Ecotourism and Responsible Travel

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Ecotourism and Responsible Travel

As a company that subscribes to the ecotourism and responsible travel principles we take a number of steps to reduce the effect on the environment of our company and our trips. We also strive to make sure that we are sensitive to the communities and countries that we work with making sure that proceeds of our tours are spent in the locally in the country of destination. To do this great care is taken in the choices of where our guests stay, the transportation that they use, and any other companies or individuals that we work with.

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is the combination of a number of facets of tourism that include, nature tourism, responsible travel, ethical travel, cultural tourism and conservation. The defining principles of this are that the locals need to be able to profit from tourism while maintaining their culture, and environmental resources.

Historically tourism in Africa has been focused on Safaris which have been run by foreign companies, led by foreign guides and lodged in foreign establishments. It is not hard to see how the local people did not have any benefit from this (and still in some cases don’t with a number of the Safari companies of East Africa). Even in some case the locals resented tourism, and conservation areas because of this which undermined the conservation. It is easily argued as far as Green Bug Adventures is concerned that Africa’s people and culture is the continents greatest resource, and the abundance of wild life and natural beauty are secondary to this. That is why we feel it is very important to work with the local companies and indigenous projects and cultures as much as possible. 

Green Bug Adventures is built from the bottom up with Ecotourism as the primary focus. We put a lot of work and focus into choosing the best lodging providers, guides/tour operators, and destinations that fit into our standards of Ecotourism. To learn more about how these choices are made you can read about that in each subsequent section below and in even more detail with the links provided. Not only do we have high expectations for the individuals and companies that we work with but for ourselves as well. We use 100% recycled paper for any of our printed promotional items like catalogs and brochures. We encourage our customers to use our electronic versions of catalogs, brochures and pre and post departure information to save on paper and the resources that go into recycling. We provide orientation material on how you can take the extra steps to make your vacation friendly to the environment and the country that you will be visiting. These include ways to save water, introduction to the culture and traditions, and how to leave nothing but foot prints, take only amazing photographs, and responsibly produced local, sustainable souvenirs. But don’t worry you will not be overwhelmed by an ideological crusade while on your vacation, providing you with unforgettable experiences of a lifetime is our mission.

Transportation:

Sadly we are still in an era of fosil fuel consumption for moving around, particularly here in Africa where even less alternatives are viable or cost effective like is happening in the west.  Little can be done in this regard without huge capital outlay which is beyond the reach of Green Bug Adventures or the operators that we work with at this time.

So if you are looking at using private transporation on your adventure you will still be in a petrol or diesel driven vehicle.  But drivers are trained and cognisant not to leave the vehicles running when not needed, drive in ways the reduces consumption, and have proper maintance.

We would be happy to work with you to plan your trip safely using public transportation.  We can also help you calculate and purchase carbon credits to offset your trip if you are intersted.

Lodging:

On each trip there are a number of different choices for what kind of lodging is available and what kind you would like to utilize on your adventure.

Eco-lodges, Hotels, and Guest Houses:
Even though we provide a number of hotels you can book with on our webiste here we recognize not all of them fit into the mission above.  In areas like Accra it is very difficult to find hotels that match the level of enviormentally and social friendliness as what we can find in communities and design built Eco-lodges.  We are still in an enviorment where the most basic funtions of a hotel as a hospitality service are not fully adhered to much less the higher order standards like Ecotourism.  The hotels we have listed on the website here are hand picked from hotels that our parent company works with in marketing they were choosen more for the level of service, comfort and hospitality than for their Ecotourism principles.  When we are planning your trip we will get an idea from you what your values are with this and plan the accommodations accordingly outside of Accra to get the right mix of hospitality and repsonsiblity for what you are looking for.  In this case we will probably be using a number of lodging providers that are not listed on our Hotels page as they do not provide direct booking which is the convience we are offering on our hotels page.

Unfortunately in some areas the importance of Ecotourism and international tourism standards has not been adopted by locally owned establishments. In some of these cases lodging will be provided by family owned and operated establishments that are owned by expats that live within the country and spend most of their proceeds in their community and give back to the community in other many ways. Interpretation will be provided to local establishments in the area on how these standards can be met in the hope that more and more locals can see the value in such standards.

Home stays:

Green Bug Adventures offers the opportunity to stay with families at many destinations particularly rural areas. These home stays are arranged and provided by community based tourism operations that we work with. This is a wonderful way to make one on one connection with people and make lasting friendships. The home stays are with middle class families and the fees associated with the stay will go to paying for the food and also reinvestment into the community. Home stays are usually an option as an alternative to a formal lodging establishment, so this is an optional choice which can be made on the form for the adventure you decide on.

Camping, Tree Platforms, and sleeping outside:
In some areas there are options for camping, or sleeping on a tree platform in the jungle, or on the roof of a building under the stars of the savannah, or even in a Hippo hide for overnight wildlife viewing. All of these choices are alternatives to other lodging options, so if this is not of interest to you, we can still arrange a bed in one of the lodging providers that we work closely with. You will be presented with these options when customizing your adventure.