Most of the time on this tour is spent in towns and cities, but many of these are quite fragile in terms of the historic monuments that exist here - we brief our travellers not to climb on these and resist the temptation to clamber over buildings to get that iconic photo, so that these will still be here for generations to come.
We operate a strict no litter policy on our tours, and work to educate our drivers and other service providers so as to avoid contributing to this problem. We ensure that all litter at the yurts is disposed of properly – this means working with the owners to educate them about recycling, and taking waste back to proper disposal sites where possible.
Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off – small things but Central Asia is not as used to tourism as countries in western Europe.
Parts of Central Asia are very traditional with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not always that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities. This also applies to the numerous mosques and mausoleums that we visit on this trip; religion is important here and it is important that we respect these traditions.
We visit a number of sites and monuments on this tour that do not necessarily receive much funding from other sources; the entrance fees that we include help to maintain the heritage of this country for future generations – not just western travellers but more importantly to local people to whom they have far more cultural and historical significance. We use locally owned suppliers and our partners here are deeply involved with the preservation of the culture and heritage of the country. Many of Uzbekistan’s sites have been poorly maintained in the past; this is especially the case with religious buildings, as religion was essentially banned under the Communist regime. Through carefully supervised tourism, greater worth is placed upon Uzbekistan’s rich heritage and it is hoped that local authorities will not only have the funds but also recognise the value in restoring and preserving such places.
We use locally owned suppliers and our partners here are deeply involved with the preservation of the culture and heritage of the country. Where possible we encourage our travellers to spend their money with local businesses; for this reason we do not include meals where it is feasible to eat outside of the hotels, in order that local restaurants are able to benefit from the presence of tourism, rather than the income being channelled just to the hotel.