How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
Alongside my wife and I, we employ local people from Zabljak to work as our team leaders for our organisation. We also employ another level of employment for cleaners, cooks, and anyone else required for the running of the day to day requirements of the complex.
All the locals generally live from tourism or farming in the area and so it's a massive chunk of their income to be involved with tourism. We are hoping that by with us being busy, we shall will be able to make work for the local community in Zabljak and thus they shall have a direct benefit of being employed and making money from our tour operator.
Whilst hosting guests we do supply some meals such as welcome BBQ and we buy all our produce from the market place, directly from farmers, in the form of locally produced hams, meat, honey, cheese, etc which can be purchased for guests stay, and is bought directly from the farmers. We also have a cultural day out where our guests shall have a traditional Montenegrin meal which again has all of these foods plus locally produced wines and plum brandy, etc.
Our team leaders can demonstrate to our guests the benefits of protecting our environment and also how recycling helps our planet. We shall be discarding all rubbish made from guests for recycling, wherever possible. We also have our outdoor lights all run by solar energy.
Our Hiking team leaders are also part of the conservation of the Durmitor forest and they will be explaining all aspects of nature to our guests. Our hiking and mountain bike guides are part of the National park protectors and volunteer with assisting the National Park. During activities and walking routes they will educate our tourists of the environment and how to preserve the unique nature in the area.
Our complex, surrounded by fields, mountains and forests, is situated in the National Park of Durmitor. The park is considered to be an 'air spa' for its air quality and rejuvenation of red blood cells on longer stays (21 days).
On our weekly package stay we have included a cultural lake tour, in which we take our guests to a different part of Zabljak onto mountain ranges to visit a local farm and also have a traditional Montenegrin lunch inside a traditional Montenegrin Stone Barn (Konoba). There our guests shall have a lunch which is mainly prepared from local produce, such as Hams, Meat, Cheese, Wines, etc.
As the business grows we hope to make considerable donations towards the town by donating presents for children at the local nursery and also with donating fitness apparatus for the local park in the town centre.
I have also already been approached to be included in the council of tourism for the area, as I am bilingual in Montenegrin and English language. I do hope to join and share ideas for growing their tourism in Zabljak to reach a larger audience.