Responsible Travel

We care about the environment

By being Internet orientated, we aim to minimise the use of products that impact on the environment. We have included all the information you require within this site, with the aim of not having to produce enormous amounts of brochures and associated printing, which in turn uses large amounts of paper and resources. The paper we do use is recycled and we support ongoing efforts of the recycling industry.

 

Southern Exposure Tours responsible travel tips

  • Before leaving home, learn as much as possible about the countries you are visiting – the religion and culture, the local rules and values.
  • Learn some language and don’t be afraid to use it – simple pleasantries will help break the ice. Keep practising and learn what’s appropriate behaviour and body language.
  • Support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants and other services. Eat local food and drink local brands and brews. Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you’ll meet local people and get to know the place.
  • Think first. It’s best not to eat in restaurants, shop in stores or visit local shows, markets or zoos that promote cruelty or exploitation of endangered species.
  • Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products, helping keep traditional crafts alive and favour local products over imported items. Bargain if that is a local practice, but bear in mind that a small amount to you could be extremely important to the seller.
  • Dress respectfully with an awareness of local standards. Dress modestly at religious sites and check what swim wear is suitable for pools and the beach.
  • Always ask first before photographing or videoing people. Send them back copies of photos to help make it a two-way exchange.
  • Be wary of giving gifts or money to beggars, children and people you have just met. Supporting the community through a local school, clinic or development project may be more constructive. After returning home think how you can support programmes and organisations that are working to protect the welfare, culture and environment of where you’ve been lucky to visit.
  • Leave only footprints…take care of the environment as you would your own home. Take out all you take in, to areas away from the cities. Use alternatives to plastic and say no to plastic bags. For cigarette butts, an empty film container makes a perfect portable container.

 

Marine environments & coral reefs

Coral reefs are the marine equivalent of tropical rain forests — the epicentre of life in the ocean — covering just 1% of the planet’s oceans yet accounting for 25% of all marine fish species (David Suzuki, Time to Change, pg. 76). Millions of people depend on reefs for food and livelihood and many people don’t realise that corals are not plants, as they might appear, but rather are colonies of living, eating, and breathing animals!

Tourism is one of the major causes of coral reef destruction and thus we are all responsible to do our part in conserving such areas, should we choose to travel there. Careless boating, diving, fishing as well as grabbing, kicking, walking on and collecting coral by tourists are all direct causes of coral reef damage. Poor planning and over-developed resort destinations and the infrastructure needed to accommodate tourists can lead to many of the problems existing today, regarding coral reefs and the marine environment. Below are a few guidelines you can follow to help us in our efforts to reduce our impact on these glorious destinations.

 

We ask you to:

  • Not touch, stand on or collect coral
  • Not touch or chase any marine life (sting rays/nurse sharks, etc)
  • Maintain control of fins, gauges and other equipment so they do not bump against the reef
  • Respect local regulations about capturing, feeding and handling of marine life
  • Practice diving in a pool or sandy area before diving near reef
  • Avoid sunscreen (if possible) by wearing a shirt in the water when snorkelling. The chemicals in some sunblock damages the protective mucus membranes of the coral
  • Not use detergent to clean your snorkel masks. Some people do this to keep their masks from fogging up, however it is extremely detrimental to marine life (including coral). Please spread the word about this and discourage others you meet from doing this
  • Not purchase souvenirs made of coral or other threatened marine life
  • Not order restaurant dishes made from threatened wildlife such as turtle, shark and manta rays. Also, respect local fishing seasons and don’t order seafood out of season (e.g. conch, lobster, crab)



KIVA – loans that change lives

If you would like to make a difference why not join our lending team, Southern Exposure Tours, on Kiva, a non-profit website that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur across the globe. You choose who to lend to – whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq – and as they repay the loan, you get your money back.

If you join my lending team, we can work together to alleviate poverty. Once you’re a part of the team, you can choose to have a future loan on Kiva “count” towards our team’s impact. The loan is still yours, and repayments still come to you – but you can also choose to have the loan show up in our team’s collective portfolio, so our team’s overall impact will grow!

We’d love to have you on board, so if you have any questions, please email Silvana at silvana@setours.co.nz

Check out the Southern Exposure Tours lending team, and learn more about lending teams on Kiva in general, by clicking here.