What is Eco-Travel, and what does it mean to us?
There are many definitions of ‘Responsible’,’Sustainable’ or ‘Eco’-Travel. My working definition is that eco-travel should be responsible travel, focusing on low impact nature-based activities, such as wildlife observation, bird watching, nature cruises and soft adventures, such as snorkelling, diving, hiking, and horseback riding. Community-based tourism projects are a vital aspect of our catalogue as I would like to encourage true cross-cultural communication between travellers and host communities – for it is individuals, who change the world, one friendship at a time.
I choose the operators with whom I work on the basis of their commitment to ecological standards of their operations and their social commitment to the local communities within which they work. In reality, every operation and business is unique and generalized standards are hard to apply. One lodge, for example, is not especially ecological in its operation, but is attached to an organic, shade grown coffee plantation, uses a majority of food from their own organic farm, supports the local community through fundraising assistance for the local school and also supports the work of scientists working on conservation research or field projects in their area – and the lodge happens to be in a prime location for wildlife and bird watching. Other lodges take meticulous care to supply only biodegradable soaps, have composting toilets, and reed beds for effluent water treatment – and are involved in the local communities. So, there is a certain range, but I do make sure I know where people stand before I consider taking them up in my catalogue.
I hope that Sacred Earth Travel through promoting such special, eco-friendly operators and businesses, and by raising awareness, will contribute to preserving both, the beauty of nature in fragile and endangered habitats and the integrity and beauty of the indigenous cultures, who live there, while providing unique opportunities for the traveller to experience and learn to love both.