Sustainable tourism is about environmental, economic, and socio-cultural responsibility. It is important that our clients can easily see what our position is on these three intertwined concepts. For many years we have observed and studied the possible ways of contributing to the development of the country where we are operating, and we constantly seek to optimize our sustainable tourism efforts.
We are committed to preserving the natural environment and culture in all the places we visit. In our operations we have developed an environmental management system that provides the tools to operate trips while respecting both nature and culture. Additionally, we believe in economic and socio-cultural engagement in the local communities where we are pushing for sustainable development through tourism.
Supporting local people, culture & economy
Unfortunately in Peru, there are travel agencies and tour operators that in attempt to increase their sales do not pay their employees a just wage according to Peruvian law. We understand that our employees are the ones that work the closest with our clients and are a crucial part of our operations. We have no desire to compete for this race to the bottom and ensure that our employees are paid fair wages that exceed what is stipulated by Peruvian law. Our excellent working relationship with our employees has allowed us to work with the same group of staff for many years allowing us to provide a high level of service to our clients. This mutual level of respect is seen throughout our organization as we encourage our employees to share their opinions and work with us to develop new treks and activities.
Respect for our staff
We believe that environmental education is very important and train our staff to leave only footprints when visiting sites and camping. Our staff consists mainly of people who have local ethnic backgrounds, and a part of our regular meetings consist of seminars dealing with the preservation of cultural heritage and identity.
We work to proactively train our staff in responsible environmental practices through annual training courses and throughout the year through monitoring conducted during treks and other activities. As we understand our own limits and resources to best prepare our staff we invite different experts to conduct workshops and seminars on such topics as environmental responsibility, cross cultural understanding, conflict resolution and health and safety. Biologists and Anthropologist conduct the work-shops on nature and culture, while a psychologist provides classes on fears, behavior, problem foresights and prevention. We also provide recurring first aid classes to ensure that our staff is prepared for any type of emergency.
When we are out on the trail we work hard to provide the best possible working conditions for our trek staff, limiting for example the maximum load for the porters to 20kg. We provide our porters and muleteers with waterproof tents and well balanced meals that allow them to stay health and provide our clients with a high quality service. Breaking from common practice our porters and staff are provided with the same food as our clients during trekking and climbing. Our commitment to health and safety also applies to the pack animals that we use on some of our treks. We expect that our muleteers take good care of the animals, that they are well fed, and well cared for. For instance, the maximum weight that we allow a horse to carry is 40kgs.
Respect for the environment while trekking
Besides from environment education of the staff as described above, we run a tree planting project, as well as we have elaborated a clear policy for specific environmental issues:
We have a zero rubbish policy on all of our treks meaning that we do not leave anything behind other than our footprints. On our treks we separate our trash into organic and inorganic groups. The inorganic we transport back to the city of Cusco or other towns in bio-degradable plastic bags for proper disposal. Organic rubbish is given to local families for animal food or used for composting. We are always on the lookout for any rubbish left behind on any of our trails even if it was left behind by others. It is our belief that all our treks should feel like we are the first ones to hike through this area.
We use bio-degradable chemical toilets in all of our treks.
We use bio-degradable soap to wash our utensils and cooking equipment during our treks.
We also have small laundry bowls available for your personal use. If you wish to wash yourselves, shampoo hair or wash clothes please ask for a bowl. We ask that you do not allow for any soap or shampoo to enter the rivers or lakes but make sure you handle your washing away from any water source.
Remember, the only thing we want to leave behind is our footprint