Responsible tourism: Spitsbergen cruise to the Arctic
The wilderness areas of the High Arctic are among the most breathtaking in the world as well as the most fragile. We are proud to be an Associate Member of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and abide strictly by their code of conduct in both the Antarctic and the High Arctic polar regions.
All of our polar guests are briefed not only on the guidelines set by IAATO but also on the scientific reasons for these guidelines. Everyone will learn how to enjoy the wildlife encounters without being intrusive and thus will get the most out of their visit without compromising the pristine environment. From our pre-departure Responsible Travel Guidebook to our on-board comprehensive educational programme, passengers are well informed on all aspects of the environmental issues affecting this polar wonderland.
Our belief in small group adventure travel extends to the High Arctic as we cruise in 52 passenger vessels, among the smallest in the business allowing for minimum impact landings and maximum enjoyment.
The natural landscapes we explore are some of the richest, often most challenging, yet at the same time some of the most fragile environments on earth. With education, experienced leadership and appropriate equipment and techniques, it is possible to travel responsibly through these regions. For us, it is critically important that such wilderness travel experiences do not diminish the natural values of the environment.
Our environmental sustainable principles: True sustainability is a guiding aspect in all aspects of our business planning and operations. Specifically our tour operations should be managed in a way where the natural and cultural values of the host region are undiminished in the long-term.
Where possible, we engage in partnerships with local environmental groups and/or land managers to actively campaign for conservation or promote environmental protection and/or rehabilitation.
Our Responsible Travel Guidebook: Our philosophy since 1975 has been to leave only footprints and take only photographs. To reiterate this, every customer who travels with us receives a copy of our award-winning Responsible Travel guidebook. This detailed book outlines our environmentally sustainable principles, and outlines how each customer can minimize their impact while traveling.
Global Warming and Carbon Balancing: The root cause of Global Warming is society's dependence on emission creating fossil fuel. Planting trees is not going to reverse this trend or cancel our carbon emissions very quickly or effectively. We believe the way to reduce these dependencies is to create clean energy production. Therefore, we support renewable energy projects like wind and solar power, and we are aligned with Climate Friendly, the gold standard setter in effective, meaningful action addressing climate change. So, while we believe that tree planting can play a small role in greenhouse gas abatement, we have gone the extra mile in promoting a longer term solution. Is this cheap? No. Is it responsible? Absolutely!
Our responsible travel principles: Our company aims to maximise the positive benefits of tourism for host communities. This includes training and employment of local staff, using local suppliers and assisting in the development of sustainable local businesses.
We actively minimise the negative effects that tourism can have by ensuring that tourism does not divert resources away from local communities or drive up prices on local resources.
We provide opportunities for real cultural exchange, where locals and visitors alike can share and learn from each other in an environment of mutual respect.
We contribute to the welfare of the host community. This is epitomised in our Community Project Travel program where we organise for our travelers to spend time in disadvantaged villages upgrading basic facilities such as health, education and water access.
We strive to educate our travelers about the destination and its local cultures as well as providing guidelines on appropriate behaviour to minimise impact.
No local payments policy: Local cash payments are becoming increasingly popular with many operators in the adventure travel industry. This policy seems to benefit the tour operators more than the local economies or the travelers, as it avoids local taxes and transfers the costs and risks of cash handling onto the travelers. In accordance with our Responsible Travel practices, we have chosen a policy of not asking for such payments.