Our Policy on Responsible Travel
Tourism is one of the largest industries on the globe contributing over 10% of world GDP which means that millions of families worldwide are dependent on tourism. We believe in minimising the negative social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism and strive to generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhance the well-being of the communities we visit whilst still providing a positive and rewarding experience for our customers.
At Dragoman we recognise our obligation to operate our tours in a responsible and sustainable manner. We aim to respect the environment, culture, societies and religions of the communities and areas that we visit and we encourage all our staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism. We specifically train our tour leaders in the philosophy and ethics of responsible tourism so that they can put our beliefs into practice for you on the road.
We are one of Responsible Travel's responsible tour operators.
Dragoman's approach to responsible tourism:
1. We respect the local communities that we visit
- We aim to respect the local customs and culture and abide by the laws and etiquette of each region
- We encourage our customers, through our literature and our crew to act in a socially responsible way.
- We provide our customers with guidelines on how to respect the environment, culture, societies and religions of the communities and areas that we visit
- We aim not to overload the local infrastructure and ensure that our presence is appropriate to the local conditions
- We take into account the local cultural issues when reviewing existing destinations and looking at new ones
- We try to operate our trips in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges
2. We work to support the local economy
- We have a kitty that is unique to overlanding and is a group fund, which covers everything that the group does together on the ground including accommodation, meals and included activities. This puts money directly back into the local community.
- We try to use small locally owned camp sites, hotels, guest houses and homestays to provide accommodation and local businesses to provide activities, where possible, thus ensuring money is put directly back into the communities we visit
- We aim to develop long term relationships with our local suppliers to ensure that the economic benefit is ongoing and continuous.
- We endeavour to ensure that local suppliers and operators receive a fair rate for their services and support and encourage fair employment practices
- We take into account the local economic issues when looking at new destinations
- On our truck trips, we source our food locally thus benefiting the local economy whilst being sensitive to the needs of the local community
3. We endeavour to preserve and enhance the environments in which we operate
- We endeavour to work with all relevant local bodies and authorities to help preserve or improve the environment and deliver a long-term benefit for the host community.
- Where possible we choose suppliers who have green practices in place.
- On our truck trips we will make every effort to dispose of any waste in a responsible manner and aim to leave only footprints.
- We attempt to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles by carrying drinking water on all of our trucks and actively encourage our customers to use the water supplied. Whilst away from the truck we encourage the use of a filter water bottle and we are able to offer Dragoman customers a 25% discount on Water to Go bottles and filters using the code DRAGOMAN25 and the link https://www.watertogo.eu/dragoman.
- We encourage all of our customers not to use single use plastic bags and provide shopping bags on our trucks to purchase local produce.
- In our office, we try to run our office in a responsible manner by monitoring and where possible reducing our energy usage as well as recycling where possible.
- We recognise your need to fly to the start of the trip but thereafter by travelling overland rather than using internal flights, we minimise our carbon emissions.
4. We respect Human Rights
- We actively discourage the exploitation of local people.
- We aim to engage with suppliers that demonstrate a duty of care towards the people they employ.
- We aim to ensure that everyone in our supply chains are free of human trafficking and slavery and actively encourage our tour leaders to disclose any concerns they may have to us.
- We explicitly forbid any participation in or endorsement of commercial sexual activities, exploitative sexual activities or drug use on Dragoman trips, from staff or customers.
- We do not engage with suppliers that exploit children in tourism and we do not visit orphanages.
5. We aim to promote Animal Welfare
- We want to help protect animals from exploitation, neglect and cruelty.
- We oppose practices that have a negative impact on animal welfare whilst at the same time respecting the local customs and methods of animal husbandry.
- We no longer offer elephant riding on our adventures. To read more about our approach to elephant riding and why we have made this decision see link to elephant riding.
- We believe that the best place to view wildlife is in the wild whilst minimising our impact on the wildlife concerned – please see our Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide
- We actively discourage the buying of items made from any protected wildlife.
6. We monitor our Responsible tourism policies on an ongoing basis
- We actively seek out feedback about our responsible tourism practices and environmental impact and any customer comments are monitored and acted upon on a weekly basis.
- We attempt to integrate the ethos of responsible travel throughout our organisation.
- We review our responsible tourism policy on an annual basis to ensure that it is in tune with current needs.
7. We support local Community Projects
- We recognise that tourism can bring benefits to many communities, help preserve the environments we travel through and provide some real and positive social exchanges. In addition to our responsible travel philosophy, we have actively sought some specific small-scale projects for you to visit and support. Learn more about the projects we support
8. We work hard to reduce our carbon emissions
We recognize that the three biggest sources of carbon emissions on our trips are generated by transport, energy use in accommodations and food.
- We advise our customers to fly less to take fewer but longer holidays by air (reducing the number of flights). We also encourage our customers to fly direct to limit the number of take offs and landings required which use the most fuel.
- We aim to reduce the need for internal flights once in destination preferring to use our trucks to travel overland instead.
- We work with local guides who do not need to be flown out to destination and flights for our crew are kept to a minimum
- We co-ordinate our trips so that where possible they travel in two directions so that we minimize additional mileage.
- We work with hotels and guest houses that use renewable energy wherever possible and aim to use simple home stays, wild camp or use camp sites which use less energy
- We shop in local markets and use locally owned restaurants serving local, seasonal produce wherever possible to avoid food miles