Thailand, Laos & Burma tour

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2016: 2 Oct, 16 Oct, 6 Nov, 27 Nov, 11 Dec
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Thailand, Laos & Burma tour

Environment

We encourage all of our travellers to travel responsibly and offer advice on how they can best help local people through charitable donations and the purchase of certain goods. We also offer guidance, both verbal and written, on how travellers can best help and preserve the local environment. When travelling our local guides are able to offer guidance to our travellers on the best way to protect the local environment. Although we offer a comprehensive pre-departure guide on ‘Treading Lightly’ we find this hands-on and local advice to be the most effective.
When our tours reach more than 7 passengers each group will be accompanied by a Western tour leader who is able to offer even more detailed advice and speak from firsthand experience on travel and the environment. As the majority of our tour leaders are residents of their specialist countries our passengers often quiz their tour leaders on matters pertaining to the environment!
This company is also committed to measuring and assuming responsibility for our carbon emissions. We have worked with Cleaner Climate to offset emissions from our Australian, United Kingdom and USA offices during 2013. The emission reductions are generated from Clean Technology (Kyoto compliant) projects in India (run-of-river hydro), Thailand (rice husk biomass), and China (hydro). These not only reduce emissions, but also contribute to the sustainable development of disadvantaged communities.

In Thailand we funded the purchase of a block of land in the country's north which is to be used for reforestation.

Community

LOCAL COMMUNITIES
BURMA
As an operator we joined the boycott against all tourism to Burma (Myanmar). Following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s (after almost 15 years under house arrest), the NLD’s (National League for Democracy) active promotion of sustainable and small-scale tourism to the country, we took the decision to introduce Burma to our growing list of destinations in Asia. This change of policy and our focus on small-group travel meant we felt the time was right to introduce Burma to our growing portfolio of destinations in Asia.
All of our tours to Burma (Myanmar) are, like our other destinations, are limited to 16 passengers. We firmly believe that by working with small groups we are better able to reduce the social and environmental impact on local communities.
LAOS
SALA PRABANG
Located in the heart of the UNESCO old town of Luang Prabang, the Sala Prabang has been painstakingly preserved with its French-colonial architecture fully intact.
MAKPHET and FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL:
A partner we also work with in Cambodia, this NGO also carries out training programmes across Laos, predominantly working with underprivileged youths. In Vientiane you may dine at their fantastic restaurant, Makphet. Here we sponsor a full-time student and try to include this great restaurant on all our visits to Laos.
LUANG PRABANG:
Visit and support the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Luang Prabang. Travellers will also visits the Bear Rescue Center, which from 1995 has been helping to protect the indigenous bear population.
VIENTIANE:
At the COPE centre see what this exceptional NGO is doing to help the victims of unexploded ordnance. Despite decades since the end of the American/Vietnam war this is a big issues that continues to affect thousands of Laotian each year.
BIG BROTHER MOUSE:
A long standing responsible travel partner, we have paid for the publication of three books that, in an accessible way, focus on increasing literacy and help educate young Laotian's about rural health issues. Many travellers purchase books to drop off at schools or villages during the trip. Our global offices also run fundraisers throughout the year to support the project.
GUIDES AND TOUR LEADERS:
In Laos, our guides and Western tour leaders are always on hand to assist with travellers equations around responsible travel and can help travellers avoid common pitfalls (like begging, child labour) that do little and often encourage irresponsible practices.
Unlike many tour operators, in Laos we directly recruit, train and offer development to all of our local guides. This expands their skills set and enhances the experience of our travellers.

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