Our Responsible Tourism Policy
The following are Big Planet Adventures' key principles for operating its tours and business in an environmentally and socially responsible way in Cuba.
In essence, we believe that sustainable, sensitive tourism plays an invaluable role in helping to develop communities and preserve the environment. As a responsible tour operator, we vow to work hard to ensure that our operation will benefit the host communities, local and national economies, and will have a minimal impact on the natural environment.
We adhere to the guidelines set out by the UNWTO - World Committee on Tourism Ethics and follow it's Global code of ethics. See the UNWTO brochure on being a 'responsible tourist and traveller'.
Big Planet Adventures is proud to have been short listed for the Responsible Tourism Awards in 2009, and to be included in the official supported for WTM World Responsible Tourism Day 2014.
Our tourism aims include:
- Use locally owned infrastructure for accommodation and transport where possible.
- Spread the financial benefits amongst local people and operators.
- We will create partnerships with smaller local companies where possible, rather than larger international ones.
- Provide employment and leadership opportunities for local people.
- Provide safe trips for our staff and travellers.
- Provide support to organisations and local communities visited by our groups.
- Provide fun enjoyable trips to our travellers.
- Provide opportunities for travellers to interact with local people.
- Limit the negative impacts to daily lifestyles of local people not involved with our groups.
- Limit the physical impact of trips in all destination communities - particularly sensitive natural and cultural environments.
- Actively Respect local customs and culture.
- Actively ban leader and passenger participation in or endorsement of commercial sexual activities or illegal drug use on our trips.
- Actively discourage the participation of our groups in activities which exploit animals - wild or domestic. This includes zoos, aquariums, some breeding farms, & horse and carriage rides. We strongly recommend ethically and ecologically responsible alternatives, such as responsible whale and dolphin watching operations, or horse riding where animals are well cared for. You can read further about why we DO NOT endorse any dolphinariums, swim with Dolphins, or the National Acuario in Havana in Blue Voice.
- Use local operators that adhere to Big Planet Adventures' Responsible Travel Philosophies and provide the best possible service to our travellers and staff.
- Work to prevent the exploitation of children in tourism.
- Support and encourage fair employment practices.
- Give our travellers the best possible value.
- Educate travellers and our operators about how and why we choose to travel this way.
- We donate money to NGO's and projects that are relevant to the areas we travel to (wherever possible).
- We encourage accommodation hosts and our tour leaders to provide large water dispensers to re-fill water bottles. By doing this and avoiding excess packaging we do not contribute to an already chronic waste disposal problem.
We encourage travellers to:
- Use the carbon friendly flight finder
- to sign the friends of World heritage travel pledge
- Visit During a Festival - Scheduling trips in conjunction with vibrant, local celebrations provides a window into the culture and helps support traditional crafts and customs.
- Fly less and stay longer
- Change the way we view Whales and Dolphins to promote responsible Treatment of Cetaceans in the wild and NOT in captivity.
- Reduce the carbon footprint wherever possible in every day life to help prevent the massive effects climate change
- Avoid resorts and support locally owned guest houses and homestays
- Support Community Based Tourism Initiatives. These assist locals to benefit from and control the tourism that occurs in their area
- Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags etc
- go paperless - just like 'Big Planet Adventures'! Use online resources to plan and book your trip, and then, when necessary, print out maps and other materials at home on recycled paper.
- Respect people's privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a photograph.
- not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots, dried shells or coral. The environment is really delicate in this region and the bio-diversity of the region has to be protected at all costs.
- Seek out and support locally owned businesses. Support local businesses during your eco-travels to ensure maximum community and conservation benefit from your spending
- Respect native marine life and marine mammals such as Star fish, turtles, coral & dolphins and the depletion of the lobster from over fishing in the caribbean.
- Carefully choose activities that are animal friendly and do not encourage or support mistreatment of animals.
- Encourage others to become responsible travellers.
- We strongly recommend reading the following links before you travel: