Responsible tourism: Family holiday to Sri Lanka, Ceylon discovery
At the beginning of the tour, our leaders explain to the groups how to behave in order to protect the environment and in particular, avoid encouraging the exploitation of animals, for example, by not taking pictures of chained up animals which encourages locals to capture wild animals to be used as tourist attractions. Our local partner in Sri Lanka was one of the first tour operators to boycott these attractions. Our partner in Sri Lanka provides annual training programmes and a strict set of rules and regulations with regards to responsible tourism and the environment which staff and suppliers are expected to adhere to. These include, safari jeeps maintaining the correct distance from wildlife and not exceeding a speed limit and when whale watching, maintaining a distance away from the whales, not following them, and sticking to the speed limit. Vehicles are well maintained and run with minimum impact to the environment and all vehicles used need to pass an annual MOT and Green test.
We and our local partner in Sri Lanka are committed to giving back to the local communities that we visit during our tours. Our local partner supported the Tsunami victims on a large scale, rehousing 25 families, and buying them boats, engines and nets so that they could earn a living and return to their daily life. Money generated from tourism needs to go back to the roots of the communities in order to maintain good relationships between the locals and tourists. We stop at local tea houses and farm houses for local delicacies and coconuts. We often bump into school children returning home after school and stop so that the children can interact with each other and practise their English. The train journey is a fantastic opportunity for tourists to mix locals and the general public, as we share the same carriages, visitors really get an authentic taste for life in the area.