As a global operator, we take our role in the tourism industry very seriously. We recognise the impact that tourism has on local communities and the environment, and we plan and operate all our tours with this front of our minds. We believe that every tour operator must be responsible in the way they conduct their business, to ensure the welfare of all people and the conservation of the environment.
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. We believe that responsible travel is about the attitude you take with you and the choices you make when travelling - to respect and benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment. For example on trips like this one through India where dress standards can be conservative (particularly outside of the major cities), we recommend that our travellers (both male and female) wear loose, lightweight clothing so as not to offend, particularly when visiting religious sites.
India is a much visited destination, and as with all our trips, we have designed this itinerary to allow us to pass through the region as considerately as possible, while maximising the experience of our group. We use local transport where ever possible, from trains to taxis, cycle rickshaws to the local metro. Throughout, we stay in small, locally owned hotels reflective of the local flavour, although we spend one night in a heritage property that was originally built as a royal residence.
All produce used throughout the trip is sourced locally en route. We eat at local restaurants, encourage our travellers to only purchase souvenirs from local artisans and recruit our on the ground team (including the group leader) from the local communities that we travel through. All these elements combine to not only give a fantastic insight into the country and a snap shot of day to day life, but also put valuable financial resources back into the local economy, creating jobs and supporting local businesses.
As a company our responsibilities don’t 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.
The foundation supports a number of projects throughout India, all of which are designed to improve the lives of the poorest children. One of the projects, GOONJ, serves to provide vital resources to rural India, such as clothes and household goods. Its school to school programme channelling uniforms, stationery, lunch boxes etc, from urban to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children. You can donate items for this cause with your group leader in Delhi who will ensure that the goods are passed on. Anything from books and toys to school wear, pens and pencils are all useful.
We are proud to be a carbon neutral company. We offset all our global carbon emissions and offer a carbon offset option to passengers booking their flights through us. Through these schemes, significant financial contributions are being made on behalf of our business, suppliers, staff and travellers to internationally certified carbon abatement projects, equating to over AU$1 million since 2007. Since then, we have offset over 45,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. That's equal to approximately the amount of carbon that 2,796,047 trees would absorb over 10 years, or taking over 4,753 passenger cars off the road for an entire year!