“BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”
Sustainability Policy – Low Season Traveller
The United Nations World Travel Organisation claims that economic sustainability focuses on long-term viability of economic operations, fairness and equity of benefits distribution, employment and income-earning opportunities and poverty alleviation. That is exactly what we at Low Season Traveller are prioritizing. During off-peak seasons, destinations tend to struggle financially as they receive little income from tourism. As we inspire and promote travel experiences which take place during a destination’s low tourism season, we are directly contributing to local economies and helping them to be viable all year round.
To break it down further, we are doing the following to support local economies in our destinations:
- We partner and promote solely with local people and businesses in the destinations we feature. This includes accommodation, transport, food and drink providers alongside tour guides and operators. Not only are we supporting the local economy by doing this, but our community of low season travellers will obtain a more authentic experience surrounded by the local communities. More of their money remains in the destination.
- We aim to provide long-term economic prosperity and profitability of our destinations through low season travel and continue to grow its tourism industry by ensuring yearlong viability – enabling us to promote unique tourism opportunities at competitive but sustainable prices.
- We aim to promote the use and purchase of products from local tourism businesses and facilities i.e., directing travellers to shops selling local crafts and products and relying on local suppliers.
- We consider local economic issues that our new destinations are facing at any given time such as through adapting our itineraries to support struggling local industries. This allows us to provide culturally enriching experiences to travellers whilst also targeting local business that will benefit from our custom the most.
Respecting the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, alongside conserving their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values are highly important to LST. We want to encourage the provision of enriching cultural experiences, whilst always considering the communities that we will are visiting. We will be ensuring this by adhering to the following:
- It is essential that we are made aware of the local customs, culture, and laws of each region before we visit, therefore we provide our audience with recommendations on how to act respectfully toward the destinations’ citizens, communities, environment, and religions and rituals of its peoples.
- We aim to empower local communities in planning and decision making about the management and future growth of tourism in their region so that they are equipped to make effective decisions.
- When reviewing existing destinations and sourcing new ones, we aim to always consider the indigenous and traditional communities of the destination to enable preservation of their lifestyle, traditions, and beliefs.
- We aim to have a positive effect on social structures and livelihoods whilst protecting natural and cultural resources to avoid any kind of exploitation and social degradation. We strive to maintain and enhance the quality of life in local communities.
- We aim to promote and encourage travel experiences that will stimulate positive socio-cultural exchanges between the clients and the local peoples, which will help deliver a more enriching experience for both parties.
- We are determined to respect and preserve the historic and archaeological heritage, landscapes, monuments, and worship sites of each host community whilst ensuring their bountiful history is appreciated by our clients.
As we promote low season travel, a crucial benefit of this is that we boycott the contribution to so called over-tourism. Over-tourism can have detrimental effects on local communities and environments. It is of the upmost importance to us to avoid putting pressure on scarce natural resources, areas, and habitats. We ensure optimal environmental protection through:
- Ensuring minimal pollution of land, sea and air and minimizing the generation of waste by the businesses we work with through undertaking a thorough screening process prior to working with them. We aim to avoid the use of private vehicles where possible and opt for coaches and trains and avoid any form of water transport and internal flights.
- Instilling a circular economy approach in the businesses we work with and subsequently in our clients through educating them of the benefits of reducing, re-using, and recycling to avoid depletion of scarce resources.
- Protecting wildlife and biodiversity of the regions we are visiting and to not destabilize the delicate balances of ecosystems. All waste that is created by our activities will be treated and disposed responsibly. Any natural areas that we visit will be treated respectfully and we guarantee these areas will be left untouched.
Whilst our efforts toward reducing harm to wildlife will minimize some harmful effects, the protection of biodiversity is a shared responsibility that needs collaborated action from tourism sectors, governments, and NGO’s. We want to make sure that there are clear frameworks in place regarding biodiversity at the destinations we visit therefore we engage with our stakeholders and provide support on how to minimize negative environmental impacts.
- Educating our clients on the benefits of flying less and encourage them to take fewer but longer trips by air. Further to this, we emphasise the environmental benefits of flying direct versus taking multiple flights to a destination, as take-offs and landings are the most carbon intensive aspects of flying. We also recommend travellers limit their baggage weight allowance to 15 Kg. This is a positive and conscious effort we can all make as it can decrease personal carbon footprints and the amount a flight emits into the atmosphere.
- Encouraging clients to solely fly Economy Class where possible. Flying Business or First Class leaves larger carbon footprints.
- Selecting accommodation providers that use renewable energy or any lower energy intensive options as well as camp sites. Additionally, prioritizing and increasing the duration of time spent camping over hotel or hostel stays.
- Providing only low or zero carbon activities to clients, such as nature-based activities trekking and sailing, is an easy and cheaper way to reduce emissions and avoids overcrowding and over-usage of tourist sites.
- Encourage vegetarian or vegan options over heavily meat-based options where possible
For Low Season Traveller, Sustainability is a journey in and of itself rather than a destination. We recognise that we are at the beginning of our journey and, as a small start up organisation, we are able to benefit from having a global team which all work remotely in our own homes. Conversely though, we do not have the resource nor budget for a dedicated sustainability expert on our team even though we very much prioritize these initiatives.
This is our starting point and if there is more we can or indeed should be doing, then please let us know.