All our suppliers employ locals, many from the remoter communities that are visited on the tours. The policy behind this is to involve those communities in tourism and provide a direct psychological and financial link between locals and responsible tourism. The best example of the mutual benefit of this is when former hunters become the best-informed guides, with a vested interest in preserving the fauna that formerly they killed. We currently do not make any donations to charity, but we are currently in discussion with DB Peru, a Lima-based NGO that provides health care to remote Amazon communities, with a view to forming a strategic partnership.
We have chosen expedition cruise boats as our initial focus, as these small, self-contained groups of travellers touch upon a wide area, leaving few footprints and even less waste. We put pressure on our suppliers to adhere to a set of environmental guidelines, not only because this is the right thing to do, but because we believe that our clients make their holiday choices with eco-friendly practices at the front of their minds. We are not experts in environmental science, however, so we are looking for partnerships in this area. Our blogs, newsletters and social media content feature regular posts and comments on the major themes affecting the entire Amazon region, such as pressure from mining, farming, logging and the trade in animals, and the responses and initiatives by national and international bodies
All cruise boat itineraries make visits to local communities, with the emphasis on low-impact tourism: different villages are chosen on each voyage, so that no dependency culture develops, with the knowledge of exactly when a group of tourists will be visiting every few days. Donations are encouraged, but using the structures in place – eg schools – rather than giving directly to a few lucky (or pushy!) villagers. The purchase of local crafts is also promoted. As mentioned above, it is easy to adapt traditional practices, such as hunting, to the demands of tourism ie animal spotting, and so many locals are employed by cruise boats. Plus the boats are reliant on the goodwill of the communities through which they pass, for mooring, information and security, and so they are at pains to foster a good working relationship.