Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world and its geographic isolation from mainland Africa has meant that its Flora and Fauna has evolved so that more than two thirds of the species found on the island are endemic. Its marine environment consists of coral reefs, beaches and mangroves which allow a wide variety of fish and turtles to thrive. Madagascar is also on a migratory route for whales and its deeper waters provide for dolphins and sharks; overall a very diverse and colourful marine environment.
This delicate eco system is however under threat of pollution and over fishing as locals rely on marine life for food and their livelihoods. The growth of ecotourism is a strong economic incentive for Madagascar to preserve its natural and marine environment and this trip by yacht leaves minimal environmental impact, but means that you can explore this beautiful region of ocean islands.
Both the yacht company and our Madagascar supplier belong to GotoMadagascar, a collective group of professional tourism operators in Madagascar who aim to ensure fair wages and reasonable working conditions, fair operations, collection and distribution of benefits: the practice of fair trade, respect for human rights, culture and environment, and the creation of a certification for an office of Fair Trade.
Ethical practice is not just limited to the destinations we operate in. As a company, Responsible practice is exercised in our office here in the UK with various measures put in place aimed at reducing, re-using and recycling resources where possible. We carry out dedicated responsible travel training sessions with all employees upon joining the company. We minimise our electricity consumption by switching off lights, computers, fans etc in rooms that are not in use and at night. We also monitor thermostats and keep doors and windows closed when heating is on.
We recycle all office paper, encourage double-side photocopying and, where appropriate, circulate documents by email. We also exercise effective control of brochure production, distribution and disposal. We encourage car sharing amongst employees and are part of a cycle scheme. We offset the carbon emissions resulting from staff educational trips through the Friends of Conservation carbon-offsetting programme. We also offer the facility for clients to do the same for their own travels.
NOSYLANGUE, is an association under 1901 law, set up on 01 March 2005; its purpose is to support the French language in Malagasy schools by providing resources (material, human, financial). Thanks to the motivation and generosity of its members, new classrooms with desks and benches have been provided and they continue to collect educational materials such as text- books, notebooks & pens so that the children of Nosy Be can benefit from efficient schooling. You can help by transporting materials to the area. When you reach your destination, you will have the pleasure to meet with the children, visit the schools and give your donations directly.
As a company, we are committed to supporting a wide number of responsible and ethical initiatives, including environmental projects, community tourism projects and education programmes. We encourage our clients to visit many of these initiatives such as wildlife sanctuaries, local schools, orphanages and co-operatives.
Through client-specific notes in our tailor-made itineraries, we continue to actively recommend restaurants, shops and other local businesses so that the community is directly benefited. Most of these have been discovered by our country specialists and include craft shops that ensure tourist money is fed back to the individuals who produce the crafts, and restaurants which train local street children.
We promote environmentally friendly tours and accommodation in a number of destinations. We prefer, where possible, to use smaller, locally owned ground agents. Not only does this ensure that it is the host community who are managing and benefiting from the local tourist industry, but we also believe that our clients will have a better trip as local agents have a much more intimate knowledge of the region.
For the same reasons as above, we always use local guides and drivers. This not only provides crucial employment and income for the local community, but also increases the authenticity of the client’s trip. We favour ground agents who have an awareness of responsible tourism policies and strong environmental commitment. Responsible practice is one of the principle criteria during the selection of new suppliers, and ethical initiatives form a fundamental element in our ground arrangements. Where available we recommend our clients stay in ethically responsible accommodation, such as eco-lodges that aim to preserve the beauty of natural surroundings.