The future is green

Updated: 14th January 2019

Elephants at Udawalawe

Responsible Travel and Animal Welfare

Elephant Rides and Orphanage Visits

During 2016 we reconsidered our responsible travel charter and the welfare of elephants in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. For many years we have supported local businesses that rely on elephants held in captivity to generate income. Although we have always engaged with locally accredited operators bound to particular standards of animal welfare, after feedback from our customers we made the decision to remove elephant rides and visits to elephant orphanages from all of our relevant destinations and tours effective 1st October 2016.

We were a significant supplier of business to these areas and strongly believed that in order to minimize any unnecessary suffering that these elephants may experience due to a lack of income for the businesses that own them, a gradual and sustainable withdrawal was required. As larger tour operators pulled out of these practices overnight, we saw many elephants go hungry as their owners no longer made enough money to feed them and did not have the time to invest in other sources of income.

Over the course of several months we worked closely with the local communities we support to explore new income revenues and ensure these animals were well-looked after. The elephant rides and camp visits originally included on our tours have been replaced with free time and other activities.

Horse and Carriage Rides at Edfu Temple

For many years, we have included Edfu Temple as a sightseeing stop on most of our Egypt tours. It is possible to arrive at the temple by vehicle or, if travelling by Nile Cruise, by taking a short transfer from the dock to the temple. However, following a change in policy by the Aswan Governorate, the only mode of transport now allowed for those travelling by Nile Cruise and arriving at Edfu is to use locally managed horse and carriages for transferring to the temple.

The unhealthy and sad state of many of the horses involved in this operation has raised a number of animal welfare concerns and, as advocates for responsible travel, we do not want to promote any activities where animals are subject to mistreatment. Consequently, from 1st December 2018, we decided to no longer include sightseeing at Edfu Temple for those travelling aboard a Nile Cruiser with us.

If arriving to Edfu Temple by road, visitors are not required to use horse and carriages and so Edfu Temple can be included as a sightseeing stop on any tailor-made itinerary.

Camel caravan in Morocco

Camel Trekking in Morocco

Camel trekking is, for many people, a bucket list item when visiting Morocco and we offer this experience in the Sahara Desert and Erg Chebbi sand dunes. However, as advocates for responsible travel, the welfare of these camels is of great importance to us.

For those travelling on our Signature Morocco tours or a tailor-made holiday, we use a local supplier who meets our standards of animal welfare. The camels only carry our travellers a short distance to our desert camp and are fed and watered at each end. They also have comfortable padding or a thick rug beneath their saddle bags.

On our longer trekking adventures, the camels aren’t ridden and only allowed to carry picnic food, water and their own fodder, with the weight monitored and balanced evenly across their saddlebags. The main luggage and tents are then transported by a 4x4 vehicle to the overnight campsites. One additional camel without any baggage accompanies the trek to be ridden if needed or to swap the bags between animals.

The Rabat Government also ensures that these camels are checked at regular intervals by a vet. As each camel is generally the sole livelihood of its owner, their health and wellbeing is of their highest interest and they are well looked after.

A sustainable approach to travel

Supporting local communities

Tourism is one of the most important and largest industries in the global economy and employs more people worldwide than any other. For those of us privileged enough to travel, we take on a responsibility to aid people relying on tourism for their daily needs and to treat their home and country with respect. We believe travel should be a rewarding experience for you, as well as for the people we meet in the countries we visit and that preserving the natural state and beauty of the areas we pass through is essential.

We care about the countries we visit and give back to their communities with donations to local schools and charities, employing only local guides, dining in local eateries and staying in locally owned hotels wherever possible. When travelling with us, on average over 70% (*)of your holiday funds remain within the local economies and we are proud to say that this approach has led to very successful and close partnerships around the world.

(*) We based this figure on the total cost of your holiday excluding international flights. We include the price of your tour, any local payment element, entrance fees, tipping kitties and an approximate daily spending budget for food. For the most part, on our tours, whatever you spend in the country you visit goes back directly to the local communities.

Change-for-Children

Change for Children

A few Rupees from everyone on a group tour adds up. And that's why On The Go provide passengers with an envelope to donate their unwanted local currency to our Change for Children initiative in India. This money is put to good use, purchasing clothes, educational supplies and other much needed items for underprivileged children.

One project the funds have contributed towards is building a second toilet block in the Abhaneri Primary School for the girl students. Previously the one toilet block was used by both the boy and girl students and this new separate toilet will have a positive impact on the children’s educational experience. Following the country’s new approach towards Clean India, we are incredibly proud to be part of this project.

Tree planting initiative in Cambodia - On The Go Tours

Tree Planting Initiative in Cambodia

In Cambodia we run a tree planting initiative at the village of Preak Dak, located 8km from Siem Reap. On our tours to Cambodia, travellers will spend time at this village planting mango and jack fruit trees with saplings purchased from local growers.

The majority of villagers here are on low incomes and by providing them with trees that bear fruit, they are able to feed their families and make an income by selling the fruit. It's also a way of offsetting carbon emissions - a win all round. And it means our travellers get to experience rural life in Cambodia and participate in a local community project.

We're hoping to plant some 3,000 trees and cover an area of 15-20 hectares, providing the village of 200 with a sustainable source of income.

CWWGC

Commonwealth War Graves

Over 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces died during the First and Second World War. Today, the tireless effort of marking and maintaining graves and building memorials dedicated to those whose lives were lost is carried out by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

In recognition of the effort they have undertaken at memorials as far as Vladivostok in Russia, Gallipoli in Turkey and El Alamein in Egypt, On The Go is proud to make donations to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. For further information visit their website at: www.cwgc.org.

TOFT

Travel Operators for Tigers

On The Go Tours are members of Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) pledging a contribution for each of our clients that travel on a wildlife tour in India with us. The Travel Operators for Tigers campaign is aimed at those within the nature travel industry and all visitors to India’s wildlife parks, advocating and supporting a more responsible use of national parks and tiger reserves, in order to save the forests of India and its tiger population.

TOFTigers Awards 2016

We're pleased to say that we were awarded runner up in the International Tour Operator of the Year category of TOFTigers' Wildlife Tourism Awards 2016. Chairman of TOFTigers, Julian Matthews, said it was On The Go's message of responsible tourism and consistency in efforts and contributions to the cause over the years that secured us this award. For more information please visit the TOFTigers website.

Balls for Africa 2

Balls for Africa

In January 2018 we launched a Balls 4 Africa community project, whereby our passengers will distribute soccer balls to children from disadvantaged communities across East and Southern Africa. Not only will the soccer balls act as a form of entertainment, but they will also help cement the fundamentals of sport, teaching the sport itself, improving gross motor skills, teaching teamwork, discipline, and boosting children’s self esteem. Sport also helps to promote social inclusion and develops leadership skills. We are extremely excited to put our full force behind this project and make a difference in many children’s lives.

AITO

Sustainable Tourism Charter

As members of AITO we recognise that in carrying out our work as a tour operator we have a social and environmental responsibility to respect other people's places and ways of life and therefore recognise the following common responsibilities to:

Protect the environment

• its flora, fauna and landscapes

Respect local cultures

• traditions, religions and built heritage

Benefit local communities

• both economically and socially

Conserve natural resources

• from office to destination

Minimise pollution

• through noise, waste disposal and congestion

All tourism potentially has an Environmental, Social and Economic impact on the destination involved and we aim to be sustainable in all our dealings on all three levels by; Establishing our own policies and involving our staff; Informing our clients about Sustainable Tourism and, where appropriate; Encouraging in destination participation; Working with our suppliers and partners to achieve sustainable goals and practices; Publicising good practice to encourage and spread Sustainable Tourism.

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