Bangladesh and India Durga Puja Festival holiday

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Date
Price
Basis
22 Sep 2019
£ 3595
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Sep 2019 departure
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Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bangladesh and India Durga Puja Festival holiday

Environment

On Day 11 we will be staying in a homestay in Dzongu, a traditional Lepcha village practically untouched by tourism. Dzongu Valley has been established as the official reserve for the Lepchas – the original inhabitants of Sikkim - and it borders the Kangchenjunga Biosphere Reserve. The Lepchas have strong ties with nature and have lived here for centuries. An understanding of their culture, customs and language helps to foster an appreciation of the beautiful mountains, deep forests, and the emerald-coloured Teesta River. The area is covered with dense vegetation, rice fields and cardamom plantations. We will spend the night in a local homestay where the facilities will be basic, but the hospitality, home-cooked food and experience will be a rare treat. These accommodations are mostly family run and are low emission. We ensure to promote staying in accommodations that contribute to the local economy of the region.

We attempt to reduce plastic bottle use wherever possible by promoting use of reusable and filtered water bottles. Our partnership with Water-To-Go provides a discount on filtered water bottles to our clients. We do not provide water from plastic bottles to our clients in country but always ensure there is regular access to drinking water on our tours, either via restaurants, hotels, rivers or homestays.

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites and ecosystems we visit including Khecheopalri Lake and Teetsa river as well as forests of Dzongu and Pelling.

We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to each one of our trips, and as a responsible tour operator, it is something we are careful and steadfast about promoting. Each one of our guides are trained to uphold, promote and put into practice such responsible behaviour, especially in wilderness areas or whilst traveling to UNESCO heritage sites, which many of our trips undoubtedly do.

When you take one of our tours, me make a contribution to ‘Carbon Clear’ – an organisation devoted to ‘offsetting’ or ‘neutralising’ harmful greenhouse gas emissions caused by your flights. This is done by funding projects across the world that will reduce greenhouse gases on our behalf through sustainable energy or rain forestation.

Community

The Hope Foundation in Kolkata
As India is a much-loved destination of ours and one of the first countries we visited with our tour groups 15 years ago, we want to support communities through our Foundation and give back to people who always offer us a warm welcome. We have contributed to a number of projects over the years, including supplying equipment for schools from a new bus to uniforms, computers and even wrestling mats, maternity beds for a village hospital and supporting a reforestation scheme in Rajasthan. Continuing our support for communities in India, in 2016 we teamed up with The Hope Foundation to sponsor hospitality traineeships for young people from the Kolkata streets and slums. £1250 funds a 12-month traineeship at the café and through work placement for each participant, during which time they learn invaluable skills in food and beverage preparation, front of house and customer service to establish a career in hospitality.

Jhuma was the first of the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s graduates and has gone on to take up a permanent position at one of the city’s hotels. Through our fundraising events and initiatives such as the ‘go paperless’ campaign we will continue to support young people like Jhuma.
If you have time in Kolkata you may like to visit the Hope Café at 5/2/L Panditiya Road, Kolkata. Further details can be found on their website: http://www.hopechild.org/

Aarong – Bengali for ‘village fair’ – is a lifestyle retail outlet and social enterprise of the non-governmental development organisation, BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities). Established in 1978, Aarong provides economic opportunity to local women and disadvantaged artisans through the promotion and production of traditional handicrafts. The ethical brand employs over 30,000 artisans, many of which are rural women. Employees of Aarong are also beneficiaries of BRAC's development programme providing artisans with various support services, such as the opportunity to gain access to healthcare, micro-loans, legal aid and education for their children.

On this trip you will have the opportunity to visit an Aarong shop, where you can browse the varied and tempting collection of handicrafts, jewellery, clothing and home décor. For more information visit http://www.aarong.com/

Wherever possible we stay in locally owned accommodation, eat in locally owned establishments and purchase supplies from the local nomads. On Day 11 we will be staying in a homestay in Dzongu, a traditional Lepcha village practically untouched by tourism. We ensure to promote staying in accommodations that contribute to the local economy of the region.

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that we have been committed to since our conception. It is part of our core sets of beliefs that these words are not simply scattered nonchalantly into our literature and on our website but moreover that they are central to each and every trip. Our adventures are therefore carefully curated celebrating all that is local from the people, to the culture. We believe that a successful trip delivers a unique and authentic journey for our clients, but furthermore benefits the people whose land we have the privilege of encountering.

On each Group tour we use local ground handlers. This means that all operational costs go directly into the local economy and help improve employment opportunities in remote regions. Such support can also be seen in our incorporation of homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of local guides and drivers into our itineraries, which ensures that the money you spend with us goes directly into the local economy and local community.

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