How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
Every tour we offer has a unique set of components/actions taken in our efforts towards responsible travel and
We use locally-owned boutique accommodations, hire local guides, and whenever possible, eat at delicious
restaurants that incorporate farm-to-table practices.
We always use local guides in every tour. We also use mostly locally owned businesses (boutique hotels, restaurants, activity operators, etc).
We encourage local suppliers to employ local people and we express a preference for local agents and accommodation which does employ local people. In fact, we only use non-local businesses as a last option.
We encourage local sourcing of food, drinks, furnishings etc. In fact we use many farm to table restaurants and often visit local farms such as in Alaska and Louisiana. We even learn how to make banana wine with locals in Rwanda!
At Gondwana Ecotours, we are a print-free company. Unlike the majority of small-group tour companies who use printed brochures, we only use digital brochures and our website. We do not mail anything to prospective travelers or our clients. We do have a few ads that come out in printed magazines (Nat Geo Traveler), but otherwise that is it.
We send out digital pre-trip guides to all of our travelers, complete with information about reducing water use during their trips. Additionally, we provide reusable water bottles during the majority of our trips and encourage guests to use them. In fact, we give them to them to keep and take home with them!
We provide information on how to safely visit wildlife such as mountain gorillas or animals on safari. We never work with anybody who feeds or baits wildlife. We recommend reef-safe sunscreen to all of our guests, we teach our guests about carbon offsetting and we offset their flights on their behalf. We also only do small groups and we educate on global and local environmental issues.
As a package small-group ecotourism company, we don’t provide suggestions so much as we provide opportunities. We work with different local projects in each destination and we include cultural exchange and contributions with each tour. For example, we visit with the Maasai in Tanzania and are working to help them with a clean water project. We work with Aspire Rwanda in Rwanda, and they give our guests a unique cooking lesson. We support and visit local farms in Alaska as well as non-profits, etc.
In our “pre-trip guide” we have information on cultural norms, safety, conservation, etc. We don’t have a ton of history or politics in our pre-trip guides, but we have recommended reading lists available to all guests for each tour.
Our guides provide information and instruction before visiting local communities. We also prepare guests in the pre-trip guide for how to interact respectfully and appropriately. We also only choose activities and businesses that respect local cultures and environments.
A local guide will always accompany all group visits to local communities For example, in Tanzania, we have local guides for the entirety of the trip. We then have an extra Maasai guide for the day we visit a Maasai village.
We visit and work with Aspire Rwanda, are working with the Maasai village of Engikaret to get clean water to them in Tanzania, we work with the Achuar in Ecuador, we plant trees in Patagonia, and we work with our guide’s family for a sustainable farm project they have outside of Vinales in Cuba. These are just some examples of local projects which we support.