The Dragon Trip

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The Dragon Trip is all about being open-minded, meeting new people, sharing genuine experiences and living life like the locals. These are the values that we live by. Everything we do  – from researching trips to running them  – aims to give our ‘Dragons’ a truly authentic taste of the eye-opening places we visit. From camping under the stars on the Great Wall of China to becoming sushi-making experts in Tokyo’s fish market.
Member since: 14 Feb 2020

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

Economic responsibility

All our Adventure Leaders are locally employed and in China, a tour will have several Adventure Leaders with each one being a specialist in their home town. This allows us to support many more local people. Alongside this, we provide employment and leadership opportunities for local people in the destinations where we run tours.

Our customers regularly enjoy real local experiences which invests economically in local communities. These include meals in local people’s homes and visiting small businesses and restaurants.

No meals are included on The Dragon Trip which allows customers to try the local foods and new experiences. This gives customers more flexibility to spend what they can afford and benefit the local economy.

We only use locally owned hostels which are run or managed by local people.

In 2019, we partnered with One Tree Planted. For every customer who books with us to travel in South East Asia, India or Indonesia, we donate for the cost of planting one new tree in those countries.

On many of our tours, we encourage customers to do something good and donate even a few hours to a local cause. In Indonesia, we include a visit to a wildlife sanctuary.

So we have founded our "The Justin Shapiro Internship and Travel Scholarship” 

Justin Shapiro joined The Dragon Trip as CFO in December 2013 and moved on to join CRCC Asia, in December 2015. After leaving CRCC Asia, Justin travelled the world for a year before starting his MBA at the University of Austin in Texas over the summer. On 22nd September 2017 Justin was cycling home in Austin when he was hit by a car, and tragically passed away on 28th September.

In honour of our good friend and colleague, we are launching with CRCC Asia The Justin Shapiro Internship and Travel Scholarship. The programme will allow a number of young people, who may not otherwise have a chance to do so, to experience working and travelling in China.
The scholarship is open to anyone over 18 years old, it includes a month-long internship in China with accommodation and work placement, a 21-day adventure tour of China after the internship has ended, and return flights to and from China. 

Environmental responsibility

Once on tour, our groups use public transport, or walking, wherever possible. We also use overnight trains or buses rather than internal flights where possible. In China, the Adventure Leader does not join the groups when travelling between destinations. Instead, one will drop the group at the train station and another Adventure Leader will pick the group up at the next destination. This reduces the carbon footprint on this tour as less people are travelling.

We consider the environment by sending all of our pre-departure booking packs by email instead of through the post. For our “Little Books” – our on-the-trip companion guides for customers – we have stopped printing physical copies, in favour of electronic PDF files sent in advance.

Many of our popular destinations have now banned plastic bags and some other single use plastics – Thailand and Bali being two of them. Alongside this, all travellers are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles with them on their tours and many of our hostels provide free refills to limit plastic use. Our Adventure Leaders are trained to encourage our travellers to travel in an environmentally responsible way, picking up trash on hikes and beaches and minimising damage to the environment.

As of 2020 we are a paperless office and everyone is encouraged to recycle – we have also recently switched to glass milk bottles rather than plastic. To reduce paper usage for our customers, we also do not print brochures, instead opting to print a small number of flyers on an annual basis. Cycling to work is also encouraged with bicycle storage facilities and showers available for those who choose to do so

we encourage the use of reusable bottles and talking filtration tablets. We are also looking at providing our own bottles for group tours in the future too.

In our pre-itinerary package to customers we mention the following statement to encourage eradicating single use plastics:

"Bring reusable items with you to avoid single use plastics. A reusable water bottle, Keep Cup, metal or bamboo straw, reusable cutlery and reusable bag will all help cut down your single use plastics consumption."

Our adventure leaders also encourage our travellers to use reusable bottles wherever possible on our trips. We also try to use restaurants that use reusable bamboo chopsticks too!

This spreadsheet also showcases our work on CO 2 emissions.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16Ke0POFpzVSmR-JXxoWXYDIy_oIV9O7UyPVluZXpA1s/edit#gid=0
 

Social responsibility

As a sign of respect, we think that it is important for travellers to learn a few key words or phrases in the native language, so we offer language lessons in China, India and South Korea and a written language guide in Japan. We also offer classes to learn about the local culture including a calligraphy class in Japan and a lesson in kung-fu in China.

All of our customers’ interactions are with local suppliers, and we promote integration between travellers and local people through our “unmissable” included activities and our optional activities, and opportunities for authentic cultural immersion.

Our Adventure Leaders are trained in ensuring that customers are aware of local customs and traditions, educating them on when it is appropriate to take photos and/or videos.

Our blog contains a huge wealth of information on how to navigate the different cultures and minimise their impact on the local people. Our Adventure Leaders are also trained in communicating any major differences with our customers and they do so in the pre-departure meeting.

we send over detailed booking packs to our all customers. These booking packs provide the passengers with an overview of what to expect on the tour as well as a much more detailed look at their itinerary. We also offer links to our destination guides which gives a sense of the history, geography and culture of the locations that we visit. These booking packs are sent a few weeks before they travel and are updated to reflect the latest developments. In addition to this- they are given a pre-tour briefing on arrival where they are given instructions about cultural sensitivities and more information about the nature of the places that we visit.

all our tours are locally guided. We worked with a sustainable consultant who assessed how much of our trips were putting money and resources back into the local community and we scored very highly here. We do visit local communities and we have a local guide who goes with them. For example, in China- we visit one of our local guide’s villages and she takes them there. This type of activity puts money right back into the local community. The Dragon Trip has also contributed to an orphanage in Xi’an and a Kung fu centre. We watch a kung fu show in Shaolin and have made consistent contributions back to this community.

we do a visit to a local village in Yangshuo, China which directly puts money back into the local community. We also arrange a beach clean-up in Cambodia which has a tangible impact on the local community.

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