Responsible tourism: Burma overland tour from Thailand
This tour is very much an overland journey. We only use 1 internal flight at the very end of the tour. We are limiting our environmental impact on the tour by using local buses travelling with local people rather than on private tour bus.
Much of the accommodation we use on this tour is in extremely remote areas and are therefore almost entirely self-sufficient, using local sources of food, labour and construction materials for example on Day 12 of the tour.
Much of Burma has been heavily deforested. This tour travels through areas of Shan State where much of the forest still remains intact and in good condition and is therefore an important refuge for flora and fauna as well as providing resources for local ethnic tribes. We believe that sending small groups to this area will help to encourage the government to protect these areas and ensure that the forests remain intact for the benefit of wildlife and also the local people.
We are also minimising our waste impact by having some meals on the tour prepared by local people in their homes for example in Day 6 and Day 12. These meals consist of simple local cooked food by local people using produce from their surrounding land with no packaging waste.
Our very small group size and limited departures mean that our impact – both culturally and environmentally when we visit Burma is small. This tour spends much of the time travelling in areas inhabited by remote tribal people. By only scheduling a handful of small group departures a year, we will have minimal impact on the traditional lives of ethnic groups.
We are working hard to promote destinations that so far are not well known to mass tourism. We are investing in the future, in the belief that along with our local team we can create sustainable social benefits for corners of the world such as the remote areas of eastern Shan State, that to-date have been overlooked by larger tour operators.
We will not provide travel plans for individuals who are not prepared to travel in a courteous and responsible manner and we ensure our guides and clients are sensitive to local attitudes and act responsibly in their interaction with local people.
Clients and guides are briefed on local customs and general courtesy (such as asking permission before taking photographs/dress-codes/conduct in places of worship etc) and behave appropriately.
In Burma we use a supplier who offers local employment opportunities for both the tour support process and indeed the actual tour logistics meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. For example on this tour clients have meals in small villages cooked by local people.
On this tour our clients are accompanied only by locally based staff and guides. Unlike some other small group tour operators, we do not send UK or other non-local staff to escort our clients unless absolutely unavoidable in order to support the local workforce.