As travellers we’re privileged enough to get to see and experience amazing things around the world. At Active Travel we understand that with privilege comes responsibility and we’re conscious of both the positive and negative impacts of tourism, particularly in developing countries and the fragile polar environment.
We select our partners who share our ethics in order to provide an outstanding travel experience for our guests and at the same time minimise negative impact. We figure if we do this properly, sustainability follows. A simple philosophy that serves well.
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Spreading the Benefit
At the core of our responsible business philosophy is to spread the economic benefits of our trips as equally as possible. To do this we prefer to work directly with smaller local companies, tour guides and hotels to ensure that the money goes directly into the local economy.
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Preserving Local Culture
Over the years we have seen the negative impacts of tourism and the dilution of traditional cultures and dwindling artisans skills. Through our textile & cultural tours we support the fostering of crafts, arts and cultural integrity. We support many local women’s handicrafts groups who hand make our spectacular document wallets that our escorted tour guests receive for their trips. We also support the YTP Young Weavers group in West Timor who provide training in traditional weaving techniques for young local women to ensure that the traditional weaving and dyeing skills are preserved, and to support village women to develop economically through their weaving skills.
Educating Travellers & Supporting Local Community’s
A continual task at Active Travel is to ‘educate’ our guests about the issues surrounding their impact on the communities they visit. In Laos, expansion of population means a constant menace of unexploded bombs and ordinance (UXO) left over from the conflict in Indochina decades ago.
Through our ‘Savanh Foundation’ we create or support a number of projects that address these issues. They include the support of COPE in Laos who rehabilitate amputees, the complete restoration of a significant and threatened colonial house in Luang Prabang, patronage of many artisans through our tours in order to encourage the retention of sustainable and creative skills and tree planting work in Laos to provide natural dye materials as well as revegetate war damaged land. On many of our escorted tours we take over glasses for the local artisans who don’t have access to optometrists and are unable to get glasses.
We also support the Lone Buffalo Foundation a foundation that provides free English lessons and football coaching to Laos youths in Phonsavan, Laos.
Supporting Medical Care
Active Travel supports Doctors Without Borders an organisation committed to providing medical care and emergency medical assistance to victims of conflict. In addition the organisation responds during natural disasters and sets up emergency feeding programs during times of chronic food shortages. They also work hard to tackle deadly diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis and organise mass vaccination programs to prevent diseases from spreading. Doctors Without Borders has over 400 projects in over 60 countries around the world. You can find out more about their important work on their website. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
When disaster strikes our destinations often we learn of friends who are impacted. This happened with the tsunami in Sri Lanka where several friends we had through our travel contacts lost their lives. Burma and cyclone Nargis was the same. Active Travel campaigned our good customers and friends through various fund raising events and raised over $12,000 for a school rebuilding project in Sri Lanka and over $35,000 for a medical barge in Burma. We partnered with others to provide the skills and proud to say our money raised was well spent.
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Conserving the Environment
We are aware of the negative impact tourism can have on the fragile natural environment and are committed to supporting causes and selecting partners who work for the protection of the environment.
In Bhutan, Active Travel is a corporate sponsor of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature. The RSPN work hard to raise awareness of the fragility of the Bhutan environment through education, campaigns and fieldwork. It is a small organisation with devoted personnel and a big impact. You can find out more at www.rspnbhutan.org
Our Antarctica and Arctic partner One Ocean Expeditions are a world leaders in preserving the fragile Polar environment. They significantly minimise the environmental impact of polar expeditions by using smaller ships, efficient fuel that minimise emissions, minimisation of waste, offer carbon offsetting and only serve up seafood from sustainable sources. One Ocean exceeds the Antarctic Treaty obligations and are constantly improving measures to minimise their impact on the environment.
Minimising Paper Wastage & Recycling
The travel industry devours vast tracts of forest for the use of printed brochures and other marketing materials, much of which goes to waste. We’re committed to minimising our usage of paper by only printing brochures on demand. As a result, unlike most travel companies we don’t have the volumes of unused brochures that go to waste every time a new brochure is released. In addition our brochures are printed on partially-recycled paper or paper harvested from sustainable sources.
When you view or download our electronic brochures you are doing your bit to minimise paper and ink wastage.
To minimise our own in office waste we always print on both side as of the page and what we no longer need we recycle.
Australia Owned and Proud Of It!
Active Travel is wholly Australian owned and family run and we’re proud of it! Too often we hear of Australian owned and people-focussed small businesses being gobbled up by large multinational tourism conglomerates, with a resultant corporisation of employment contracts and the erosion of personal relationships. At Active Travel we are dedicated to being the complete opposite of these machine-like tourism businesses that focus on bums on seats rather than quality, innovation and the well-being of staff.
We operate a business style that fosters the employment of working parents through flexible hours and compassionate leave allowances and it is the reason we have had our staff for so long, some have been working with us for over 17 years. Our business is also dedicated to providing opportunities for local young people to enter the tourism industry. In fact several of our staff came to us straight from tourism school. It is this good working environment that fosters creativity and dedication amongst our staff to continue to craft you amazing trips.