Responsible tourism & cruising
Small ship cruising - Good or bad for the world?
By the very nature of the small ships that we work with, they can access many areas that larger or less specialist ships cannot get to. This saddles us with an extra responsibility to protect many of these less visited areas, but also with opportunities to provide many smaller communities with some income, communities that often receive very few, if any benefits from other tourism. It also provides us with a fantastic opportunity to monitor what is happening in many of the fragile environments that we do visit.
Even better - Sail Power
Some of our ships are powered by sail for much of their cruising time. This is obviously a very 'green' way to travel. Read more about cruises on sailships.
Why wildlife watching is good for the world. (Taken from the UNEP report on 'Wildlife watching and tourism 2006').
'It is a sign of the important place wildlife holds for people, that so many want to watch animals in their natural habitats, and that the popularity of wildlife watching tourism continues to grow.
As well as providing enjoyment for millions of people, wildlife watching tourism is a significant source of income and employment for a growing number of communities, particularly in developing countries, and underlines the value of conservation. It also can help raise awareness of a whole range of pressing environmental issues that face us, for the survival of wildlife in its habitats is at risk from climate change, pollution and land conversion, just as we are.
Tourism is one of the areas where the links between people, the global economy, and the environment are clearly visible. The international tourist sees first hand the environmental, social and economic conditions of other countries and cultures. At its best, tourism can be a powerful way to promote understanding between people and cultures. At its worst, tourism can result in the exploitation of people, social disharmony, and environmental degradation.'
Read more about our wildlife cruises.
The economic benefits of wildlife tourism
The Small Cruise Ship Collection Responsible Travel Policy
All travel and holidays can have a detrimental effect on the environment and communities you visit, directly and indirectly, yet they can also be highly beneficial. Our aim is to use tourism as a force for good by maximising the positive and minimising the negative impacts of the cruises we are associated with.
We only work with ships that carry a maximum of 8-264 passengers. This has several advantages; visiting a much wider range of ports, harbours and coastlines than larger ships brings economic benefits to small communities all over the world. Smaller ships are more likely to respond to local wildlife and environmental concerns and are also much more likely to encounter wildlife, a great benefit for our travellers. A number of our cruises also offer onboard lectures detailing responsible tourism practices for the destinations visited.
We aim to:
- Provide an economic benefit to the communities we visit by employing local people, buying goods from local communities and paying entrance fees to National Parks and museums.
- Monitor the environments of the areas we visit, and report to relevant authorities any illegal or detrimental activities we witness.
- Make sure our staff and clients are aware of any issues in the areas we visit and provide advice on how to behave appropriately
- Educate our clients on the history, culture and wildlife of the areas we visit. Many of our cruises include lectures and talks from experts on the regions, and are designed to improve understanding and awareness on environmental and social issues and opportunities in these regions
- Make sure that the ships we work with exceed the minimum regulatory requirements in the areas that they operate.
Our office policies
Although we have a very small office we aim to minimise the resources we use.
- Heating and lights are used very sparingly We maintain a nearly paper free office.
- We email our newsletters to our clients and also confirmation documents that our clients can read on their mobile devices rather than printing.
- We walk, cycle or lift share when travelling into work whenever possible.
- We recycle all recyclable materials
- All of our office furniture is bought second hand from a local charitable foundation.
We share facilities with other neighbouring offices - EG 1 fridge between several companies, thus reducing resources required.
- We do not hand out hundreds of brochures at travel shows, and we have an online version of our brochure available on our website, thus reducing excessive brochure printing.
- We offer several large sailing ships and we have created a section on the website and in the brochure specifically promoting our environmentally friendly cruises.
- We have a section in our brochure and on our website dedicated to ‘no-fly’ cruises. Economic
- Our small ships sail to many areas that larger ships cannot reach, and to some communities that are only accessible by small ship, thus spreading the economic benefits into communities that otherwise see little, or no, other tourism.
- We often use guides and experts from local communities, and in some cases, such as Fiji, our entire ships crew is recruited from the local community.
- In some areas we visit, the ships we use are the only form of transport that the communities have to link them to the outside world, and our paying passengers help subsidise these services for the local communities
- Most of the ships we work with allow passengers to donate money to help local projects through donations or the purchase of locally produced goods. In some areas these donations are instrumental in setting up and supporting vital campaigns, such as the ‘saving the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper’ on our Russian Far East Cruises.
- All of our passengers are provided with detailed pre-departure information for each cruise - This does a lot more than providing details of when and where they need to go - It provides information on social and environmental conditions in the area they will visit, and guidelines on what to take (or not) and how to behave (or not).
- We ask our passengers to report back to us on their cruise, providing details of the briefings they were given on board, how successful and responsible their shore visits were and how well conducted any wildlife watching experiences were conducted. We follow up on any negative comments.
The Small Cruise Ship Company code of conduct
Many of our cruises visit sensitive and rarely visited regions of the world, and we ask that all our clients remember a few simple points that will help to maintain and improve these places.
We ask that you:
- Learn to speak a few simple phrases of any languages of your host communities – it will enhance your visit no end!
- Learn a little about the culture of the communities you will visit
- Remember that resources may be very limited in some communities, so please be aware of using scarce local resources
- Remember that flying and cruising are carbon intensive ways to travel - If you would like to offset your carbon usage, there are many companies that will offer to plant a few trees on your behalf. Some of these companies are good, but some are just money making enterprises and only a small percentage of your money actually goes to planting trees - We recommend The Woodland Trust in the UK. Another way to balance your carbon is to help reduce deforestation by donating to charities such as Rainforest Concern.
- Abide by any instructions from your cruise manager or ship’s crew
- Do not walk on any sensitive plants, corals or other features never throw anything overboard or onto the ground or ice anywhere in the world
- Respect all wildlife and maintain at least 5 metres from all wildlife, and 15 metres from particularly sensitive or large animals – Your guide will give you advice
- Do not feed any wildlife
- Refrain from smoking in any sensitive region
- Do not take or buy any form of wildlife souvenir, including shells, coral, skins, bones or anything that was once alive or attached to a living thing
- Don’t give sweets or presents to communities we visit (unless agreed with and discussed with us beforehand) - It is much better to spend a little money in the community you are visiting
- Do not be obtrusive with your camera – few people anywhere like having a camera stuck in their face
- Do not participate in sex-tourism
- Do not buy or use illegal or illicit drugs