Experience Travel Group

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Experience Travel Group help you discover Sri Lanka, India and Southeast Asia in depth whilst respecting culture, nature and wildlife. All accommodation that we offer is truly unique and eco. Think community based tourism, jungle hideaways and beautiful treehouses – and of course luxury and boutique hotels that meet high sustainability standards. Our holidays empower communities by encouraging locally run activities, local guides, and local hotels. And all our holidays and experiences follow a strict policy on wildlife, the environment and local cultures. For instance we strongly discourage activities such as elephant riding or visits to orphanages.
Member since: 25 Jun 2015

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

  • We commit to exclusively using DMCs that are local companies who recruit locally and share our commitment to sustainable travel principles by ensuring they sign and pledge to support our ‘Sustainable Travel Policy for Partners’. By encouraging smaller, boutiques and independent hotels, many of which are locally owned, and source their staff locally, we spread the income from tourism around the community. We insist that our local partners pay their own suppliers and sub-contractors promptly in all cases.
  • We ensure to contribute towards the country and community in a fair and open way by paying local taxes in full, endeavouring to work only with legally registered and tax-compliant suppliers, ensuring that these suppliers are treated equitably and fairly.
  • We ensure wealth is spread around the community and not concentrated on small sections and interest groups by avoiding taking shopping/food commissions, doing our best to ensure drivers do not pressure guests to use particular shops where they can earn commissions, and encouraging a tipping policy to encourage excellent service and discourage over-reliance on commissions.

Environmental responsibility

Committed to animal welfare, both for captive animals and those you observe in a wild environment. We commit to continuously work with suppliers to ensure compliance with relevant national and international welfare legislation and best practice.

  • Wildlife-viewing opportunities are often in high demand by our clients when on holiday, and so we are committed to working to enhance and ensure enjoyment for both our clients and the environment and wildlife involved. We appreciate the role that tourism has to play in wildlife conservation through the raising of funds which can be put back into conservation practices and the increased awareness of wildlife gained by first hand experiences. We also recognize that these activities have a socio-economic benefit, providing employment for the local community.

  • We are committed to upholding and enhancing the minimum standards of welfare for animals whose lives are impacted by tourism, and to protecting animals from exploitation, neglect and cruelty at the hands of the tourism industry. We commit to abiding by the Five Freedoms adopted by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a benchmark for an animal’s physical and mental well-being. These are:

    • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: nutritious food and clean water
    • Freedom from Discomfort: a suitable living environment that provides shelter, opportunities to rest and considers the species-specific needs of wild animals
    • Freedom from Pain, Injury and Disease: preventative and curative health care
    • Freedom to express Normal Behaviour: living space that encourages natural behaviour
    • Freedom from Fear and Distress: appropriate areas to seek privacy and limit human contact

  • As a member of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators), we work closely with these groups as well as animal welfare NGO’s worldwide in order to better understand and identify practices which may pose a risk to animal welfare and our client’s health and safety in our destination countries. We provide the following guidelines to clients for responsible wildlife viewing:

    • Do not feed wild animals – this can have severe consequences for an animal’s welfare as well as your own personal safety
    • Do not touch wild animals – you can unwittingly pass on diseases that the animal has no immunity against, as well as placing yourself at risk.
    • Do not smoke when close to animals
    • Do not tease or provoke animals
    • Do not shout of make loud noises when close to animals
    • Do not drop litter – please dispose of it responsibly
    • Do not support the use of animals as photographic props
    • Do not support animal performances where animals are trained to perform tasks that have no basis in their natural behavior – for example riding bikes, cleaning teeth, elephants doing headstands. These behaviours are unnatural and may involve adverse training techniques which can have serious animal welfare implications.
    • Do not purchase souvenirs made out of wildlife products or other threatened natural materials e.g. coral, shells, starfish. Wildlife products may include but are not limited to: skin (handbags, belts, and drums), ivory, bush-meat, bones, feathers, quills, teeth etc., traditional medicines, good luck charms, tortoise shell or plant parts.

We are committed to providing our clients with information on animal welfare issues as they arise through our blog, and employ customer feedback mechanisms to provide our clients with a platform to inform us of new issues.

Social responsibility

Our sustainability policy is outlining the following commitments applying to social responsibility:
  • We encourage guests to fully explore the country, gain a genuine appreciation of the country and its people by using authentic activities, local guides and local hotels. We encourage our clients to venture off the beaten track, and experience the ‘real’ country.
  • We ensure our guests are well informed travellers through the provision of comprehensive pre-departure information on tipping, begging, cultural norms etc., as well as an in-country welcome pack with information on major sites, activities, local eating, shopping and basic language.
  • We specifically request feedback on issues relating to sustainability and responsible travel from our guests on their return to the UK.

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