There are many definitions to responsible travel. According to UNESCO responsible and sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment. It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.”
UNESCO identifies the following objectives for responsible travel:
To appreciate the benefits and problems arising from various forms of tourism, especially in terms of social equity and the environment.
To develop a critical awareness of the ways in which tourism can enhance the welfare of people and protect our natural and cultural heritage.
To promote a personal commitment to forms of tourism that maximize rather than detract from sustainable human development and environmental quality.
What responsible traveling means to us?
Responsible travel means first of all carrying responsibility and commitment to truly act towards sustainable future. Our vision is to provide unique and high-quality outdoor activities, nature courses and backpacker accommodation which are all contributing into sustainable development and fulfilling the requirements of responsible travel.
We follow the UNESCO definition by respecting cultural and environmental heritage, contemporary cultures, and the environment. Instead of seeking rapid growth we are trying to put up long-lasting business activities that will be constantly developed and adjusted according to social change and needs.
We want to benefit the travelers by making cultural interaction and knowledge sharing possible while local communities and people are respected. We favor locally produced food when purchasing ingredients for cooking. We are also growing some organic vegetables ourselves in our home garden. We also seek to benefit local entrepreneurs and small businesses by cooperating with other service providers, and by introducing locally produced, sustainable products e.g. hand crafts to our customers.
All our activities are planned to be as environmentally friendly as possible. During the activities we discuss about the flora and fauna and the environmental impacts that certain activities have. We have also collected sustainability points of each activity to enable all customers to see which action we are taking. We are also welcoming all tips and input to improve our action.
We also encourage people with special needs to travel by offering special arrangements on request.
How are we going to practice it?
Our social conscience is high and we are very motivated to be as fair and ecological as possible. When thinking of the corporate responsibility, we also need to look further from the local level and to think globally. Hence we have listed actions that are following the guidelines provided by Visit Finland based on the recommendations of the World Tourism Organization and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Producing as little waste as possible and recycling all waste. We are composting all the bio-waste and have separate collection bins for metal, paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic.
Reducing usage of energy, water and fossil fuels. Saving water means short showers, fully loaded washing machine, and utilizing well water as well as collecting rain water for the garden. Unfortunately most of conservation areas can only be reached by car, but we put emphasis on planning the logistics in order to avoid unnecessary driving. Public transport is favored when it is possible and we also warmly recommend our customers to avoid flying at least within Finland as Helsinki is only 3.5 hours away by train.
Keeping the wilderness as intact as possible. This means that signed nature paths are followed, and resting and camping happens only in the designated areas. Plants are not unnecessarily collected and we either carry fire wood ourselves or utilize wood provided by Metsähallitus (authority for parks and wildlife in Finland).
Reducing food waste. The basic principle is that what has been prepared is also eaten. Left-overs are utilized within the limits set by the Finnish food safety authority Evira. We are also composting bio-waste.
Promoting vegetarian and organic food. Food prepared in our events is primarily vegetarian as it is climate friendly and healthy. Vegetables also stay easily fresh and tasty in bush conditions, and contain in most cases little packaging and hence less waste. We also also happy to serve vegans on request.
Using environmentally friendly products. Sometimes we need to use disposable plates and cups, but when this happens we see that all items have eco-certification, are bio-degradable and/or made of recycled material. We also like to purchase second hand gear. We are also buying eco-labelled necessities like e.g. toilet paper and soap.
Raising awareness. We are trying to do our part in raising awareness of environmental aspects of tourism using also our own activities as examples. Environmental topics are handled also in our blog.
Preserving local cultural and natural heritage.
Respecting local culture and utilizing it in sustainable manner.
Contributing into well-being of local communities.
Promoting locally produced foods and environmentally friendly products.
Setting boundaries and controlling the effects of tourism.
Communications on responsibility.
Taking accessibility and equality into account in all activities.
Networking and cooperating with actors sharing the same values.
Using profits for social or environmental cause.
Promoting fair trade products.
Seeking to run long-lasting business activities.
Transparency of the business.
Last but not least, we believe in honesty. We acknowledge that one actor has limited resources and opportunities to create change. Hence, it would not be realistic to claim that we will change the world on our own, but we may trigger positive development through our activities and ensure that we do our part.
We see our role is to offer knowledge and opportunities towards cultural exchange and interaction while offering all guests a wonderful time at the same time! We would like to see that people are empowered and committed to the values of responsible travel.
Let’s get to know each other, care about one other, learn and have a lot fun!