Latin Trails and Sustainable Tourism
Latin Trails recognizes the impact of tourism activity both on local cultures and on the environment. We realize the importance of preserving the cultural and natural heritage of the South American destinations we visit.
We are strong advocates of Sustainable Tourism practices, we are constantly reviewing our South America tour programs in order to find ways to minimize the impact our visits have on the localities we operate in.
Latin Trails takes responsible travel seriously, we work with local communities and conservation experts to minimize the impact of our travel. We try to run an eco-friendly office and are continuously enrolling our employees in development programs constantly raising awareness on environmental and cultural impact.
REDUCING OUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
Latin Trails takes part in many activities towards reducing our impact and offering sustainable tourism programs throughout South America. We invite you to join us on our quest towards a green planet.
We have chosen Quito - Ecuador as our headquarters and as our main call center, there is 12 hours of natural light year round allowing us to use artificial lighting at a minimum. Our offices are equipped with compact fluorescent bulbs, which alone will reduce CO2 emissions by thousands of pounds every year.
OFFSETTING YOUR TRAVEL FOOTPRINT
We invite you to off-set your own travel to and from Latin Trails adventures. You can consider off-setting your own travel before and after your South America vacation. You can also help by offsetting your car and air travel.
We offer 2 options for carbon offsetting your adventure:
- Purchase off-sets online from several programs
- Include a full day offsetting trip in your program and participate in one of Ecuador´s reforestation programs. If you really want to make a difference, you can participate in a full week of reforestation and offset your carbon emissions for a full year.
DISTRIBUTING LOCAL HANDCRAFTS
You’ll find that all Latin Trails guest and leader t-shirts are made with 100% organic cotton and designed by local artisans, all of our water bottles are recyclable, we distribute local crafts that have been produced with sustainable and recycled materials and always pay a fair price to local craftsmen.
In general our Responsible Tourism policies are based on the following principles:
Sustainable, Responsible and Participative Tourism
These 3 adjectives: Sustainable, Responsible and Participative are integrated to qualify products & services, users and suppliers in our tourism activity.
The first adjective, sustainable, refers to the concept of sustainable development as it surfaces from the economic environs in the 1970´s and is latter applied to tourism.
This principle refers to the non-destructive use of resources, synthesized in the following phrase from the Brutland report:
"Sustainable development is the possibility to satisfy present needs without compromising those of future generations".
Sustainability is characteristic of the tourism product, the natural environment and human resources, including all levels throughout the service delivery process.
The second adjective, responsible, refers to a request and an offer of a trip that imply consciousness of the impact of our actions, in this case regarding the supplier and the consumer of the tourism services. The purpose is to avoid destructive mechanisms and try to turn the travels into a positive impact, for the people we meet, the places we visit and the services we use, as well as for our personal growth.
The third adjective, participative, is used in its broadest sense. Participation means to be a promoter of a project or a tourism initiative, it means to become part of a project and take ownership of its content and modality that represent its deepest interests; offering full availability to those who live in the places we visit to share time, space and practices. Participation is an essential part of the trip, the planning and participative organizing strengthen the process.
These three principles in practice can modify the nature of the behavior of both the host and the traveler: from a passive consumerism position to a true exchange position. Trips conceived under these principles bring forth a new type of tourism; they show the true interest of the traveler to meet the reality of the place they visit and the local traditions creating so many possibilities of activities and favorable situations.
The fact, is that this type of travel generally starts in developed countries towards countries in development, it reflects the international economic breaches. In this sense, sustainable tourism is a constructive way to learn, understand and contribute personally towards improving this situation.
At a local level this promotes the creation of new projects, entrepreneurship and associations with the clear objective of using tourism as a sustainable means of income for local economies.
Benefits for visitors and hosts:
1. Travellers experiment a natural or cultural environment different from their everyday reality.
2. Tourism is developed with participation of the local population, in a sustainable manner through time, with a minimum impact on the environment and respecting the conservation of natural and personal resources.
3. Travel takes an educational and responsible character; the traveler grows an interest in knowing the people and places they visit, most important he or she is conscious of the impact his or her visit creates and is willing to interact with the society that greets him or her.
4. Tourism activity offers the economical benefit primarily to the visited community, the locals are participative acting as important creators and protectors reaffirming their culture and values.
In short we seek to:
Protect the Environment – its flora, fauna and landscapes
Respect local cultures – traditions, religions and built heritage
Benefit local communities – both economically and socially
Conserve natural resources – from office to destination
Minimize pollution – through noise, waste disposal and congestion
Guidelines and Suggestions for the sustainable traveler
Learn about the country learn key words in the local language
Be aware of religious and social customs
Visit the visitors centre on arrival for local information
Know the appropriate cultural behavior respect the dignity and privacy of others
Dress and behave respectfully especially in villages, religious and cultural areas
Be careful giving gifts or money to children and beggars
Protect non renewable natural resources do not buy products made from coral, endangered plants or animals do not stand on, touch or remove any items from the natural habitat you are visiting
Support local initiatives purchase local products, arts, crafts eat local rather than imported food
Support local tour operators and stay in locally owned accommodation
Pay a fair price 50 cents may not mean much to you, but it may be a meal for the vendor
Pay a price that reflects what something is worth to you
Minimize environmental impact dispose of rubbish carefully, recycle where possible, reuse your drink bottles, and say "No" to plastic bags
Minimize water and power use
Choose environmentally responsible tour operators
Think about your impact remember you are a guest – don't do anything you wouldn't do at home
Practice safe and responsible sex
Make your trip a positive experience for both you and the people in the country you visit