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sustainability


hands of the tour company, but clients can help by being selective about who they travel with. G Adventures features a Ripple Score for each trip on its website, showing the percentage of money spent in destination that goes to locally owned businesses. In the destination, it’s a matter of avoiding chains; choose restaurants owned by locals – the food will usually be better anyway – and buy souvenirs made locally, ideally by hand, from an outlet that gives artisans a fair price. Using public transport is the sustainable choice too, and operators such as Intrepid make use of local transport on some tours. Buses and trains use less energy than private transfers, and by travelling this way – or by cycling or walking – clients will be able to absorb the atmosphere of everyday life in the destination.


PROTECT WILDLIFE Wildlife can provide many of the most memorable moments of a holiday, but the way in which we interact with animals needs to be responsibly managed. Many operators now abide by a policy along the lines of Abta’s Animal Welfare Guidelines. Activities such as riding elephants, once common on tour itineraries, are now recognised as harmful and


34 March 2020


Look out for red flags – allowing physical contact with animals is a bad sign, as are cages or concrete pens


avoided by most companies. When it comes to personal experiences on the ground, there are a few rules of thumb it can help to stick to to safeguard wildlife. Avoid feeding or touching non-domesticated animals, in captivity or the wild. Don’t take photos with animals that have been sedated, ride elephants, swim with captive dolphins, eat endangered species (such as turtle or shark), purchase ivory products or touch coral reefs while snorkelling. Approach animal sanctuaries with caution – some exploit their charges for profit under the auspices of helping. Do some research; are they a member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries or affiliated with a reputable conservation organisation? Look out for red flags – allowing physical contact with animals is a bad sign, as are cages or concrete pens.


USE LESS


fRemind customers to turn off everything at home while on the trip to minimise energy use, and to do the same with lights, air- conditioning and power points in hotel rooms when they’re out and about. Opt for sheets and towels to be changed less frequently.


fDon’t over-order food – plates left half-full are a waste. Eating less meat is a more sustainable choice and is often closer to what the locals eat, so try a few plant- based dishes while you’re away.


fUsing fewer resources of any kind is better for the environment, and this can be achieved with very little personal inconvenience. It can be as simple as using electronic travel documents instead of printing tickets out.


travelweekly.co.uk/atas


PICTURES: SHUTTERSTOCK; JONO YOUNG


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