Responsible tourism: Walking holiday in the Balkans, small group
Both ourselves and our local partner in Albania are committed to preserving the natural environment. This trip has a strict ‘no waste’ policy, with our tour leaders collecting every single piece of rubbish after the picnics and carrying it away to be disposed of later in a responsible manner, ensuring that the environment is treated with respect. This tour is run in a small group, ensuring minimal impact on the communities and environment. This tour uses small, local and family owned guesthouses, and we encourage the tasting of the delicious and locally sourced cheeses and vegetables accompanied by home-made bread. This assists in reducing the carbon footprint of the tour, without food and supplied needing to be driven in from miles away by vehicle. Some of the guesthouses do their own composting in order to reduce waste and continue the cycle. The tour relies predominantly on ‘man power’, using your legs rather than petrol power so that we can eliminate unnecessary carbon emissions.
Our local tour leaders and staff are currently running a campaign to collect water caps. These will be donated to charity in order to raise money which will be used to buy wheel-chairs for the disabled. We stay in small local guesthouses and our local partner has helped them set up their businesses, by lending them money to invest in indoor bathrooms in order to make their properties suitable for use as guesthouses, and to be able to earn an income while maintaining the traditional way of life. On the tour, we pass through rural communities and there are opportunities to meet the locals and enjoy a beer with them or greet them while they work on the land. Walkers provide a valuable income for these isolated communities which would not normally benefit from tourism, and by visiting their guesthouses we also get to experience their way of life and participate in meaningful cultural exchange.