The values of responsible travel are at the heart of every Tell Tale Travel holiday. By designing each itinerary to work in harmony with the daily lives of local people, we aim to offer one of the most responsible and enjoyable forms of tourism available with some of the most authentic and valuable experiences you can have as part of your holiday.
Our holidays are founded on the following beliefs:
- The best way to get to know a country is through its people.
- The responsible sourcing of accommodation and activities from local communities means that your visit provides our hosts with additional income without distracting them from their daily lives and main sources of revenue.
- Wherever possible we avoid using tour groups and guides in order for our hosts and our guests to meet on an equal social footing and to improve the chance for them to form lasting relationships.
- We actively seek out opportunities for you to get involved in aspects of everyday life, such as visiting markets and participating in festivals, which reinforce the importance of local culture thereby helping to conserve it.
Despite the many advantages of working this way, there are of course risks involved in giving you access to local communities without depending on tour guides. In order to minimise these risks we have adopted the following principles:
- We work with hosts in local communities who are used to dealing with foreigners directly, who have above average communication skills and who can offer accommodation above an acceptable level of comfort to avoid unnecessary culture shocks.
- Our hosts and local consultants are fully involved in the creation and delivery of our holiday itineraries to ensure that we do not interfere in the running of the local community and that any issues are dealt with as they arise.
- We work with small groups of independent travellers to avoid the typical 'them and us' attitudes of group tours and provide comprehensive cultural guidelines to highlight potential issues to you before you travel.
As we mainly work with independent travellers, we cannot be around to enforce our environmental policy during their holiday. However, we accept our responsibility to promote the respectful use of the environment to all our guests and work with our hosts to iron out environmental issues. We have made the following commitments to promoting environmental responsibility on our holidays:
- Our pre-travel guidelines highlight key environmental concerns such as water conservation.
- Our hosts will normally provide guests with food that is locally grown or caught.
- We promote visits to recognised nature conservation projects including an elephant sanctuary and a hydro-powered, eco-village that protects a rare species of tree (Aquilaria Crassna).
- We encourage our guests to use public transport, particularly trains for longer distances, and provide opportunities to explore local areas by bicycle.
By directly running our own local operations, we are able to ensure that the majority of our service is provided according to our publicly stated responsible travel policy. Where we have to rely on external suppliers, we enforce strict sourcing guidelines to ensure that we pay a fair rate to local suppliers and that they pay their staff fairly in turn. Where possible we employ local staff who provide us with the intimate, first-hand knowledge we need to administer local bookings and maintain good relationships with our many suppliers. All staff are retained under UK law and provided with the requisite opportunities and resources for training and development.
As an organisation our chosen charity is Medecins Sans Frontieres to whom we send donations when the opportunity arises. We are currently exploring a more formal set up in Thailand through which we can provide training and development to benefit our hosts and their communities.