Sustainable or responsible tourism means many things to different people. We should not kid ourselves, going on holiday can have a negative impact on the planet in terms of carbon emissions. Flying being one of the worst polluters there is. So should we stop travelling? No, that would undoubtedly cause more harm than good. But we can, for example, promote alternatives to air travel such as using the train.
It has become almost the norm in tourism to offer or sell guilt-free carbon offset packages at the same time as selling holidays. Although there is nothing wrong with contributing to good schemes such as planting trees, they cannot undo the damage caused by unresponsible holiday tours. We at High Point Holidays feel that the basis of a sustainable approach should begin with creating responsible holiday tours. Our walking and cycling holidays seek to re-dress the balance, (not by pretending we can somehow reverse global warming) but by promoting tours that benefit or protect the local community, its economy and its natural and built heritage. Below you'll find a guide as to how we seek to do this.
Please follow this link if you would like to find a few ideas of how you can help to do your bit.
Travel by train
Please visit our special web page to find out more about why travelling by train, where possible, is better for all of us.
Supporting the local economy
It is easy to see the positive (and sometimes negative) effects of tourism on the lives of local people in parts of the developing world where the income we provide can mean the difference between economic survival and poverty. For example, tips for the Berber muleteers, guide and cook during one of our trekking holidays in Morocco will help improve the income of those families. However, our walking holidays in countries such as France are also beneficial in a number of ways.
We only use small guest houses, preferring B&B's to hotels where possible. We seek small independent guest houses which have reused and renovated historic properties rather than creating new buildings, thereby safeguarding the local architecture for future generations and saving energy on a new build. We also favour guest houses on farms or with large gardens where the produce of the property can be seen directly on your plates. For one thing locally grown produce is often tastier and secondly it reduces transportation. Some guest houses have nowhere to grow fruit or vegetables, however, we ensure that they cook regional delicacies from locally sourced produce, which are often protected by labels. Most guest houses are only too keen to show off the best produce and dishes from their region.
Small guest houses, where meals are taken together around a large table, also help to encourage interaction between people from different countries.
We also use local or locally based leaders and guides, thus helping local families and reducing the need for leaders to travel large distances.
Respecting the local way of life
We ensure that we are knowledgable and respectful of the customs and culture of the country we are visiting. Above all this ensures that we don't offend local people, but it also means that we can create holidays that embrace the local culture and way of life. We seek to preserve and enhance the locally distinct elements of our holidays. After all, our French walking and cycling holidays are all about experiencing the local way of life.
Minimising our environmental impact
We only offer guided walking holidays in small groups, often with a maximum of 8 people. This enables us to use small guest houses as described earlier. It also reduces disruption or possible pollution from noise, as well as keeping our impact on the natural environment to a minimum. We work with our guest houses and other service providers to ensure that water is conserved where possible and waste is kept to a minimum through recycling.
Encouraging responsible behaviour
Although we don't wish to impose certain behaviour on our clients, we wish to encourage behaviour that's respectful of both other people (both locals and other clients) and the regions where you are taking your cycling or walking holiday. Please follow this link to take a look at our suggestions.
Supporting charitable organisations
High Point Holidays has decided to support Myeloma UK, the only organisation in the UK dealing exclusively with myeloma. Myeloma is an incurable form of blood cell cancer that affects the bone marrow. 4,000 people are diagnosed annually with the disease in the UK.
Registered as a charity in 1997, Myeloma UK offers a broad and innovative range of services covering every aspect of myeloma, from information and support, to improving standards of treatment and care through education, research, campaigning and raising awareness.
Find out more about the ways in which we are supporting Myeloma UK.