Adventure Alternative

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We are an award-winning independent travel company with an emphasis on sustainable tourism. We run guided treks, mountain expeditions, adventure holidays, electives and volunteering trips for individuals and groups around the world. Our model is aimed towards the local ownership of suppliers, equitable salaries and making sure that our brand translates into real benefits for the communities where we visit.
Member since: 20 Oct 2015

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

Economic responsibility

  • We are very loyal to small businesses and enterprises, such as local hotels we use which compete with the larger chains. We provide clients, but we also help with investment in facilities and helping to raise standards. In some cases we become business partners.
    For example we have been working with the Blue Line Hotel on the slopes of Mount Kenya for nearly twenty years now and a few lodges in the Khumbu ,and we have invested in the Lupa Masa jungle camp on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu. All these small outlets have really benefitted from us and other companies using their facilities.
  • In remote areas we helped to set up co-operatives and business enterprises. For example in Nepal, Bumburi was a dying village in an area that had no access to tourism. We worked with the villagers to improve facilities and offered homestays and trekking holidays, we provided investment and a long-term strategy that included oil and flour producing businesses, a tea plantation and IT. At the same time, we employ local villagers on our treks in east Africa, Nepal, Borneo, Russia, Morocco and more, to ensure that new money is constantly supporting the economy.
  • We have won World Responsible Travel Awards twice now, once in 2009 for 'Best Personal Contribution' and again in 2013 for 'Best for Poverty Reduction'. The company also received accreditation by Sustainable Travel International for our internal processes. We have also won the Roger Diski Community prize delivered by the Association of Independent Tour Operators twice in a row and are currently nominated for ‘The People’s Choice’ at 2015’s World Responsible Travel Awards.

Environmental responsibility

  • Sustainable environmental policies form a fundamental base of our business practices. We support and promote
    Lupa Masa jungle camp where all lodgings are simple and all ecologically sound. The hydroelectric power supply is the primary source of electricity at camp, meals are vegetarian with numerous jungle vegetables that are grown in the surrounding area and supplied by the local village markets, food waste is composted and plastic and other materials are limited and the appropriately disposed.
  • Our student expeditions to Nepal visit the beautiful villages of Bumburi and Bupsa where our sister charity, Moving Mountains is working on a long term environmentally sustainable project to provide hydro-electric power, develop tea plantations and install eco-friendly cooking stoves. In Borneo, our student expeditions trek to the remote Penan communities, where Moving Mountains has been supporting a reforestation project since 2006 to combat deforestation through logging, encroaching palm oil plantations and forest fires. In unison with this project, Adventure Alternative supports and promotes the community as a sustainable tourism initiative where by travellers and volunteers alike support the Penan communities by staying in family homestays and hiring local guides for their treks. As well as the economic benefits this brings to the villages, its environmental impact is to add value to forests for their tourism appeal.
  • Our wildlife and trekking guides are fully qualified and extremely knowledgeable about appropriate wildlife practices, including keeping safe distances while viewing wildlife, no handling of wildlife and removing all unnatural materials from camps and trails.

Social responsibility

  • It is a main concern of ours that an employee in any of our satellite offices should have the opportunity to create a long-term career out of tourism and receive funding and encouragement to grow within the company. We actively promote this vision of equality in the work, while investing in the training and development of staff has enabled the operation to grow organically. Each company has its own organic growth journey, and our role is to adapt each support package for each organisation and culture.
  • We have a model that thinks in terms of social capital as well as financial return. We want to create a vibrant local economy with our holidays, but we also aim to sustain traditional customs and ways of life by committing ourselves for decades. Crucially that means not walking away when times are difficult.
  • We are founding members of Fair Trade Volunteering, and we ensure that every trip we run with a volunteering component is asked for and required, and that it contributes properly to the needs of a community. The complementary relationship between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains ensures that the projects’ objectives are purely developmental and properly managing by a development charity.

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