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The Adventure Connection Launches New ‘Sustainable Fam Trip Initiative’

Updated: Mar 5

Sustainability is an ever-growing hot topic in travel and something that has always been vital to The Adventure Connection. This is why we are very excited to announce the launch of our new Sustainable Fam Trip Initiative - as far as we’re aware, this is the first of its kind in the industry.

 

The goal of this new initiative is to be as transparent as possible about the impact of our Fam Trips on the environment, culture, and local economy of the destinations visited. Through the identification of positive sustainable elements of each trip and detailed calculations of the carbon emissions, including international flights, results on the Fam Trip are collated into a unique Impact Report, to be published when promoting the trip to the trade.

 

To do this, The Adventure Connection partnered with specialist carbon consultancy, Ecollective, to measure the carbon impact of each trip and sustainable tourism consultancy, Just Tourism, to help measure and educate about the cultural, economic and conservation impacts. This provides a 360-degree view of sustainability on each Fam Trip.



We know our DMC clients are some of the best in responsible tourism, so we’re aiming to identify where tourism is a force for good and highlight these good practices on our Fam Trips. We are making this a more positive experience for the DMC by using a discovery approach rather than an audit, exploring what they are already doing rather than expecting them to agree to specific standards.

 

Measuring a baseline for cultural, economic and environmental impacts means that we can also suggest and implement small changes within the trip or when planning future Fam Trips. 

 

The Adventure Connection has published Impact Reports on the first three Fam Trips of 2024, with several more to come throughout the year:

 

·   Botswana with Bush Ways

·   Vietnam with Footprint Tours

·   Ghana with Ashanti tours



Why do we measure these specific impact areas?


Cultural Impacts 

Supporting community tourism is important to The Adventure Connection to ensure the ripple effect of tourism is felt in the host community. When done well, community tourism supports local entrepreneurs and their families and funds community initiatives.



All of our Fam Trips will include community tourism and we ask our DMCs who benefits, how many people are involved and how tourism numbers are managed to ensure welcoming tourists remains a positive experience for the hosts.

Community tourism goes beyond an experience that can be visited, so we are also looking to understand how many local businesses, such as food producers, local artisans, and hotel suppliers are engaged in the supply chain.


Economic Impacts

Tourism leakage is one of the most significant issues in the industry according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association and only 14% of mass tourism revenue stays in the country. The good news is that adventure tourism rises to 65% of the revenue.



We support small, medium and micro tourism businesses through our work with our DMC clients. We want our Fam Trips to highlight the chain reaction of how the Tour Operators' spend can positively impact the local economy and the livelihood of the host destination.

When we design our itineraries, we prioritise local accommodation and ask about hotels' supply chain and sustainability policies. We know how many local guides are used on a trip and if our DMC directly or indirectly employs them.

We understand how much business our DMCs get from the UK market, it is our job to help them grow this sustainably.


Environmental Impacts

The natural environment is often the USP for visiting a destination, so we must ensure that it is protected for all to enjoy - now and for generations to come. Treating the environment responsibly goes beyond measuring carbon emissions and looks at waste management, protecting nature and biodiversity and supporting conservation.


Plastic waste (or single-use items in general) continues to be an issue, so we encourage DMCs to consider how they can reduce this. Tour Operators attending our Fam Trips receive a Water-to-Go bottle on our trips - or they bring their own! When providing picnics, we ask the DMC to consider how these are stored. We ask if hotels have a waste management policy and how they protect their close environment.



Wildlife and biodiversity can be protected through tourism, both of which are often the pull factors of the destination. So, we design our itineraries to show a destination's highlights but also ensure some choice editing to avoid hotspots and areas prone to over-tourism, showcasing lesser-known areas. We ask our DMCs how this is managed if there is an issue in their country.

Where our DMCs support conservation efforts, we ensure these are visited or discussed on the trip and, if there is a project that we can get involved in, we do!



We hope that by promoting how sustainability can be embedded into product planning and operating a tour, we will inspire operators and DMCs to turn the magnifying glass inward on their own practices while also sharing the good work being carried out by our clients to protect their local areas.

You can find out more about our Fam Trips here, https://www.theadventureconnection.com/fam-trips or please do get in contact at: info@theadventureconnection.com

To find out how to measure your carbon emissions, please contact Ecollective at: info@ecollectivecarbon.com

To learn more about sustainable tourism planning, contact Just Tourism at: emilly@justtourism.co.uk


To find out more about Water-to-Go, please contact Dave Shanks at: D.S@watertogo.international





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