Member since: 26 Jan 2015
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
We have made direct economic contributions to some farmers and landowners where our hides are placed, which are made possible by the activity generated by photographers coming to photograph the species in question.
Apart from visiting National and Natural Parks around different parts of Spain we also incorporate into our itineraries visits to park and information centres such as those at Monfragüe, Gallocanta, Doñana and the Ebro Delta, among others. The visitors can see exhibitions about the places they are visiting, purchase locally made souvenirs whenever available, and their visit is usually registered by the park authorities. In this way we the presence of nature-motivated visitors is also reflected in regional and national government statistics. Furthermore, we endeavour to stay at suitable accommodation as near as possible to such destinations, so that local populations can see and perhaps share in some of the benefits of having these attractive natural areas on their doorstep.
We also regularly organize personalized guided visits to some historical buildings (monasteries, for example), local wine cellars, and small nature reserves run by non-governmental organizations.
We have been able to provide wildlife groups and researchers with useful information stemming from our activities and observations and even from some of the photographs that our clients have taken from the hide. We have also applied some measures within our power to minimize disturbance at the nest site, such as purchasing hunting rights around the eagles’ territory, and communicating with local stakeholders and agents to underline the importance of controlling certain leisure activities for the same reason. We have benefited several species including the Lesser Kestrel, Goshawk, Lammgeier, Little Owl and Songbirds.
We apply several practices in our offices to minimise waste and environmental damage including: recycling paper, putting computers on standby when not in use, making minimal commercial use of paper by very selective mailing, maximizing the use of natural lighting in the office and using low energy lighting.
Our single day guiding fees do not include fuel costs and this is communicated directly to the potential client. Fuel is counted as a separate item and is a direct transfer of fuel costs to the visitor. This is intentional as it passes the emphasis to the client to be aware of how many kilometres are covered and how much fuel is consumed by their activities. We drive a low fuel consumption vehicle and employ a fuel-saving driving style, which usually means that the average fuel consumption is no more than 6 litres per 100 kilometres.
Most establishments we stay at already have some degree of environmental awareness, and wherever possible we often advise and attempt to exert some slight influence on their policies and practices.
Our clients are always served by well-informed local guides. For the most part they are conservationists who have actively contributed to conservation, awareness-raising, environmental education and recruitment, campaigning, etc. They are familiar with local traditions, history, and landscape because they form a very real part of it!
In general terms for us responsible tourism means understanding that there are limits; identifying these limits; and respecting and promoting respect for them.
We have been actively involved in awareness-raising to promote conservation and environmental protection for many years. Some examples of how we have done this are: designing and imparting bird identification courses for official environmental protection agents, local authorities and schools and colleges; the creation, edition and distribution of a raptors didactic and fun card game providing images and information about all the raptors of the Iberian Peninsula; authorship of two books based on birds and birdwatching in Spain; the publication of leaflets, booklets etc for tourism, and free birding itineraries on our website; the organization of family days out to perform easily-defined tasks to benefit birds and their habitats; and the organization of a bird and nature photography exhibition by local bird club members.