This holiday is brought to you by two specialist tour operators working together. Both are specialists in their areas – Sri Lanka and Kerala. Through our tailor made holidays we actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel. Tailor-made holidays cater for couples or small groups and this means that our customers have the opportunity to interact with the locals.
By working on our Sri Lanka holidays closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development. We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise. We actively promote small family-run guesthouses that employ local workers, or in the case of larger hotels, locally owned establishments. We encourage travellers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food.
Sri Lanka community-led projects: The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (a charitable organisation currently applying for charitable status with the Charity Commission) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every holiday booked.
By supporting locally owned hotels we are helping to provide employment for local communities. All of the accommodation owners on this tour are extremely proud of their strong policies regarding the environment and ecotourism. All the hotels on this tour are privately owned by local people. Malabar House is a 200 year old heritage building converted into a wonderful 'boutique' hotel. Cardamom Club has just six rooms set in a forest location. Punnamada has traditional villas and is committed to preserving the local environment and supporting the local community. All our houseboats adhere to stringent environmental rules and regulations that are in force on the Kerala backwaters.
The ground handling of this tour is provided by our local agent and we supply him with more than 90% of his turnover. All of the drivers and staff are local people. Thus we have fifteen local families that are directly financially reliant upon us. Our drivers have a contract and are paid a monthly wage. This is very unusual in South India where most drivers are normally employed on a commission-only basis (not easy for such seasonal work). All of the guides we use are local.
All of our customers are supplied with detailed information about their holiday. We supply general advice relevant to all customers as well as more specific facts about your particular tour. These documents offer our customers lots of advice and guidance including how to obtain an Indian Visa, which immunisations are recommended, how much to tip people, how to dress appropriately and how to behave in National Parks.
We support local charities and invite our customers to do so too (details are supplied with your travel documents).