As the organiser of dozens of overseas trips each year, we have an obligation to ensure that our trips are held to the highest ethical standards. We take this responsibility very seriously.
We constantly review our ethical approach and ensure it is up-to-date and takes account of the changes in practice and legislation in our destination countries.
We have been a member of Tourism Concern’s Ethical Tour Operator Group since 2009.
Some of our pledges are listed below. If you have any questions about the ethical standards of any of our challenges, please get in touch.
- We only use experienced, properly trained local men and women as guides and tour leaders. Their combination of local knowledge and pride in the area they work means that our local staff give our participants the greatest possible insight into local culture, language, flora, fauna and geography. We believe that sending Western guides can sideline local staff and put an artificial and unnecessary barrier between our participants and the people on the ground that are responsible for their safety and wellbeing.
- We will only send participants to destinations where we believe their presence will be welcomed, and they will bring significant positive benefit to local communities.
- We pay our staff fairly. All challenge support staff must be paid the daily amount stipulated either by the government of the destination country or by the recognized union, if it exists.
- We believe that load-transporting staff (primarily porters but also muleteers depending on destination) used on our challenges must be appropriately clothed and equipped.
- We believe that all challenge support staff should be provided with appropriate accommodation, including a sleeping bag or blankets appropriate for the prevailing nighttime temperatures. They must also be provided with adequate food and drink or the means to provide themselves with these essentials.
- We believe in fair recruitment of staff. Porters, assistant guides and other junior staff should not have to pay money to senior staff to secure their employment.
- We believe that, in the event of a member of support staff falling ill or being injured, they should be given the same standard of medical treatment and care that would be given to one of our participants in the same circumstances.
- We believe that Porters should only be asked to carry loads that are appropriate to the terrain, altitude, local custom and the porter’s physical condition (at the time of writing, that’s a maximum of 15kg on Kilimanjaro, 8kg in Peru and 10kg in Nepal).
- That children under the age of 16 should NEVER be used as load-carrying support staff.
- That tips should be distributed fairly and transparently between all staff according to locally established guidelines. Tips must not be used to ‘top-up’ the minimum agreed salary.
We work closely with our trusted ground suppliers to ensure that all our trips adhere to the values above, and in the past we have changed suppliers as a direct result of information from participants regarding a supplier's failure to properly protect their porters and other support staff.
We constantly seek feedback from participants regarding their experiences on their challenge and we encourage any of our participants to come forward if they believe that our challenges have not met these standards.
If you believe that your experiences on any of our challenges have failed to achieve the high standards of ethical tourism in which we take pride, please contact us immediately.