Chinkara Journeys

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Member since: 08 Oct 2013

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

Economic responsibility

1. Our close association with local guides and communities allows us to put more money back into the local economies. It also helps younger generations of the communities to value, respect and preserve their heritage. Chinkara Journeys ensures that local partners are employed under fair conditions and are paid a living wage for reasonable hours.

2. We encourage our clients to dine at locally-owned restaurants to experience dishes cooked by local cooks. This not only supports the local economy but also offers a chance to enjoy local customs and cultures along with their cuisines.

3. We actively seek accommodation which employs local staff and empower local communities. This not only helps economically but in places such as tiger reserves, participation in tourism activities help locals realise the importance of conservation.

4. Chinkara Journeys is associated with Aakanksha School in Raipur which helps children with special needs. This non-profit organisation empowers children with basic self-help skills, education, vocational skills etc so as to give them confidence to be a part of the society. Chinkara Journeys not only help the institution financially but also one of our founder member Surbhi Agrawal works as a volunteer.

Environmental responsibility

1. Our environment responsibilities start right from the office. We have policy of using eco-friendly goods and paper, plus we reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. We print our office documents on both sides of the paper to reduce paper consumption. We try to keep our marketing materials at bare minimum by using modern electronic communication for marketing purpose. We also work to minimise energy and water consumption in our offices, and we encourage our partners to follow similar waste management and energy philosophies.

2. We operate with small group sizes which not only maximises interaction within the group and guides and local community but also minimises the impact on environment.

3. Chinkara Journeys vehicles comply with strict Euro IV emissions or Bharat Stage III control regulations set by the European Union and Indian Environment Ministry. We regularly check and maintain vehicles to the highest possible standard in order to limit carbon emissions and ensure the comfort and safety of our passengers.

4. We try to look for home stays, lodges and hotels which are safe, comfortable and operated in a sustainable way. We specifically pay attention to the lodges and camps, located around national parks for their waste disposal and eco-tourism policies.

5. Tiger reserves and national parks are covered in majority of our tours and with the increasing number of tourists in these reserves can put extra pressure on the local flora and fauna. Howvever, we believe wildlife tourism can be an important conservation tool if used responsibly. Travel to national parks and wildlife areas can bring positive economic benefits as entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and conservation of local flora and animal species, while visitors benefit from the educational aspects of the area and take away with them an increased awareness of the need and place for conservation. Equally important tourism helps the local communities living around these reserves by providing jobs and helping them realise the importance of the forest.

Chinkara Journeys tour leaders and drivers follow strict policy while visiting national parks to minimise pressure on Tiger Tourism. Our code of conducts is:
- We do not guarantee sighting of any particular species because this puts pressure on drivers, guides, naturalists, mahouts and other authorities. Rather, we rely on skilled naturalists and guides who are expert in deciphering jungle signs to locate the client’s dream animal/birds.

- We refrain from rushing through the jungle beyond the permitted speed in the hope of catching a glimpse of a tiger or other animal. We maintain a slow speed, which not only allows the tourists to absorb nature but it is also safe for animals crossing/sitting on the road.

- We do not go beyond the marked area for tourists inside forest in hope of better sightings.

- We strictly do not chase animals or disturb their natural behaviour for a better look or for the ‘ultimate photograph’.

- Whenever we find garbage or plastic inside the reserve, we carry it out for safe and responsible disposal.

- We maintain a safe distance from animals and do not come between parents and offspring.

- We avoid approaching nesting or breeding sites as this causes unnecessary stress to parents and young ones.

- We do not support attractions which use animals as entertainment for profit. These animals are often taken from the wild, mistreated and are trained to perform unnatural behaviours, which are not only stressful but often harmful to the animal.

Apart from above, we strictly follow and expect same from our clients to abide by the rules and regulations pointed out by Forest Department of India and local authorities.

Social responsibility

1. Chinkara Journeys knows that a local guide can enliven every tour with local folk-lore, snippets of gossip, names of plants and their medicinal uses. Most importantly particularly in remote villages, our guide is our host, showing us around his or her area. This helps to make our tours an experience of cultural exchange rather than a brutish trample through someone else’s way of life.

2. Many drivers in India are paid tiny fees in the expectation of large tips that allow the car owners to get away with low wages. We pay all our drivers a decent wage and we do not, as many operators do, expect them to sleep in their cars when doing long journeys involving overnight halts. We either ensure accommodation and good food is available for them at the lodges we use (and we check the accommodation is of an acceptable standard) or we pay for them to stay in a nearby hotel.

3. Many of our tours offer opportunities to visit ancient places such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites where the entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and restoration of these unique places. Chinkara Journeys asks that travellers respect signage, take only photographs and leave no litter or graffiti behind, even if others have done so. Do not attempt to bring home any rocks or stones or other souvenirs of the location and don’t purchase such items from vendors as this can encourage the on-going destruction of local areas of interest.

4. Tribal Dances: we believe that it is important for tribal dancing to take place in the dancers’ village rather than (often quite shy) tribal dancers being brought to lodges to perform in an unfamiliar environment for a group of foreigners whom they’ve never met. This ensures that visitors become guests in the dancers’ village; it means some proper interaction takes place before and after the dancing; and it ensures that the children and other members of the village can enjoy and appreciate this wonderful apsect of their village culture along with the foreign guests.

5. We also encourage our guests, especially gap year or university students on their summer break, to work as volunteers at Bhoramdeo village in Chhattisgarh during the low season (summer). Our tour, Working Holiday at Bhoramdeo, is designed to provide a low cost tour on a full board basis. This provides an affordable vacation for students in an area of the country they may not otherwise access, offering cultural interaction with local Baiga tribespeople and the chance to help them by working in farms, teaching at local schools or working on local community projects. This also helps to bring in some income for the small guesthouse that provides accommodation, enabling the owner to continue in his excellent practice of paying his staff their salary for the full twelve months of year rather than just through the winter tourist season, thus preventing migrant work practices with all the social problems that come with that.

Founded 1990’s by an English adventurer who had already been immersed in Central Indian and tribal Bastar culture for 20 years. He passed in 2009, and this small company’s team is a fine legacy, upholding his commitment to the culture and wildlife of this region.
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