As a global tour operator, we take our role in tourism very seriously and endeavour to practise sustainable tourism in all our operations. These are not just words on a page; they are ingrained in everything we do, every tour we operate and all operations inside the office. We are committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way we provide our travellers with real life experiences. All our tours help to benefit local people, support conservation and the protection of wildlife and we feel this is the only way to run a tour.
This tour will take you on an exciting cultural adventure through ancient temples, striking architectures, diverse wildlife and colourful markets and there is the unique opportunity to spend time getting to know and making friends with local people.
In Asia, the dress code is conservative and we encourage all travellers to read the trip notes that we supply them with before departing. We recommend loose, lightweight fitting clothing to respect the culture and not offend.
In all our tours, we try to include as much local transport and accommodation as possible as it gives travellers a real insight into local life and takes more unnecessary, private transport off the roads. We use ricksaws, local buses and spend three nights aboard overnight sleeper trains on this tour. The trains are often highlights of the trip because it gives not only travellers but locals alike, unique experiences of other cultures.
In Kerala, we spend the night with a local family in a small island village. Before bedding down for the night, we take a tour, led by a local guide, of Keralaís Backwaters and this is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live here and observe the different facets of local life.
Recruitment of our ground team comes from the local community. This not only gives a fantastic insight into the country and a snap shot of day to day life, but it also puts imperative financial resources and support back into the local community, creating jobs, supporting local businesses and keeping families together, rather than heading to cities in search of work.
India is one of the most exciting, colourful and inspirational countries on Earth, however some areas are not renowned for their cleanliness. We encourage all our travellers not to make this very real problem worse. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route and we encourage all our travellers to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than adding to the problem by purchasing a copious number of plastic bottles of water.
As a company, our responsibilities donít stop when our tours end. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 10 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002, from health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and in environmental and wildlife protection. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.
Projects supported in India are the Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) project which provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled people. Secondly, the Deepalaya project is focused on building a better future for India's street children. They have assisted more than 44,000 underprivileged children through the provision of food and board, health care, meaningful education and vocational training, counselling and career guidance, understanding, friendship, warmth and solace. Finally the GOONJ project channels vital resources to rural India through the distribution of used items such as clothes and household goods. Their school-to-school program of channelling resources like uniforms, shoes, stationery, lunch boxes etc from urban schools to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children in its first phase.