Our goal is to promote sustainable travel by keeping tourist dollars in the community by using locally-owned businesses, by making our trips and office carbon-neutral, and by raising awareness of the environmental and cultural issues facing Australia’s tropical north and the planet.
As a tour operator, if our focus lies on travelling in small groups, helping preserve the natural areas we travel in, supporting local businesses and people and promoting positive social exchanges, then we have contributed to sustainable and responsible tourism.
This however, is a process; one that must be continually re-evaluated and improved. We have written a policy on responsible tourism in order to formalise what we feel are best practises in the industry, but a policy that will be need to be continually updated as we find more efficient and more helpful ways to operate.
Our Responsible Tourism Policies
Small World Journeys has committed to the following:
- Reducing paper wastage by not producing any form of paper brochures
- Offsetting the carbon emissions that result from all of our office operations through Sustainable Travel International.
- Using natural light in our office, and using our energy efficient bulbs only on dark days. Turning off lights when they are not in use.
- Using energy efficient appliances and equipment
- Using fans for cooling rather than air conditioning.
- Using only biodegradable, phosphate free, and non-toxic cleaning products
- Composting food scraps and lawn waste using the compost bin at our office.
- Printing on both sides of the paper or reusing scrap paper.
- Cutting up scrap paper to use as notepads.
- Ensuring the majority of correspondence is done through email to reduce the need for paper.
- Turning off major hardware or putting them into sleep mode when not in use (fax machine, copier, computers).
- Volunteering our time to help local conservation efforts which help to preserve the habitats of threatened and endangered species.
- Continuing to streamline our operational systems that utilize electricity and paper.
- Reducing our carbon footprint by offsetting all the carbon emissions from any staff air travel.
Trip Operations: Environmental Responsibility
- Ensuring our guests are well informed about the area and aware of the impact that they can have on the environment through pre-trip materials and education during their trip.
- Keeping our trips small to lighten our environmental and socio-cultural impact. In the case of large student groups, we endeavour to split them into smaller groups with their own guide to lessen visual and environmental impact
- Offsetting the carbon emissions that result from our trips through Sustainable Travel International’s portfolio.
- Giving our guests the option of purchasing offsets for their air travel through our website.
- Using accommodation that is not wasteful of local resources or destructive to the environment. Some of our accommodations recycle grey water, use aerated taps, have a tree-planting program and used a significant amount of recycled materials in construction.
- Paying for a 5 square metre plot of rainforest to be adopted in each group’s name.
- Providing each guest with a cloth shopping bag they may use throughout the trip and take home so they may avoid using disposable shopping bags.
- Providing each guest with a reusable water bottle and drinking water so they may avoid buying disposable plastic drink bottles.
- Avoiding disposable items and goods that utilize excess packaging and encouraging our guests to do the same. Purchasing environmentally friendly products whenever possible.
- Forbidding the collecting of plants, including the picking of flowers.
- Finding the shortest routes to our destinations to reduce fuel consumption and avoid leaving our vehicles idling.
- Abiding by the Leave No Trace principles of low-impact travel.
- Discouraging the purchase of souvenirs made from coral, ivory, rare animal hides, bones or shells.
Trip Operations: Social & Economic Responsibility
- Educating and training all staff on our sustainable policies.
- Choosing locally-owned accommodation, restaurants, and suppliers to provide direct economic benefit to the community.
- Hiring local people and provide them with appropriate training to ensure they understand and comply with our responsible tourism policy.
- Actively supporting cultural, social and environmental initiatives through financial contributions and direct participatory involvement.
- Purchasing produce at local farmer’s market whenever possible to reduce reliance on importation of international foods.
- Planning our trips in a way which maximizes the opportunity to meet local people and learn about the local culture
- Helping to enrich our clients’ experience by providing cultural and environmental interpretation, and by providing our leaders with the appropriate training
- Encouraging guests to buy locally produced products by advising them to patronize locally-owned shops, markets and artists. Giving guests a list of where they can find these places in Cairns.
- Providing opportunities for our guests to engage in one on one interaction with indigenous people.
- Working with other organisations to share our experience and learn from others. Maintaining membership of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Sustainable Travel International, The International Ecotourism Society, and Cairns and Far North Environment Centre.
- Using marketing materials and website to accurately represent Small World Journeys destinations and activities.
- Requesting formal feedback from guests in an written evaluation post-trip.
- Being honest at all times with every customer.