Ethical consumption has been a thing for a while now. Just as we are becoming more mindful about what we are eating, where it has come from and how we handle our waste when we are at home, there is a growing movement of people concerned with the impact of their choices when they travel. The idea of responsible tourism is gaining traction. Its end goal is sustainable tourism.
All women trekking company, GirlsTrek was one of the industry’s early adopters of this philosophy and they are encouraged to see clients seeking them out because of their commitment to the cause.
According to Travel Responsibly, ‘sustainable tourism focuses on a long-term change in tourism practices tackling a long list on possible impacts whereas responsible travel focuses on short-term actions every one of us can take every day to have less of a negative impact on a given destination and increase positive ones.’
“The culture at GirlsTrek is not skin deep,” says founder Frith Graham. “We take these considerations to heart and are constantly striving to be more sustainable. Most of all we strive to make a positive impact wherever we go. This means embracing the local culture, contributing to their economy in meaningful ways and being kinder to the earth. It’s about making true impact in the communities we visit and providing an authentic, enriching experience for our trekkers.
“It’s the small things we do that add up to make a difference. We encourage our trekkers to use public transport – they actually love this as it is a great way to experience the real, day-to-day of the place you are visiting. You’d have to agree that driving around in a chauffeur driven limo would not be the same.”
Wherever possible GirlsTrek clients stay in hotels run by locals, they eat produce from the region they are visiting and support the small businesses in the community.
“We have developed real friendships with the people who live and work in these places and they get genuinely excited when we come back. They seem to have caught on to our culture and they like the sort of traveller we bring,” says Frith. GirlsTrek understand it’s a special privilege to operate and walk through our immensely important environment at their chosen destinations. They follow best practice track guidelines and their walks follow designated trails. They believe in treading softly, and in leaving no trace.
It’s about preserving each destination’s environment, culture and economy so that the next generation of trekkers can experience the same if not better. As consumers we can feel better about choosing a travel company that upholds these values.