Sustainable Travel

Whilst travel and tourism brings many benefits, it is a heart-breaking truth that curiosity for travelling can also have a negative impact on our environment. Air travel, globalisation and overcrowding have in some instances had detrimental effects on the wildlife, people and places visited and it is the responsibility of each of us to minimise this impact. However, travel offers some of life’s most memorable experiences and it can also bring tremendous good to the world.

We believe responsible travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment while never losing the ability to open minds through new experiences and interaction with cultures different from our own. It’s also important to remember the economic value of tourism, and how it can support local livelihoods, sustainable development and conservation.

Our in-depth knowledge and a close working relationship with local partners, tourist boards and international conservation groups help us to underline our responsible attitude towards tourism. As passionate travellers, we are committed to finding and implementing maintainable strategies that; protect fragile landscapes, minimise our carbon footprint, celebrate unique cultures and benefit local people.

At Discover the World we focus our key pillars of sustainability on the environment, social and economic values and wildlife conservation.

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Our Approach - Pillars of Sustainability

Many people refer to the pillars of sustainability to help define the key areas of responsible travel when developing an approach to sustainability. Read on to learn more about Discover the World’s key foundations of sustainability. Each pillar is broad and there is much more that we can do. We’ve set up a sustainability squad in our office so that we are constantly reviewing our practices and finding better ways of working.

Environmental Pillar

This pillar focuses on reducing negative impacts on the environment including minimising carbon footprint and reducing waste.

To tackle this pillar, we recommend our clients offset their carbon emissions through the World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced scheme.

We also encourage our staff and clients to take their own reusable bag, coffee cup and water bottle on holiday, avoiding unnecessary single-use plastic waste. In addition, we are reducing our paper consumption both in the office and through using our online resources to provide clients with their travel documents on the go.

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Social & Economic Pillar

This pillar focuses on people, and the positive impact we can have by working with local partners, supporting independent local businesses and looking after our staff.

We are proud to work with many local hotels and excursion providers across all of our destinations, and we celebrate their traditions and way of life. In turn this provides our clients with a unique and authentic holiday experience, and supports the local communities and economy.

We encourage people to engage and respect local culture, from trying regional foods to using the correct etiquette when greeting people, these small gestures go far when travelling and interacting with new cultures. Other ways to support the local community include shopping local when buying souvenirs and supporting local independent restaurants when eating out.

In addition to caring for the people and cultures we interact with on holiday, we also recognise the hard work of our staff and provide a health cash plan, gym membership and weekly pilates classes, among other benefits, all of which contribute to a happy and healthy workplace.

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Conservation Pillar

Having operated the very first whale watching trips in Iceland back in 1993, protecting wildlife is something we take very seriously and this pillar focuses on wildlife conservation.

For many, witnessing wildlife in the wild offers offers some of life’s most enriching moments. The wildlife watching experiences that we offer operate in the wild in natural habitats and we ask people to respect these wildlife habitats by causing as little disturbance as possible and keeping the areas litter free. We closely follow animal welfare guidelines and basic welfare requirements.

Following the devastating bushfires in Australia, we’ve also adopted a koala through WWF Australia, which provides vital funding not only to support the rescue and rehabilitation of these endangered animals, but also help longer term in restoring their natural habitats.

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Our Partnerships:

Over the years, Discover the World has raised money for organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the Born Free Foundation, doing our little bit to support causes that tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our planet. Read on to find out about some of the partnerships we are currently supporting.

World Land Trust

World Land Trust is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. Since its foundation in 1989, World Land Trust has funded partner organisations around the world to create reserves and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife. To date, WLT has helped secure more than 774,282 acres of threatened habitat in 20 countries.

Should you wish to offset the carbon footprint of your flight or holiday we recommend World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced Offsetting Scheme. This scheme follows a three-step process to measure and reduce your emissions, before offsetting residual emissions through impactful conservation projects, which protect and restore carbon-rich wildlife habitats which would have otherwise been lost, avoiding the release of stored carbon. Return flights to Iceland can be offset from as little as £9.50.

Use the following link to calculate your carbon emissions and donate. Please select ‘Discover the World‘ from the drop down menu when asked ‘What prompted you to make this purchase‘.

World Land Trust Carbon Calculator

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Koala Adoption

Discover the World is proud to support WWF Australia through the adoption of a koala, providing funds to assist the rescue and rehabilitation of both the wild koala population and its native habitat.

The World Wildlife Fund was launched in 1961, and 17 years later WWF Australia was established in Sydney. Today WWF Australia is the country’s largest conservation organisation, focusing on projects throughout Australia and the wider Oceania region.

WWF’s focus is on reversing the decline of threatened plants and animals, working together with governments, businesses, communities and Indigenous groups to ensure a brighter future for our natural world.

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Read on to find out about some conservation initiatives we support in Iceland:

Drink Responsibly - Icelandic Tap Water

Inspired by Iceland introduces Kranavatn, which is Icelandic for tap water – a free, abundant, premium quality water, available for consumption from any tap.

  • 70% of all travellers say they don’t trust tap water on holiday
  • 65% of all travellers say they use more bottled water on holiday
  • 80% of all plastic bottles end up in landfill or in the ocean

It’s time for change. Kranavatn is pure springwater, naturally filtered through lava for centuries, before it reaches your tap. Help us reduce plastic waste and ‘drink responsibly’ by taking a reusable bottle on your travels.

Inspired by Iceland, in partnership with The Environment Agency of Iceland urges visitors to sign up to the ‘Kranavatn Challenge‘ online. Challengers will unlock a voucher reflecting the money they would have spent on plastic water bottles redeemable at several of the country’s premier leisure and retail outlets. Anyone who is planning a trip to Iceland this year can join the Kranavatn challenge online here.

Kranavatn logo

Iceland Nature Conservation Association

Having operated the very first whale watching trips in Iceland back in 1993, whaling is an issue we do not take lightly. In our campaign to end whaling in Iceland we support the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA). Established in 1997, INCA is a conservation NGO with the primary objective of conserving and protecting the wilderness of Iceland. In 2007, Árni Finnsson, chair of INCA’s board, was awarded the Animal Action Award, for his role in whale conservation.

The Husavik Whale Museum

Discover the World is also proud to have donated significant funds to developing The Husavik Whale Museum in North Iceland. This organisation is also at the forefront of the fight against whaling. We would encourage all our clients to take at least one whale watching trip when visiting the country and visiting the Whale Museum in Husavik if you are in the area.

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Responsible Travel in the Polar Regions

The polar regions have long inspired fascination and awe, from intrepid early explorers to modern day travellers in search of some of the world’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. Rather than having a negative impact on the environment, we believe that responsible tourism to Antarctica and the Arctic can help to raise awareness of the issues facing our planet. Visitors come away with an enhanced sense of the value of the natural world and become more aware in everyday life of ways to help preserve this legacy.

Discover the World is committed to working with leading travel partners in the conservation of the delicate Polar Regions. We only work with IAATO or AECO accredited voyage operators.

IAATO is the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, a member organisation founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO’s focus on protection, management and education promotes a greater worldwide understanding and protection of the Antarctic with the goal of leaving it as pristine and majestic for future generations as it is today. Discover the World is proud to support IAATO’s commitment to protecting the region.

AECO is the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, an international association dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic and striving to set the highest possible operating standards. AECO’s key objective is to initiate and support measures that are designed to ensure that cruise tourism in the Arctic is carried out with the utmost consideration for the natural environment, local cultures, cultural remains, as well as the challenging safety hazards at sea and on land.

Responsible Travel at Discover the World Education

With over 30 years experience organising worldwide educational school trips, you can trust our expert Education Team to supply safe, quality tours that are informative and memorable. As passionate travellers and educators, we believe the benefits of travel should not be lost by the next generation and that’s why our Education Team are committed to finding and implementing sustainable travel strategies. Click here to read more about responsible travel at Discover the World Education.