy local customs and cultures along with their cuisines.
7. We are associated with Aakanksha School in Raipur (Chhattisgarh), an extraordinary institution that helps under-privileged children with special needs reach their full potential. This non-profit making organisation teaches children basic self-help and vocational skills, helping them fit more easily into society, and where possible finds them work placements. It has an outreach project that works both to assist families with special needs children in rural areas, and to educate villagers in an attempt to challenge prejudice. We not only helps the institution financially but one of our founder members, works there as a volunteer. We encourage any guests who have some time in Raipur to visit the school.