Responsible tourism: Wild yoga and surf holiday, Sri Lanka
We are a proud World Fair Trade Organisation. The first in the world to specialise in responsible travel.
To be proactively involved in caring for the local environment we:
• Communicate with guests and travellers about appropriate behaviour in the natural environment. • Train guides in appropriate behaviour in natural areas, while also explaining these issues to guests. • Carefully plan, prepare and tailor our trips to ensure they meet skills, abilities and aspirations of the group specifically. • Carefully develop our trips to responsibly visit environmentally stressed areas with the purpose of conservation. • Keep all rubbish including toilet paper with us until it can be properly disposed of. • Encourage collection of any extra litter seen around. • Leave what we find, don't take or purchase any natural 'souvenirs'. • Provide cigarette 'bins' to customers when on activities or have them available for guests if they are going out exploring on their own. • Support local environmental and conservation efforts. An important partner of ours is The Ministry of Environment. We work closely with them planting mangroves in areas of risk. We also work with a large number of NGOs and marine experts to help with community development. • Support the management and protection of natural areas we visit by providing volunteers in these areas, and we obey all local National Park guidelines.
To carefully handle, reduce, re-use and recycle waste we:
• Compost organic and biodegradable waste. • Look for alternative means through which to recycle and reuse products and materials. Within the areas of Sri Lanka that we operate there are very limited recycling facilities available. While we utilise any recycling facilities that we have access to, we also aim to identify other ways in which we can help address waste management within these areas. As one example we work with local people on plastic weaving projects. • Ensure sewage and other waste is disposed of in a responsible manner. • Run as a paper free operation: electronic communications, no brochures, double sided printing, reuse free sides of paper as draft or scrap pads. • Provide reusable bottles for tap or filtered water instead of bottled water. • Avoid disposable or single use items e.g. plastic cups, cutlery, disposable batteries.
To respect and support local cultures we:
• Provide information to staff and guests on appropriate and responsible behaviour. • Support local and cultural events in the area • Promote and support destination stewardship amongst locals. • Work with our partners to help develop and strengthen community relationships.
We work with local communities by taking you to them, this helps then improve their income generation options and boost eco-tourism in Sri Lanka which is still a minority sector. All activities use local hosts and guides and ensure the environment and culture are top priority when making all decisions.
To make sure we benefit the local economy and community as much as possible we:
• Establish good long-term relationships with locally owned suppliers and service providers. • Pay fair prices for services and products. • Recommend local and ethical products and services to guests. • Include local and ethical food stops/shops and other local establishments in any tours/excursions we run. • Rotate the local establishments that we work in order to spread economic benefits. Home-stays are a key part of our trips. For each homestay we work with the homestay family then chooses another household to do the cooking, this helps ensure that as many local people as possible benefit. They are paid a competitive rate based on local youth hostel room prices. We rotate both the families we work with and the villages we visit in order to spread the benefits as possible. • Continuously remain on the look out for new avenues for local supply. • Prioritise employment of local residents (including management positions). • Provide year round employment and encourage long-term employment wherever possible. • Ensure we are active in the local community and work in collaboration with them. We are aware of local issues and make sure our operations don't jeopardise provision of services to the local community. • Actively support local initiatives for community development including education, health and sanitation. 10% of proceeds are fed back into island community and environmental initiatives. These include: providing women with handicraft training, supporting local business start-ups, providing local island communities with solar lanterns, promoting shark protections and local village development projects. • Donate 10% of proceeds to island communities and environmental initiatives.