Projects born for tourism. More than a Southern Cone experience
In their blog they discuss about carbon footprint, going local, volunteering, photo contests, reducing poverty and seeing whales.
Their Responsible Tourism Policy can give more than a hint to those willing to learn how to approach the subject.
And this is how they design their tours:
<< We promote typical Chilean handicrafts through our tours, taking our travelers to places with shops offering high-quality authentic products. In some of our tours we include visits to the stores owned by the Artisans of Chile Foundation, which is run by the First Lady and showcases products from small artisans throughout the country.
We seek to build links with locally based projects that aim to support and produce a positive impact on local communities.
Through our trips to the countryside, we are contributing to local economies by helping small business owners sustain jobs and avoid moving to urban areas. We are working with them to show the value of countryside lifestyle and products, such as handicrafts and typical foods. Our excursion to the Curacaví Valley is the highlight in that sense. Most tour operators just pass by the valley on their way to the Viña del Mar resort city and Valparaíso, Chile's main port. Few of them stop in Curacaví, which is located half-way between Santiago and these destinations. If they do, it's only at a pastry shop along the highway. Our excursion goes into the Curacaví town, however, where travelers can see life in the countryside and learn how some of Chile's best typical foods are produced at small-scale factories owned by local community members. These people have created a tourism route to attract visitors to the area, but so far we are the only tour operators who are actively working with them and supporting their project.
One of our principles is fair trade. We advise our clients about local bargaining customs and give guidelines to reasonable prices.
We attempt to provide an insight and understanding of the host culture and community to our clients so that they can gain more from visiting them. In addition to the pre-trip information we provide about the destination, our guides are always ready to provide in-depth explanations about the people our travelers interact with and to translate for them any questions they may have for their hosts.
We have three permanent staff members and employ 10 bilingual local guides that are recent college graduates, offering them an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience for their career. They undergo periodic training on different topics, including the destination's history, current events, culture and traditions and the importance of sustainability.
We also work closely with our providers. Many of them own small businesses in the countryside and do not have much experience promoting themselves to international markets. We offer them the benefit of showcasing their high-quality services and giving them input on how to improve their offer. In many cases, we spend time figuring out with them what works best in terms of responsible tourism and provide advice on commercial, marketing and sustainability topics.
We operate our trips in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges. Through our excursions, you get to interact with locals and spend enough time with them to learn about their way of life, customs, traditions and interests.
We encourage travelers to respect the local culture and try to learn as much as they can from the people they interact with.