Responsible tourism: Family activity holiday in Catalonia, Spain
We stay in a farmhouse painstakingly restored by its owners using recycled materials from the building itself and bringing in local craftsmen and trades for the more technical work. As well as the adventure activities on offer there is also ample opportunity for the children to enjoy a number of birdwatching, botanical and butterfly tours in the area, helping to raise awareness on environmental issues. During the trekking, you will walk on designated paths. Our local partner is a member of the RSPB in the UK, SEO Birdlife (the RSPB equivalent in Spain) and of SEA (the Aragonese Entomological Society) and often collaborate closely with the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, a government department dedicated to environmental investigation projects. This tour contributes a percentage of profits to SEO Birdlife in Aragon to help fund nature conservancy.
All rubbish is recycled where possible and organic waste is composted. Meals on the trip consist of home grown vegetables, while meat, cheese, honey and eggs are sourced locally from village producers. Spain is an arid country and water is a precious commodity, so rainwater is collected in a 30,000 litre tank which is then used for watering the garden and vegetables. The installation of solar panels for hot water has considerably reduced oil consumption to the point that all summer hot water is now generated by solar power.
Tourism in Catalonia has benefited the local community immensely, bringing countless opportunities for local businesses such as restaurants, hotels and craft shops, as well as employment opportunities for the local people. This increase in employment opportunities has led to many of the younger generation remaining in the area. Local staff and suppliers are employed in the running of the trip, further benefiting the local economy. We believe that our guests have a positive impact in the community, interacting with the local people and giving everyone the opportunity to learn from and embrace our cultural differences.
Guests are offered the opportunity to visit local craft shops and encouraged to buy their souvenirs in the local area rather than from large companies at the airport. On a larger scale, our partners have accompanied representatives of local tourism-related businesses to trade fairs in the UK to help them break into the British market and benefit from a broader market base. Employees are paid good wages and given the chance to do government-funded courses to improve their skills. They have typically chosen to do English language courses and thus improve their employment prospects.