responsible travel

We have been focused on responsible tourism from the very beginning here at Activities Abroad. This policy puts down in writing exactly what we have been doing for years.

In 2008 we were delighted to receive the Silver Award for Most Environmentally Responsible Small Tour Operator at the British Travel Awards - a standard we strive to maintain.

 


Since 1997 the Eco Centro Danaus has been protecting a forest area of 3 hectares and working with organisations concerned with the management and protection of natural resources in Costa Rica.

The area concerned was formerly used as pasture and agricultural land. Natural regeneration processes have created a secondary tropical rainforest where conservationists study and protect the ecosystems and promote responsible use of these natural resources.

The centre provides information and training services in biodiversity, as well as producing and exhibiting many species of flora and fauna. In conjunction with various other organisations, they produce species for reforestation projects and work to preserve endangered species.

Also within the Eco Centro Danaus, OJOCHE, a local Conservation Association, has established a nursery of native trees, helping to preserve those species that are in greatest danger of extinction.

The site also has an education centre, where lessons in environmental education are given to local students, tourists and other organised groups. Hence, the conservation message is spread far and wide.

On day 8 of our holiday in Costa Rica we visit the Eco Centre to get our hands a bit mucky. We will all have marvelled at the Costa Rican rainforest before we arrive and now it is our chance to help put something back.

We will spend time planting trees and working with the local people in order to help preserve the rainforest and raise the awareness of its destruction.

Here at Activities Abroad we are committed to helping ensure that future generations of active families can still explore this magnificent ecosysytem and that it will be sustained for the local people and their natural environment.

If you would like further information about Eco Centro Danaus please visit: www.ecocentrodanaus.com

www.zulufadder.no

Responsible Travel is not solely about the environment, it is also about the social and economic impact of your visit. Our South African programme includes Zulu Sponsor, a project which aims to help children in Zululand. Many of these children are orphans having lost their parents to AIDS. They do not have money for food or school fees which means no education and very little hope. We are delighted to be sponsoring two children and promoting Zulu Sponsor because we know the people running the project deserve our help.

The Project

"Zulufadder" is an organisation established by Mari Maurstad (a Norwegian actress and author) and Ragnhild (Rung) Button (a Norwegian-born Tour Operator and guide, living in Durban, South Africa). The word "Zulufadder" is Norwegian, meaning "Zulu Godparent" or "Zulu Sponsor".

The aim of the project is to help as many children as possible in Eshowe, a district in Zululand. Many of the children are orphans; in most cases AIDS claimed their parents. It is not uncommon to find as many as 15 children living together with their grandmother or aunt in the same hut. They do not have enough money for food or school fees, which means no education.

We are involved, Why not join us?

With both the project's originators being Norwegian it is little surprise that Zulu Sponsor already has many benefactors in Norway. We hope that we can generate a similar support from our clients in the UK and further afield. Each sponsor pays the equivalent of US$30 (approximately £15) per month. It's not a lot and for this, each child receives school fees, a food parcel each month, as well as help with other needs such as a blanket, clothes, medicines if they are ill, etc.

Each sponsor receives a profile of "their" child with photo, brief history and also information of the child's hopes and dreams for the future.

Our Children

As well as helping to promote Zulu Sponsor here in the UK, we are also delighted to have adopted two of the children both of whom are pictured above. We hope to support them for a long time to come and will follow their progress on our website over the years.

Who knows, maybe one day they will become guides for Activities Abroad in KwaZulu-Natal.

NHLAHLENHLE NGCOBOIS - "GOOD LUCK"

Nhlahlenhle Ngcobois is impossible to pronounce but means "good luck".

"I was born on 4 August 2001. In my family we are five people: me, grandmother, one brother, one sister and my aunt. My parents have passed away. We get foster care grant and grandmother gets old age pension. My grandmother also have responsibility for many other children, so we do not have enough money for buying food and clothes for everybody. It is hard to feed so many kids only from her pension.

"When I grow up I would like to become a teacher. My biggest wish right now is to get new shoes. We need blankets and clothes to stay warm."

SAMKELO MTHEMBU - "THANK YOU"

Our second little girl is Samkelo Mthembu. Her Zulu name Samkelo means "thank you".

"I was born on 23 June 2000. Both my parents have passed away. I am living with my grandmother and four cousins. My uncle used to own a little store, and my family had an income from that. He passed away in June 2006 and since that it has been hard to get enough money to buy food and clothes for the whole family. Our only income now is the child support grant.

"When I grow up I would like to become a nurse. I am sleeping on the floor on a Zulu mat. We don't have water at home and I have to carry big buckets of water on my head from the nearest tap."

Tom Wright has travelled on two of our holidays so when he asked us to support his Raleigh International trip to Costa Rica we were more than happy to contribute.

We fully support youngsters who take the initiative to work on such humanitarian and ecological projects and look forward to seeing the contribution Tom's efforts will have in Costa Rica.

Activities Abroad presented Tom with a cheque for £250 to support his trip.

"Thank you for supporting my fundraising for my trip to Costa Rica, and for your generous donation. Your generosity and support is very much appreciated.

I am setting off on 29th January and will be away until Easter. I am excited about the opportunity to see another culture in this way, and it is good to know that I will be able to make a positive contribution while I am there. This year, the Raleigh volunteers will be building pre-school classrooms in Nicaragua, building a village water supply and irrigation system in Costa Rica, and assisting with rainforest research and Ranger activities to preserve the precious ecosystems in Costa Rica's national parks.

This should be a fantastic experience, and I am really grateful to you for boosting my fundraising."

The Activities Abroad team wish Tom all the best and hope his experience is enjoyable and rewarding.


award winning tour operator

The British Travel Awards ceremony (the industry's Oscars) took place on 06 November 2008 and we were delighted to receive the Silver Award for Most Environmentally Responsible Small Tour Operator.

This award is judged by an independent panel of experts so it's great to see that our hard work is being recognized.
It also means we can use phrases like "Award Winning Tour Operator" and "Environmentally Responsible Tour Operator" and this pleases our marketing team immensely.

So, if you fancy a holiday with an award winning, environmentally responsible tour operator (told you our marketing department were pleased about this) then you've come to the right place.