The Yoga Departments Responsible Travel Guidelines

Responsible Tourism is about the attitude you take and the choices you make when travelling, to respect and benefit the local people, their cultures, economies and the environment.

While it’s up to all of us to be conscientious globetrotting individuals, The Yoga Department makes it easier by building responsible travel fundamentals into each and every one of our trips. When you hit the road with us, you leave lighter footprints, invest your travel dollars in local communities, show respect and curiosity for different cultures and traditions, and experience genuine connections with the people you meet along the way.

Our style of travel involves:

Including where possible we include yogic principles into our tours ie. yogic diets and yoga & meditation classes, to help us travel more consciously.
Staying in smaller-scale locally owned accommodation (where possible)
Buying locally produced food and drink and purchasing souvenirs from local artisans
Spreading the economic benefits by purchasing from a range of local suppliers
Minimising plastic waste (where possible)
Careful management of limited energy and water resources
Avoiding the exploitation of the vulnerable – women, children, animals

The Yoga Departments Responsible Travel Policy

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich small group travel.

Respecting destinations and local cultures

The Yoga Department promotes positive and meaningful exchanges between  our travellers and the local places we visit. We do this by;

  • Respecting different cultures in all destinations we travel to
  • Respecting local religions, religious places and rituals
  • Observing and respecting local customs and etiquette
  • Emphasising appropriate dress standards
  • Asking permission before photographing
  • Forbidding the use of illegal drugs on our trips
  • Portraying destinations fairly and respectfully in our communications and marketing material

Supporting local people and economies

We work to maximise the benefits generated by tourism for local economies and communities.

We do this by:

  • Employing predominantly local staff and leaders within our operational teams (either our own Destination Management Companies, or suppliers who employ locals)
  • Designing and operating trips to feature local suppliers or suppliers who directly benefit the local community and economy
  • Encouraging our travellers to purchase from local shops, such as supporting social enterprises, local trade, arts and crafts
  • Ensuring we have fair employment practices in place (and using suppliers who have similar employment practices)
  • Paying relevant taxes
  • Issuing each of our suppliers with our tour itineraries so they are familiar with our Yogic principles
  • Not engaging in any form of bribery, corruption or fraudulent activity
  • We encourage and aim to provide a harmonious travel vide amongst our groups and leaders. We will not stand for any version of disrespect or abuse amongst us.

Preserving the Environment
We aim to contribute to the preservation of natural and built environments in the destinations we visit, and to reduce the negative impacts our operations may have on the environment. We do this by minimising the use of resources (energy, water, waste) and reducing our carbon emissions in our offices, on our trips and in the destinations we visit. by:

  • Understanding the environmental issues in destinations and minimising our direct impact
  • Observing all national and marine park visitor rules
  • Using a ‘take in, take back out’ system of waste management in remote regions and national parks
  • Using established or existing tracks and paths
  • Minimising the use of intrusive devices (such as lights) and keeping noise to a minimum at culturally significant sites and other sensitive places
  • Discouraging travellers from touching fragile environments (eg. coral or formations in caves)
  • Protecting vulnerable people (women, minorities and children)

Human Rights

We protect and look after people – in particular, our most vulnerable – by observing basic human rights principles as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ensuring we are promoting among our staff, travellers, local communities and suppliers/business partners, their right to be treated with dignity, equality, freedom and respect.

How we protect women and minorities

We promote equality through:
Supporting enterprises staffed by women and/or minorities where available
Ensuring we are not taking part in any activities or using suppliers/services that discriminate against, exploit or traffic women and/or minority groups.
How we protect children:
We protect children (those 17 years of age and under) from all forms of abuse:
We do not employ children, nor do we use suppliers or patron places that allow children to perform work that is illegal or likely to jeopardise the child’s health, safety or morals
We put in place strong measures to ensure that our respective suppliers, travellers and partners are not involved in the exploitation of children, including training relevant employees/leaders on child protection and raising awareness among our passengers on how to report incidents of child exploitation.
We try to support credible initiatives that safeguard and assist in the positive development of children (eg. schools and childcare initiatives).
We do not visit children’s shelters or orphanages on our itineraries

Protecting Wildlife
We oppose any exploitative or illegal practices and those that have a negative impact on animal welfare.
We conduct appropriate research to ensure we do not promote, visit or participate in any activities that are failing to uphold the animal welfare

Protecting Ourselves

We encourage self responsibility. Whilst we endeavour to provide you the best tour service possible, we ask that everyone works together to achieve this goal for the benefit of us all.