Responsible Tourism

Our Ethical Travel Charter

 Really Wild Challenges is part of The Really Wild Travel Company, founded in 2008 with ethical tourism as one of its core values. For too long, companies operating overseas challenges were failing to invest directly in local communities and were sidelining local staff, with little care or attention to the wellbeing of porters, guides and other locals involved in organizing treks or cycles. Since 2008 we have directly invested over £4 million in communities around the world and our approach to ethical tourism continues to be industry leading. As a member of Tourism Concern’s Ethical Tour Operator Group since 2009, we constantly review our ethical approach and ensure it is up-to-date and takes account of the changes in practice and legislation in our destination countries. Our Charter below was developed in consultation with Tourism Concern to ensure that it is in line with what is internationally regarded as best practice with regards treatment of porters and guides.

responsible-tourism

We believe that more than anything it is the people around you who really make an adventure special. That’s why we think we go further than any other company in helping the people who live in the countries we visit. To us, responsible tourism means treating all our partners fairly and ensuring they are properly remunerated for their hard work and commitment to each and every challenge.

  • In only using local Guides and Tour Leaders. We think that experienced, properly trained local men and women are the best people to look after our challenge participants. Their combination of local knowledge and pride in the area they work means that our local staff give our participants the greatest possible insight into local culture, language, flora, fauna and geography. We believe that sending Western Guides can sideline local staff and put an artificial and unnecessary barrier between the challenge participants and the people on the ground that are responsible for their safety and wellbeing.
  • In only sending participants to destinations where we believe their presence will be welcomed and they will bring significant positive benefit to local communities.
  • In paying all staff fairly. All challenge support staff must be paid a minimum of the daily amount stipulated either by the government of the destination country or by the recognized union, if it exists.
  • That load-transporting staff (primarily porters but also muleteers depending on destination) used on our challenges must be appropriately clothed and equipped. Depending on the weather and terrain this may mean windproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, long johns, suitable footwear socks, hat, gloves and sunglasses.
  • That all challenge support staff should be provided with appropriate accommodation, including a sleeping bag or blankets appropriate for the prevailing nighttime temperatures. They must also be provided with adequate food and drink or the means to provide themselves with these essentials.
  • In fair recruitment of staff. Porters, assistant guides and other junior staff should not have to pay money to senior staff to secure their employment.
  • That in the event of a member of support staff falling ill or being injured they should be given the same standard of medical treatment and care that would be given to a challenge participant in the same circumstances. If they are to be paid off and leave the challenge group then they must be accompanied by another member of fit and healthy support staff who understands their condition and is able to report it to the appropriate people e.g. a doctor at the nearest health post or settlement.
  • That Porters should only be asked to carry loads that are appropriate to the terrain, altitude, local custom and the porter’s physical condition (at the time of writing that’s a maximum of: 20 kg on Kilimanjaro, 25 kg in Peru and Pakistan and 30 kg in Nepal).
  • That child labour is wrong; children under the age of 16 should never be used as load carrying support staff.
  • That tips should be distributed fairly and transparently between all staff according to locally established guidelines. It is the challenge participants’ responsibility to nominate one person in the group on a trip to present at least the minimum recommended tip per person to the head guide and the head guide must in turn ensure that all support staff get their fair share. It is the in-country supplier’s responsibility to ensure this process is followed. Tips must not be used to ‘top-up’ the minimum agreed salary (see point 3)

We work closely with our trusted ground suppliers to ensure that all our trips adhere to the values within our charter and in the past we have changed suppliers as a direct result of information from participants regarding a supplier’s failure to properly protect their porters and other support staff.

We constantly seek feedback from participants regarding their experiences on their challenge and would kindly ask that any participant who believes our charter has not been upheld to contact us immediately on info@reallywildchallenges.com

 

Environment Values

As a responsible tour operator,  we have strong environment values and are passionate about our planet and we are committed to travel that does not place unnecessary strain on our planet’s precious resources. We encourage everyone taking part in our exciting challenge events to respect local ecosystems and ‘take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints’.

In the UK:

  1. All our branded stationary is carbon neutral, manufactured using wind power. Green seal and FSC certified it is acid free, environmentally friendly, recycled paper. We also ensure we recycle any waste paper in the UK office, in order to further reduce our carbon footprint.
  2. For travel in and around Edinburgh staff are encouraged to use public transport, and we are part of a national shared-car scheme for when public transport is not practical.
  3. We have made a commitment to offset all international flights made by staff and senior partners in 2012.

In our destinations:

  • A large part of protecting the protecting the environment for us is choosing alternatives paths. For example the Salkantay Trail in Peru is by far one of the quietest routes to Machu Picchu – the Inca Trail has over 500 people per day on it, so we are creating a more sustainable way to get to Machu Picchu, which makes for a better trekking experience as well!
  • Our guides and porters are always careful to leave as little trace as possible of our presence when we visit remote locations; we never leave any rubbish behind.
environment-values
  • We purify all drinking water during our treks, rather than relying on bottled water. This makes a huge difference to the local environment as bottles take tens of thousands of years to biodegrade.
  • We provide our customers with organic food for their adventures whenever possible. This is often bought from local producers. For example, all food for the Kilimanjaro climb is bought from Moshi central market. This reinvests money into the local economy and supports local farmers (particularly women) who grow their produce without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

Really Wild Challenges

The Citadel, 40 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6JD Tel: 0131 553 1743
Email: info@reallywildchallenges.com

The Really Wild Travel Company

Registered in England & Wales.
Company no. 6709179. ATOL Bonded No. 10210.
Registered address: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AX