AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators

Explore Sustainability

Explore

Our sustainable Tourism Vision

Responsible tourism is - and always has been - one of the driving principles of Explore. We care deeply about travelling in a way that positively impacts the people and places we visit:
- We ensure people who work for Explore are treated fairly and paid a fair wage.
- We learn about and respect the customs and culture of the country we are visiting so that we do not offend local people.
- We ensure that local people benefit economically by employing them as leaders, guides and drivers - and by eating in local restaurants and using locally owned hotels where possible.
- We minimise our impact on the environment by travelling in small groups, offsetting our carbon emissions, reducing waste and supporting conservation projects.

Sustainable Tourism Projects from Explore

Continuing to increase awareness and opportunities for females in Explore leader training

In 2018 Explore will be expanding upon its 2017 pledge. We feel we can achieve more and want to continue to drive opportunities for female tour leader employment in countries where this isn’t typical.

Drawing on our findings from last year, we want to raise awareness down the supply chain in regards to the lack of female tour leaders and also changing attitudes to females in tourism. We will increase promotion and awareness in materials to customers, local suppliers, local guides and tour leaders.

Our pledge will be going in both our main customer publications and we will also share it on our social media channels and website. In addition, over 600 plus leaders and 140 local suppliers will receive a bi-quarterly newsletter featuring our pledge. The message will also be communicated to Explore leaders, local guides and local suppliers through both in-house and overseas training.
Explore also pledges to train 16 new female leaders in Asia using the knowledge and understanding of the problems women face gained from our pledge in 2017. This year we have allowed more time for planning and sourcing trainee tour leaders, which was one of the challenges in 2017. We already have training planned in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.

We want to lead the way in improving equality and challenging the norm respectfully. We believe education is key in making this happen.

  • In Indonesia we have already doubled the number of female leaders we have for 2018.

Improving employment opportunities for women with Explore Leader training

Here at Explore we know that our leaders have a huge impact on our customers’ experiences and really help to make their trips memorable. We currently have a lot more male leaders than we do female. We asked our local agents and female leaders in Burma and Vietnam what obstacles they face in becoming a leader or employing female leaders.
Explore want to break the stereotype that women cannot become tour leaders, we want to challenge the status quo by empowering and encouraging women in tour leader roles. Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have at least 9 females attend Explore training altogether in India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, to help improve awareness and equality. We will do this by building on our strong relationships with our local agents and engaging with local stakeholders.
Last year Explore trained 282 new leaders and of those only 88 were female. We want women to know that they have equal rights in the tourism industry and especially within Explore; they will have the same pay, the same training and the same support which male leaders receive.
An increase in female trainees will change the way women are perceived by our male leader trainees. This in turn will influence local guides and drivers to show more equality. Our customers will be able to witness and benefit from this positive shift when they travel with us on these tours in the future. They will be proud to travel with tour operator who is helping to promote equal opportunity.

  • Last year Explore trained 282 new leaders and of those only 88 were female.
  • Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have at least 9 females attend Explore training altogether in India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Toilet Twinning

Toilet Twinning are a UK based charity with one commendable goal – to flush away poverty!

  • Engage with local communities to teach them about hygiene.
  • Provide clean water and teach skills for building latrines.