The desire to give clients exceptional holiday experiences, while supporting local communities develop sustainable livelihoods in pristine environments, has always motivated our decision making here at Archipelago.
Back in 1999, our business, organising bespoke wildlife and activity holidays to the beautiful islands of the Azores, grew from a passion to work with friends and their families on the islands to give our clients special and unique experiences not offered by larger tour operators. In the 20 years since then, this grass roots motivation hasn’t changed, and we’re constantly looking for more ways in which the money you spend travelling with us gives you incredible, unique and personal experiences while directly benefiting local people.
For example, unlike large online corporations, when our hand-picked local partners have to put their prices up to pay for refurbishment, or buy new equipment, we don’t drive them down. We support them by paying the going fair price, ensuring you have the holiday of a lifetime and the businesses we work with are sustainable into the future.
But it’s not all about money.
Together, through our, and your, support of local businesses and communities, we give the land itself value. In some places, like one of our newest destinations, the spectacular southern African country of Namibia, tourism makes vast expanses of land viable to protect. Without tourism they, and the wildlife that lives within them, may not exist. Changes in land and sea use has been identified as the primary cause of species loss and without the protected area network of National Parks and communal wildlife conservancies, the rate of extinction will only increase. This is not something we’re willing to let happen and we’re sure you feel the same.
Experts estimate the species loss we’re seeing today is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. The African lion population, for example, has dropped 42% in the last 21 years. Conservation efforts in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have seen an increase in lion population by 11% – mainly within fenced reserves – but outside these four nations, the average decline in lion numbers has been a whopping 60%.
We travel to see the world, and this itself brings great personal value, but as we’re realising the negative effects of both flying and over-tourism on the planet, we need travel to do more than entertain. It needs to bring positive change. For all of us, this generation and the next.
So, as more holiday companies begin to realise this, and change their messaging, how will ethical travellers see through a fog of insubstantial ‘environmentally friendly’ marketing?
Like deciding which coffee to purchase, it’s the small companies, like us, who aren’t driving escalating competition and chasing market domination, and who are motivated by the desire to be a force for good, who really can be trusted.
We’re continually examining all our holidays to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support small, local businesses who value your holiday experience as much as we do. And to make sure we’re contributing to the protection of wild areas through supporting National Parks and protected areas, places of geographical beauty, historic and environmental significance. As over-tourism becomes more of a problem, you can be sure that we offer a solution with our carefully selected, ‘off the beaten track’ destinations. Like our sustainable holidays to Sao Tome and Principe.
One of the challenges we all face is the carbon footprint we generate through flying. This challenge is one we’re taking by the horns at Archipelago. As well as scrutinising the way we run our office here in the UK, for several years, through the support of our clients, we’ve been planting trees at home in Cumbria. But as our knowledge of climate change increases, we want to do more. Watch this space as we team up with fellow environmental partners and work towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral in the future.
Get in touch…
Our friendly team of travel specialists here at the family run tour operator, Archipelago Choice, work closely with clients to put together bespoke hoildays to a small number of hand-picked destinations across the globe. Call us on 01768 721040 to find out more about how you can travel positively with us in 2020.