TOSCO Responsible Travel Guidelines

 

TOSCO responsible travel sponsor 2014

 

As a responsible travel sponsor we recognize our responsibility towards the places and people we visit. We therefore endeavor to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts, especially by working on three levels:

1. ECONOMICAL creating economic benefits to local communities

  • Endeavour to develop a responsible tourism policy for your company and to select your suppliers (accommodation, supplies, e. g. food and craft, excursions/ activities, etc.) based on their social and environmental policies and practices.
  • Try to use local products where possible.
  • Give priority to accommodation and campsites where communities are involved
  • Source as much as you can e. g. crafts and souvenirs, from local communities.
  • Be ready to pay a reasonable and voluntary traverse/overnight fee for key areas, outside of classical tourist routes, where the cost of living with wildlife is particularly high (ie Hoanib, Huab…). Contact us for contact and payment details.
  • Use local guides where possible

2. SOCIAL caring for and respecting local cultures

  • Care for the well-being and cultural identity of local people especially by respecting and recognizing their conservation efforts.
  • Do not hand out sweets and pens to children (rather than helping them you may produce the opposite effect by creating dependence or expectations). Instead try to find ways to support e. g. the children’s education by working with the community. Visit the local school and conservancy office and talk to the person in charge.
  • Recognize that local people must benefit from tourism as well. Always ask before taking photographs of people.
  • We recommend to visit demonstration villages (like in Puros or Opuwo), where traditional habitants are the decision makers and involved in funds management. It is the best way to learn more about their culture while controlling influence from tourism and supporting local initiative beneficiating the whole community. In any cultural experience, it’s all about who is in control. Those Himba villages that have Himba people themselves as the decision-makers and/or owners are undoubtedly those that should be supported.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL protecting biodiversity (wildlife, landscapes, flora)

  • Contribute to mitigating Human/Wildlife conflict and supporting conservation & research projects through TOSCO. This helps to assure that tourism resources like wildlife are looked after.
  • Advise your guests not to buy products made from rare or endangered species and to prefer local quality souvenirs (many souvenirs now come from Asia).
  • Advise your guest not to remove any plants.  Take only picture, leave only footprints!
  • When meeting with wildlife, always keep a safe distance, do not harass the animals and give them enough space to move. Avoid entering their comfort zone where they will be forced to react. Train your guides in the right behavior towards wildlife.
  • Keep wildlife wild: do not feed wild animals.
  • Endeavour to minimize waste. Do not leave waste where it cannot be properly disposed of, e. g. in remote areas like Puros. Take as much as possible with you back to towns, preferably where there are recycling facilities. In remote areas the rubbish will be dumped or buried.
  • Especially endeavour to minimize the use of plastic water bottles. On a two weeks tour, one tourist might use as many as 30 water bottles. For the 1 Mio tourists that visit Namibia per year, that makes 30 Mio plastic bottles! Support the TOSCO programme for avoiding plastic bottles.
  • Use water wisely and try to conserve this valuable resource, ask your guests to use water sparingly and explain to them why.
  • Reduce the impact of your activities by avoiding those which have a significant harmful impact on the environment, e. g. off-road driving that scars the landscape.
  • Avoid establishments with wild animals kept in captivity or ill-treated animals, if there is no recognized conservation work being done that justifies commercial activity with caged wildlife.
  • In countries where activities involving captive wild animals, like walking with lions or elephant back riding, are offered (Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa), advise your guests not to embark on these activities.
  • Marine wildlife can be disturbed just as much as terrestrial wildlife. Support those marine operators who make an effort to keep marine wildlife safe with the MARIWISE certificate.
  • Communicate and explain responsible behavior to your guests. This will enhance their experience and safety. Let them know what you are doing to be a responsible tour operator and why.
  • Never create new tracks when off road driving. Slow your speed to not create corrugation (that could encourages others to leave the track)
  • Do not sleep in riverbeds and close to a spring (keep a distance of app. 2km, as otherwise wildlife will be prevented from using the spring) and always leave a camp cleaner than you found it.
  • Take along your own firewood (resources are scarce and some are poisonous). Use it sparingly.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and rubbish, especially when camping outdoors overnight.
  • Always use already existing bush camps.

  

Every action has a consequence, leave nothing behind except respect and good experiences. If you take care of the country and its people, they’ll also take care of you.

 

Please make these guidelines available to the guests (on your website and while on tour).

 

 

OPERATOR                                                                                                                 SIGNATURE

 

  

 

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 English: Responsible travel guidelines

 Français: Voyage responsable, recommendations

 

Soliciting Feedback

Please note that these guidelines are basic recommendations only and that they are in a development phase. These guidelines are no substitute for assessing each situation individually and making responsible decisions. They are part of a process to promote responsible tourism in Namibia. TOSCO Trust also highly appreciates your input. Please work with us to constantly improve these guidelines.

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