We recognise that tourism has the potential to cause damage, so we try to minimize this and create benefits in a number of ways. We aim to minimize our impact on the environment, becoming as paperless as possible and using recycled materials in our office.
In Peru we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. We have regular staff training in responsible tourism management, on-going assessments and quality control of staff conditions, health insurance policies for porters and staff, and provide staff with suitable clothing and equipment.
Our guides ensure our clients are informed on environmental issues relevant to their trips and also about local customs and issues. We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, paying a fair price for those services.
We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets and small shops in each departure town. We are developing new menus to minimise the use of canned and packaged products and encourage cooking with local Andean products. In preference we choose local over imported goods. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.
We are committed to working in conjunction with local communities in all the countries in which we operate and to to encouraging sustainable tourism projects in conjunction with local communities.
Since 2006 we have been able to support the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar, on the outskirts of Cusco, with the help of everybody who has travelled with us. We donate USD $3000 a year to this community project.
The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this neighbourhood. Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in holiday projects. Our contributions so far have paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, improvements to the structure of the basic community owned building and the addition of functioning toilets, materials for the children to take to school, school books, holiday programmes.
We are now also financially supporting the UK registered charity Amantani which is running boarding houses for children in the remote Andean region around Cusco. It is very much in keeping with our ethos of small scale, targetted help which is educational & sustainabale.
And we are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru.