At Urban Adventures, ‘responsible tourism’ isn’t just a marketing catch phrase or box we tick. It’s at the heart of everything we do, from how we design our tours, to who we employ, to where we grow our business.
OUR MISSION: CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE SEE THE WORLD
Every tour has a story to tell. Not just the story of the city, but the story of the people who call it home. That’s why, on our tours, you won’t just see the sites from behind a bus window. We’re about stepping into the community, and understanding how we, as guests, can better connect with a place and its people. We’re about tasting, touching and smelling the city, about hearing the tales straight from the people who live there. And about seeing the world in a whole new way.
Our responsible tourism mandate is also what guides our newest line-up of tours: the “In Focus” series. This collection of tours is run in conjunction with local NGOs, non-profits and accelerators around the globe. We’ve worked with these groups on the ground to develop experiences that show travellers what their projects are about and how they’re giving back to the community. More about In Focus Program.
YOUR MONEY STAYS LOCALLY
Travelling with us means you help local economies blossom. How? On our tours you’ll go to local restaurants, visit local shops and explore the city with local guides. Simply by doing this, you’re helping to bring more employment and business opportunities to locals in every community we visit.
Local sourcing is a principle across all our tour. We use locally owned infrastructure and work with locally owned businesses to make sure the money you spend on travel is injected back into the local economy, and that profits from tourism go into local hands.
For example, our food tours are designed to promote local dishes and local ingredients, with market-to-table experiences, cooking workshops and discussions about food and culture. We will also take you to local markets, and to meet farmers and shop owners.
Our Made In tours take guests to shop for local handicrafts, boutique clothing brands and handmade organic products, all produced by local artisans. As such, we help you to shop in a sustainable way and buy amazing souvenirs while also supporting local entrepreneurs.
We select our local partners carefully and all our tours need to meet sustainability criteria.
WE CARE ABOUT PEOPLE & CULTURES
Making sure you have the Best.Day.Ever. is our highest priority. However, we would never compromise the needs of local communities to meet the needs of international visitors. We always respect local customs and cultures.
We limit our impact on the daily lifestyles of local people. We don’t want to be disruptive, and are about fitting in rather than pushing people out.
We have a strict policy against visiting schools, orphanages and other organisations that care for children. (Check out our Child Welfare Policy for more information.)
We actively ban guide and passenger participation in or endorsement of commercial sexual activities or illegal drug use on Urban Adventure trips, and we avoid patronage of bars and other establishments where prostitution is promoted.
We actively support and and encourage fair employment practices. This means fair hours of work, favourable safe work conditions and equal pay for equal work for our staff and guides.
As visitors to a country, we want to be travelling in a way that demonstrates our gratitude, respect and interest to learn about and practise local customs and cultural practices. That’s why you’ll be informed about and asked to comply with appropriate dress and behaviours in public — particularly in religious and culturally sensitive sites.
We not only aim to show you local culture but to let you experience it first-hand. All our tours provide opportunities for you to interact with local people. Expect that you’ll be learning and practising some of the local language and maybe even entering a local home.
We are proud to take the less-travelled routes. When we visit major tourist sites, we offer a twist, so that you can have a more authentic experience of these sites, and and locals in less-travelled communities can benefit from the tourism economy.
“Locals know” is our brand promise. We don’t just show you the cultural and natural heritage in our destinations, but also help you to get to know the destination from a local perspective.
WE CARE ABOUT PLACES
All our tours are designed to minimise negative impacts on the natural environment. That’s why our group tours are run with a maximum of 12 participants and most of them are walking tours. If transport is needed, we primarily use public transit and use high-efficiency vehicles for areas where no public transport is available.
We don’t accept ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’ as an excuse for cruelty and we actively discourage participation in activities that exploit animals. We do not offer tours that include interactions with animals, and we follow strict guidelines for wildlife-watching. (Check out our Animal Welfare Policy for more information.)
If we enter nature-protected areas, we follow their regulations. We carry out all non biodegradable waste, so as to not leave any trace. If we see trash on the way, we might ask you to help us collect it and take away. We work with knowledgeable guides who will explain to you everything you want to know about the surrounding nature, and will provide advice on how to minimise your footprint on the places we visit.
On our tours, you won’t be able to purchase any products made from endangered flora and fauna, and you’ll be discouraged to do so by your guide if they’re offered for sale in the markets.
We limit usage of single-use plastic and will inform you about recycling policies and encourage you to use reusable water bottles and to say no to straws.
If you’re into green and sustainable cities initiatives, ask your guide and they’ll tell share some of the exciting local projects around this topic.
WE GIVE BACK
Responsible tourism principles lie at the core of everything we do, from the way we employ people to how we run our tours. But we also go a step further and support local organisations and projects.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit entity of the Intrepid Group and supports a range of activities, including: health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development, environmental and wildlife protection. The Intrepid Foundation empowers travellers to positively impact communities, and will double travellers’ donations to local projects. Not only you can support one of the local projects but also create your own fundraising campaign to support initiatives of your choice. Visit The Intrepid Foundation’s website to learn more and donate.
Urban Adventures has a staff volunteering program, and every employee has 20 hours to help an organisation of their choice. If you’d like one of Urban Adventures’ team members to help solve your challenges, send an email explaining your problem and why we should help your organisation to our Responsible Business Manager at [email protected].
Support for special projects
In addition to our ongoing programs, we also get involved ad hoc into projects and events that we believe in. We support projects that promote responsible tourism, sustainable development, green cities and sustainable living. We’re particularly interested in supporting young professionals and social entrepreneurs. We are very open to donating our knowledge, skills and time to support help your project thrive! If you’d like Urban Adventures to support your initiative or event, get in touch with our Responsible Business Manager at [email protected].