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The planet is currently experiencing a climate crisis. At Not In The Guidebooks, we recognise that all individuals and businesses have a responsibility to address global warming, and it is our vision that Not In The Guidebooks can play a part in protecting the environment for future generations.

Tourism, in particular, is on the front line of the fight against climate change in more ways than one. It is set to become one of the most heavily impacted industries on earth due to the effects of global warming.

As an industry it is set to face challenges including but not limited to: ski resorts losing snow, popular coastal areas becoming submerged, and a steep decline in biodiversity all over the world. These examples will result in a reduction in tourism in such regions, and it is the locals who live there set to be hardest hit, both economically and socially, by our ever-changing environment.

Whilst tourism is certainly a victim of climate change, we cannot overlook the part that the tourism industry plays as a contributor. As an industry it is responsible for around 8% of global emissions, putting the very regions it relies on, and the people who live there, under threat.

However, tourism makes up almost 10% of GDP globally, and employs hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Many of these people live in areas that are almost solely reliant on tourism to achieve social mobility and a comfortable quality of life. To simply call a halt to tourism may help reverse some of the negative environmental impacts it has on the planet, but it would be catastrophic for these communities.

It’s clear then that travel needs to change, and at Not In The Guidebooks, we recognise that fact. On this page, we’ll outline our commitments, both environmental and social, that are dedicated towards making travel benefit everyone – from travellers to locals, and future generations to come.

Commitments

Our work is based on three core commitments:

We ensure that communities benefit from our visit.

  • In many cases, less than 10% of the money spent on a holiday actually ends up in the pockets of the local community. Tourism leakage is a serious problem, and it means many people are not able to reap the benefits of the tourism happening in their own back yard. We work with small, local suppliers and ensure that they receive a fair amount for every holiday we sell.

We protect the environments we visit.

 

 

  • The climate is changing, and the travel industry is a key frontier in this battle. On the one hand, pollution from travel, erosion from over-tourism, and waste from careless travelling can make the problem much worse. But on the other hand, travel affords unique opportunities to help people connect with the natural environment in a close-up, personal way, and support locals in protecting their local environment. We are committed to offering experiences that match our sustainability criteria.

We educate and provide guidance to travellers, hosts and agents.

  • Travel can help build a better world, but it has to be done properly. We are not just finding experiences that are better for local communities and better for the planet. We are committed to helping everyone travel better. From the moment they book with us until the moment they arrive home, we actively help our travellers with resources and guidance. This helps them travel more mindfully, and ultimately, offers a deeper, more rewarding experience.

What are we doing right now?

We have taken a number of steps to minimise, with the aim to completely eradicate, our effect on the environment, whilst still providing travellers with incredible experiences.

1. Red Lines

There are some holiday and experiences that we will never promote, in order to ensure no matter what experience you travel on with Not In The Guidebooks, you are travelling in a responsible manner.

  • Human Rights. Not In The Guidebooks does not promote ‘voluntourism’. All of the experiences we promote directly benefit local communities in some way. They do not commodify suffering or allow tourists to work for free in jobs that could provide employment for locals. As a general rule, we ask ‘would this activity be appropriate at home’. If the answer is no, we don’t offer the experience. We support the fight against modern slavery in tourism and orphanage tourism. We ensure our experiences follow the ABTA’s guidelines on both these issues.
  • Captive Animals. Not in the Guidebooks currently does not offer any experiences that involve the abuse of captive or non-captive animals. We carefully select any experiences that work with animals to ensure they are well-treated as a part of a conservation or rehabilitation programme, and all of our experiences involving animals follow the ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines, which range widely but include avoiding activities such as elephant shows, ‘walking with’ wild cats, and any tourist interaction with animals that include punishment or food deprivation as part of the animals training.
  • High-Carbon Travel. We recognise that flying is a vital part of the travel industry. But it does a tremendous amount of damage to the natural world. We do not offer experiences that promote high-carbon travel (i.e. driving luxury sports cars or joy rides in helicopters). Where possible, we encourage our customers to take trains or other, lower-carbon forms of transport.
  • Damaging local or cultural sites. We will not offer any experiences that actively encourage damaging local or cultural sites. This includes making street-art in a foreign city, or any experience that encourages travellers to leave anything more than footprints. We recognise that just visiting some sites will be contributing to their erosion  and we actively encourage visiting less well known areas, and to avoid sites of over tourism.

sign on a beach

2. Education

Combatting climate change starts with knowing the steps we can all take to join the fight to save the planet.

Travel can be used as a method of raising awareness about vulnerable natural environments, and how desperately they need protecting. By showcasing areas of natural beauty, we aim to inspire our travellers to make sustainable choices that help protect the natural world. As well as this, Not In The Guidebooks is in a unique position to communicate with both travellers and tour operators alike, so we aim to provide both consumers and hosts with information on sustainable travel.

Whether that’s how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics on your holidays, where you can travel by train, or how you can limit your carbon footprint when flying, we try to raise awareness on how the tourism industry can limit its impact on the environment, as well as eventually become a tool in the fight against climate change.

plastic litter on a beach on holiday

3. Providing Income for Local Communities

With Not In The Guidebooks, you can be certain that your experience contributes to the local economy that you are actually visiting.

We work with small, independent operators who live in the area and employ local people, boosting general quality of life by providing these employment options. These hosts have a vested interest in supporting their community and protecting their local culture and environment, as generally these aspects of a destination are the commodities that attract tourists in the first place, providing vital income for local economies.

Therefore, they curate experiences that limit the damage on their local environment, with the money that is spent being injected into the local economy, going to the people who actually live in the area, and in some cases towards schemes designed to protect the natural world you are getting a glimpse of.

an example of local ecotourism

Our Goals

In the next year we are committing to taking further steps to help in the ongoing effort to prevent climate change:

  • Put the spotlight on sustainable travel. Not every holiday or experience is as sustainable as the next. We are putting together sustainability criteria that will allow us to badge our most sustainable experiences, and make them more easily identifiable for our customers.
  • Build a community for hosts. So many of our hosts are already taking steps to making their experiences more sustainable. We are aiming to create a hub for operators to share best practices for running sustainable tours, so that others can gain inspiration and integrate best practice into their own tours.
  • Combatting carbon. Whilst we understand it’s not perfect, carbon offsetting or the purchasing of carbon credits is a useful tool for reducing the carbon footprint of your holiday. We aim to measure the carbon output of our experiences, and provide customers with a means to negate this output with carbon offsetting.

Sustainable Travel

Sustainability Tips
Can Flying Ever be Sustainable?
A Travellers’ Guide to Treading Lightly