Responsible tourism: Vietnam & Laos cycling holiday, small group
Both ourselves and our local partners in south east Asia are committed to travelling responsibly and preserving the natural environment. In their offices, our local partners in Thailand and Vietnam recycle and re-use paper and print on both sides, to avoid waste. Once used, paper and other waste is recycled and lights and air-conditioning are turned off when not in use. While on tour, we mostly travel by bike, rather than use vehicles. It is a great way to see the country, while being part of it, and minimizing the environmental impact. We also take a public ferry from Long Xuyen and explore the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta by foot. Accessibility of environmentally friendly resources is limited, however, suppliers and staff are educated in the benefits of becoming a greener company and therefore a greener society, and are making every effort to improve both their own processes, but influence others to do so too.
We are committed to promoting local businesses and experiences on our tours, and our local ground agents feel the same. During the tour, we visit only local businesses, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy local dining and meet the local people, participating in positive cultural exchange, whilst putting money back into the local economy. Guests are discouraged from visiting orphanages and other sites that our local contacts have deemed unacceptable from a fair trade point of view. We and our local partner also promote the KOTO restaurant scheme which employs and sponsors street children towards training in the hospitality trade, helping them to increase their prospects and gain independence. Local guides and staff are employed, not only to ensure that visits benefit the local community and economy, but also, because it is the local people who have the best knowledge of the area, so they can give our guests the most authentic, knowledgeable experience.