Responsible tourism: Family winter activity holiday, Spanish Pyrenees
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.
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. Some of our tours contribute 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. Meat, cheese, honey and eggs are sourced locally from village producers.
Spain is an arid country and water is a precious commodity, so roof 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 on the property and as long-term residents of the area, they endeavour to make as small an impact as possible on the area and actively contribute to the preservation of the spectacular surroundings.
The village of Berdún, has a long tradition of English residents. The first English people settled in there in the 1970s. Some of them married locals and are well-established in the community. Our local partners have lived in this area of the Pyrenees for the last 25 years and are totally integrated in the community. This means that there is always a warm welcome among local people for foreigners and a clear understanding of our similarities and differences. Guests are recommended to try local restaurants and visit the traditional bakery where bread is still made in a wood-burning oven.
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.