Ideal Best Practices for Responsible Travel for Tour Operators
Socio-cultural best practices:
Provides clients with pre-trip socio-cultural information. Seeks culturally authentic attractions and educates clients about local culture while on sites. Actively consults with local community members/stakeholders on shared sustainability issues. Does not jeopardize the provision of basic services to local people nor limits their access to local resources or culturally and spiritually important sites. Respects local cultural lifestyles such as dress and food, and encourages sensitivity in clients to the unique customs of the region.
Environmental best practices:
Provides clients with pre-trip information on ecological issues and attractions. Demonstrates correct knowledge, and respect for, plant and animal life in day-to-day practices, and educates clients on local ecology where appropriate. Makes monetary contributions to conservation efforts in the region. Makes physical (e.g., tree planting) contributions to conservation efforts in the region. Employs measures to actively minimize impacts on the environment (e.g.,carbon offsets). Uses vehicles with lower emissions; uses transportation wisely to reduce environmental impact. Uses solar, wind, or other alternative energy sources in operations at operator’s site and destination’s. Actively reduces, reuses and recycles at operator’s site and destination’s. Uses local and fair-trade goods and services.
Economic best practices:
Employs local people, is equitable in hiring women and local minorities, and pays fair wages, meeting or exceeding the highest local standards. Uses companies that are locally owned/operated. Uses accommodations that have been built using local materials where possible and minimize impact on the environment. Uses sustainable products at tour operator’s site and destination’s. Implements policies against child labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Promotional materials are accurate and complete and do not promise more than can be reasonably expected by customers. Consistently emphasizes quality over quantity.
Policy and practice best practices:
Elicits and follows up with feedback from clients during the trip. Elicits and follows up with feedback from clients after the trip. Delivers sustainability information to employees at operator’s site and destination’s. Requires that employees attain industry certifications where appropriate (e.g., wilderness first-aid). Has a risk management plan. Provides a safe environment for employees and clients at operator’s site and destination’s. Sets appropriate client carrying capacities in line with the ability of the environment to absorb the tour. Seeks to reform policy and/or practices in the environments in which it operates when appropriate. Sets organizational mission, vision, and values that have a sustainable orientation. Follows a written code of ethics. Supports nsustainability programs in the community. Works to exceed compliance with current applicable regulations while working in concert with broader local, regional, and national policies. Prioritizes areas for continuous sustainability improvement at operator’s site and destination’s.