Responsible Travel Policy
There is a misconception that photography safaris abroad must be a good thing and will positively benefit not just the traveller but also the host community and those involved. However, this is not always the case.
Throughout this responsible travel policy, I’ve worked on ethics that enable us to continue to provide the best photography experiences, with benefits to everyone involved in my photography holidays.
WHAT I LIKE: Protection of species, Local investment, Protecting local culture and eco-friendly accommodation.
WHAT I HATE: Animal cruelty and exploitation, Mass tourism, All-inclusive holidays and captive species with no conservation cause.
MY RESPONSIBILITY AS A COMPANY
At Scott Latham Ltd, we believe that we hold a responsibility to the species, environmental, economic and social impact of work, as well as to our clients.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ANIMAL WELFARE RESPONSIBILITIES
As all of my expeditions concern ecotourism in regards to animals and a diversity of environments, it is essential that we work towards reaching conservation goals and support these. We do this by:
- Using small group sizes to avoid putting pressure on the surrounding environment and the species of wildlife present.
- Encouraging clients/photographers to adopt environmentally friendly practices.
- Enforcing a ‘no animal contact’ policy for animals that are in the process of rehabilitation and subsequent release.
- Teaching clients/photographer the importance of environmental conservation and/or the best possible methods for animal rehabilitation.
- Working with only the best conservation teams and projects to educate clients/photographers in environmental and animal welfare initiatives.
RESPONSIBILITIES TO CONSERVATION PROJECTS:
I believe that the projects we support and visit during expeditions, workshops and photography holidays need to fit in with local needs and requirements and address actual local problems. I believe that we have the following responsibilities as a responsible tourism company:
- To ensure that the project is based on realistic and achievable aims/objectives – meeting the needs of the host community.
- To provide volunteers with skills that match the needs of the projects.
- To work in joint partnership with local governments, organisations and the host community.
- To work to ensure that projects are sustainable to avoid dependency by the host community.
- To ensure that clients/photographers should work with, not instead of local workers.
- To provide appropriate resources and support to run the programmes to those involved.
- To provide on-going evaluation and monitoring of the conservation projects we support.
RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE CLIENTS/PHOTOGRAPHERS:
I also have a responsibility to our clients/photographers in order to provide them with a meaningful project that is based on solid responsible principles. Responsibilities and commitments we feel that we ensure to our clients/photographers include:
- Providing an honest and accurate image of the companies and the charities with which we are associated with true values and objectives.
- Preparing clients/photographers for the expeditions, workshops and photography holidays through information on different cultures, what to expect and overall orientation programmes.
- Providing continual support for clients/photographers. From the moment they book until after they return home.
- Ensuring the health and safety and wellbeing of clients/photographers to protect them from harm and potentially harming others.
- Recognising the importance of clients/photographers and value their contribution – helping them to realise the importance of their effort and overall commitment in supporting the conservation projects we visit.
I also believe that we have a range of economic responsibilities to uphold in order to ensure that the host communities benefit financially from the expeditions, workshops and photography holidays I organise. I believe we do this by upholding the following economic responsibilities:
- Helping to create a local economy through employing locals, using local accommodation and sourcing food and products locally where possible.
- Ensuring that the cost of the expeditions, workshops and photography holidays placement is covered and paid directly to the relevant local partners.
- Ensuring that the donations are given to community development projects, charity partners and to the projects themselves.
I also believe that the needs of the host community should lie at the heart of all of our expeditions, workshops and photography holidays. By understanding the host community and building equal partnerships based on mutual trust and respect, expeditions, workshops and photography holidays can run successfully. We believe we do this by upholding the following Socio-Cultural responsibilities:
- Helping to respect host communities and their values, attitudes and beliefs whilst encouraging clients/photographers to do the same.
- Helping to create local employment opportunities resulting in an alternative sustainable income for many local communities.
- Supporting and developing local infrastructure, health care and education – creating a better life as a result of tourism.
- Working with local people to develop and train them in relevant and useful skills providing them with a sustainable future.
I believe that all travel should be responsible not just wildlife tourism. However, sometimes the industry sometimes just gets it all wrong and environments, species and communities get damaged. Below is a list of our absolute avoidance activities you’ll never see on any of our responsible travel expeditions, workshops and photography holidays.
- Canned Hunting – Canned hunting is when animals such as lions, elephants and giraffes are captive bred on farms and then hunted on private reserves. Some of these reserves are now offering tourism/photography safaris and must be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS! They offer no conservation efforts and no benefit to the local communities.
- Irresponsible Wildlife Watching – Luckily responsible wildlife watching is on the rise, however, there are still guides, drivers and tourists who will break every rule in the book just to grab that photograph or memory. Up close and personal with a Tiger selfie or swimming with Killer Whales in a tank. We will never offer or endorse any form of animal abuse activities on our expeditions, workshops or photography holidays.
- Circus/Entertainment Captive Species – Elephant trekking, riding and entertainment, dancing Bears, Snake charmers and backflipping Dolphins are all on our NOT A CHANCE! List. There is no excuse to ever justifying support of these terrible practices.