Responsible tourism: Northwest Iceland photography tour
We encourage you to travel responsibly and to consider the following guidelines: - When out in wild places we encourage you to keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on or picking native flora, Iceland is especially fragile environmentally and the country is currently embarking of many projects such as tree planting to reduce erosion. - We encourage you to use water sparingly and to avoid buying plastic bottles of water; use your own metal or heavy-duty plastic bottle such as Nalgene to refill with water from a safe source as recommended. In Iceland water should never be bought from a shop as most water sources are exceptionally pure. - River water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free. - Respect local customs religion and traditions. - Carry out some research about Iceland and being able to speak a few words of Icelandic is always appreciated. - Don’t take photographs of local people and places of religious significance without permission. - Keep promises! Send copies of photos to local people if this is what you have said you will do. - Read the labels and buy local products such as food and souvenirs so that money directly benefits the community. - Minimize pollution, and carry out all litter. Iceland has one of the lowest levels of environmental pollution in the world and it is good to keep it this way.
Wherever possible we work electronically, we are totally web based and our paper use is minimal. We work from a home based office reducing car travel to a minimum. Our preferred mode of getting around to locations is by foot thus reducing pollution, environmental noise and damage to what is often an especially delicate ecosystem.
We support the Environment Agency of Iceland through passing on information about its policy and encouraging people to join their volunteer scheme. Our company is currently setting up an itinerary for UK schools expeditions to visit Iceland to participate in the project.
Iceland has been hit hard by their bankruptcy/crisis of October 2008. More than ever communities are having to return to their roots and rely on traditional ways of making a living. Tourism, fishing, farming and local crafts such as knitting are seen as a viable and sustainable way of helping to restore economic stability to the country and also giving a sense of dignity to Icelanders.
In particular communities away from the central hub of Reykjavik are relying on visitors to boost their economy. Since way before the current crisis we have been supporting these less visited areas and we are rewarded with a very personal service, quieter locations, fresher home-grown produce and insight into the lives and folklore of local people. Now it is cheaper for us to visit Iceland as we get an excellent exchange rate. We always ensure that participants on our holidays get the opportunity to see and purchase local products.
These local providers appreciate our on going commitment to their livelihoods.
All of our service suppliers are informed of our responsible travel policy which is clearly visible on our website Local food can be obtained easily in Iceland, for example fish, lamb, dairy products, vegetables grown in geo-thermally heated green houses. Each day we buy local produce for our picnic lunches to be eaten on location and our accommodations pride themselves in introducing us to local Icelandic fare for both breakfast and dinner.
On this South coast trip we always take time to visit and support the Skógar Folk Museum. The museum was founded in 1949 on the initiative of Þórður Tómasson born in 1921 at Vallnatún under the Vestur-Eyjafjöll mountains in south Iceland at an early age Þórður developed an interest in Icelandic culture and particularly its conservation, he still works daily in the museum. Now covering a large site the museum offers a rare insight into the cultural, architectural, agricultural and geographical development of Iceland. In the small shop attached to the museum participants are invited to purchase locally made handicrafts, jewellery, outdoor-clothing, woollen goods and books.
Both of our hotels in Snæfellsness are small and family run. In the Grundarfjörður hotel there is a very special emphasis upon involving the community in our activities. We often eat at a small fish soup 'shack' down on the beach in preference to the rather more up-market restaurant that is available: we know that the fish will be freshly caught that day by local fishermen.
Our main base in South East Iceland is still a working farm but has now been developed to include good standard accommodation and a restaurant whose mene includes mainly farm products such as lamb, yogurts, jams, fish and homemade bread.