As a traveller, we believe that you have as important a role as we do. We believe that we provide a framework for Responsible Travel but your choices and actions before, during and after your holiday have considerable part to play.
The following covers some of the issues that we hope you will consider during your travels.
Our aim is to put as much back into the local communities that we visit as possible.
We ask that you:
- Buy locally made crafts and support local skills. Do not simply buy on price but on value to you: bargaining for a lower price for both souvenirs and services is often the accepted and expected custom, but don't drive a hard bargain just for the sake of it.
- Try the local food and specialities. Many rural areas around the world are under threat from a reduction in their agricultural base and by eating locally produced goods you will help the local farmers as well as the local economy.
Local standards of living are often very different to our own, so we need to realise that our economic power can be great and we should not abuse it.
- Please never buy products that exploit wildlife or aid the destruction of species or habitats. Do not buy souvenirs made from endangered species, like ivory; doing so will only encourage the trade. For more information please visit the CITES website.
- Consider what you really need to take with you. Waste disposal systems in many countries are ill equipped to deal with the increased pressures that tourism brings, and a few simple measures can make an enormous difference to the effect you have on your destination. Where possible remove the wrapping of packaged goods before you leave: unwrap soaps and take bottles out of boxes.
- Pick up your litter as you would at home: bottles, cans, plastic, cigarette butts, apart from being unsightly, can be deadly to wild animals.
- Environmentally friendly detergents and shampoos for hand and hair washing are widely available please take these, and use as little as possible. This will help to keep valuable fresh water supplies, rivers, streams and the sea free from pollution. Make sure you prevent soap polluting someone else's drinking water.
- Remember that in many places fresh water is a very precious commodity and should not be wasted, so use a minimum for showering and washing.
- Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavoury, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near, (at least 30m) from a water source. Your leader will give you appropriate advise on this issue.
Although we insist that our guides maintain suitable distances from wildlife, allowing the animal an escape distance, there is always a temptation to get closer. For this reason we recommend that you don't encourage your guide or driver to get closer to the animals than is acceptable and to take the most powerful lens for your camera you can get. Never feed wild animals or attempt to touch them.
- We hope that those who choose to travel with Exodus do so with a genuine desire to enhance their holiday by learning more about the people of the host community.
- It's quite easy in a small community to appear as an arrogant and potentially rich foreigner, so be aware of the feelings of other people, and try to avoid giving offence. Learning a little of the local language and customs plus taking note of the dress codes can help reduce these barriers.
- Please always ask permission before taking pictures of people, ritual events or special places like shrines. If people seem reluctant or look away then please do not take a picture. Be careful not to cause offence through your thoughtlessness.
- If you are not sure please ask your guide or leader for advice on how to respond to begging and about appropriate gifts. It is usually better, for example, to give school materials or local food treats as a group, through the leader, to the school head or village head. Just handing out sweets encourages children into a habit of begging, and may well ruin their teeth in a place where there is no dental service.
- Extravagant displays of wealth such as ostentatious jewellery and technological gadgetry can be an incitement to robbery, as well as accentuating the gap between rich and poor, so please think about this when deciding what to take with you.
Responsible travel is an issue that is important for the tourist, host communities and the environment. It is important to us that the local communities play a fair role in our operations and that we provide a long-term investment in these destinations. It is also important that we contribute to the conservation of the natural environment that is so often the reason for our presence in the destinations.
Above all, responsible travel is about appreciating that it is the economic, environmental, cultural and social issues of an area that are paramount. It must be remembered that it is important for us all to work towards providing a responsible and sustainable future that benefits all.
- Your holiday destination is someone else's home
- Leave places as you would like to find them
- Make sure that communities benefit from your visit