The Conservation Volunteers - International
BTCV responsible travel policy
BTCV is a charity that aims to involve people from all ages and background to take practical action to manage and care for the environment. A key mechanism for achieving this is a world-wide programme of Conservation holidays, which offer a unique opportunity to enable individuals to make a contribution to a sustainable future for the planet.
This document brings together a range of BTCV policy documents, relating to responsible travel.
All holidays have a conservation or environmental value as well as supporting communities and local people to manage their local environment. BTCV volunteers not only make a valuable contribution to the environment but also gain new skills and understanding of the local environment and culture from the experience.
Travellers code of conduct
BTCV volunteers all receive information packs before their holiday and are invited to call a dedicated customer advice team if uncertain on any aspect of their holiday. Volunteers are joined on all holidays by leaders trained to assist volunteers to get the most out of their holiday experience.
- Information packs contain details of BTCV's partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Know Before You Go campaign. Information also highlights any issues specific to a destination, for example reducing water consumption.
- The holiday leader facilities a travellers code of conduct by offering examples of best practice and facilitating education on issues including minimising damage to local environment, culture, and economy relevant to each destination.
- Group size is carefully calculated to ensure positive efforts of work completed are maximised whilst minimising impact of the volunteer group at each destination.
All BTCV projects make a contribution to protecting or improving the environment.
- BTCV attracts people with environmental concerns and therefore has put in place a policy that aims to minimise its effect on the environment of all its activities. It achieves this through an annual environmental audit, which has established a benchmark from which all activities are monitored, and standards to which all offices are working to reach. Practical implementation is achieved by:All paper being recycled
Using LPG vehicles where possible
Purchasing from companies with environmental policies and goods
Use of public transport where possible
Limiting travel by using electronic communications
Using energy saving devices
- Information sheets before the start of the holiday and leaders during the holiday highlight relevant environmental issues and offer best practice examples to volunteers for example providing maps, timetables and offering a public transport destination as a pickup point
- All holidays actively encourage volunteers to participate in local visits during their holiday. These often include an aspect of education on the local environment.
- Accommodation varies from community halls, to homestays or family owned pensions.
- Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources. In some project the local communities grow the food specifically for the BTCV projects
- BTCV volunteers are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
- BTCV holidays are run to improve the local environment or recreational facilities, for example footpaths. This helps local communities maintain their sustainable tourism infrastructure.
- Information sheets before the start of the holiday and leaders during the holiday highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to volunteers, for example, use of fair trade products.
- BTCV holidays maybe developed with local partners and community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.
- All holidays actively encourage volunteers to participate in local visits during their holiday. These often include an aspect of education on social and cultural practices.
- By working with other similar organisations around the world BTCV has helped established an accreditation system ensuring a system of good practice in all aspects of conservation volunteering from standards of health and safety to ensuring good practice in employment procedures.