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Audley Travel launches ‘Responsible Choice’ classification

Published: 10/23/2023   /   Updated: 10/23/2023

The new criteria aims to promote the most sustainable experiences within the Audley portfolio.

October 2023 — Custom travel specialist, Audley Travel is continuing its commitment to responsible tourism with the introduction of its ‘Responsible Choice’ classification system which identifies tours and accommodation that are at the forefront of the sustainability journey.

To earn the status, the accommodation owner or excursion operator must put a purposeful focus on supporting local businesses, educating staff, exceeding local norms for environmental and social best practice, or promoting conservation and biodiversity efforts. This could be by focusing on ecosystem restoration, moving to 100% renewable power sources, or initiatives that support women-led enterprises.

Clients of Audley should expect to see experiences or properties labelled with the Responsible Choice symbol across the website to clearly identify which products meet the mark.

By clearly highlighting these experiences and being mindful of clients’ responsible tourism concerns, Audley specialists can help clients to design their itinerary to leave a positive impact on the local environment or community they will be visiting.

Examples of the Responsible Choice collection, which is continually being expanded, include:

Iban jungle experience on the Lemanak River, Malaysia

Clients initially travel by wooden boat along the Lemanak River, a low carbon way to travel and an opportunity to learn how locals navigate their landscape. The tour then moves to land to join an Iban guide for a trek through the forest where clients are introduced to the medicinal plants used by the community. Numbers on this tour are restricted to help preserve the Iban culture and land, with visits contributing to a community fund that the tribe uses to help support families with pressing issues, like education or emergency medical needs.

Onçafari jaguar experience in the Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguars are the superstars of the Pantanal and a visit with the Onçafari guides offers the best chance to spot one, taking clients beyond glimpsing the big cats but also explaining their role as a keystone species in the ecosystem. Education is a central part of the Onçafari’s mission and their goal goes beyond basic tourism, it is to use responsible travel as a tool to promote conservation of these magnificent animals.

Chisa Busanga Camp in Kafue National Park, Zambia

Chisa Busanga Camp has truly been designed from the ground up with sustainable principles at its heart. The camp combines traditional and cutting-edge technology to reduce its footprint, with the elevated birds-nest style rooms made from local (organic) materials and the whole camp powered by a state-of-the-art solar system. Clients can also use solar powered electric vehicles on their game drives. As part of its community outreach, Chisa Busanga Camp is member of the Zambia Carnivore Conservation Programme, a non-profit working to preserve the large animals that attract so many people to Africa. To support the local Nalusanga people, the camp created a community farm that they’ve turned over to the community.

Heather Magnussen, Responsible Travel Manager at Audley Travel, said: “When creating itineraries for our clients we prefer to work with local partners where possible, and offer our clients small boutique hotels and unique local tours. This approach gives clients the best experience and makes a positive impact on the local community, while leaving much needed income within the destination.

“Our Responsible Choice classification is the natural extension of our already strong and existing ESG credentials that sit at the heart of everything we do. Responsible Choice recognizes suppliers who are going above and beyond the country norms to give back to the destinations they operate within. It’s also an excellent way to create a culture of positive reinforcement for our network of providers - with the leaders in this space hopefully inspiring others to do better in the way of responsible tourism.”

This announcement comes following the official B Corp certification Audley secured earlier this year which reflects the tour operator’s achievement in meeting rigorous social and environmental standards across its entire business within five key impact areas of governance, workers, community, environment and customers.