Top Indian Travel Companies Practicing Responsible Tourrism

Defined as tourism that creates better places for people to live in and visit, indigenous tourism has caught on in India in a big way over the past few years. The trend is driven by the need to protect local environments – whether physical, cultural, historical and social—and minimize the negative economic, environmental and social impacts of tourism. We picked some of the top Indian travel companies that are promoting responsible tourism.

ExplorIndya: This company specializes in planning and conducting personalized road trips through south India. A completely family run and managed outfit, the company showcases the region’s vast history, diversity, peoples, cultures, religions and lifestyles. The company meets a strong three-pronged criterion of the responsible travel standard: economic (conserving native handicrafts, local teashops, tribal guides); environ- mental (planting trees, eco-friendly resorts/homestays, paperless business practices) and social (fundraising for infrastructure projects in villages, promoting regional talent/skills, reviving ancient art forms).

The Blue Yonder: A pioneer in sustainable travel, this travel company based in Puducherry, helps design culturally immersive and experiential products and services. By cocreating authentic travel encounters that provide meaningful encounters with local communities, the company works in areas rich in history, culture, age-old heritage, and character. Their various initiatives cover a broad spectrum—rivers, music, forests, textile, arts and crafts—and are aimed towards empowering local communities with an alternate source of income that would generate not just a livelihood but also a sense of pride among them.

Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT): With poaching still a serious threat in the country, it is vital to support conservation efforts through tourism. TOFTigers leads strong campaigns for responsible tiger tourism in India. It works with both the state and federal government agencies and departments to plan and integrate nature tourism into conservation efforts through various training courses and workshops. TOFTigers has also developed a rating system that measures the ‘footprint’ of individual lodges and hotels in India’s wilderness regions, called the PUG Rating.

Indiahikes: This Company, also known as the country’s largest community of trekkers, has a unique programme called Green Trails. Simply put, it is the company’s mission to revolutionize trekking in an eco-friendly and sustainable way such that the impact on the environment is minimal. Through the initiative, the company endeavours to reduce participants’ carbon and ecological footprints while trekking. The company is making conscious efforts in this direction by following simple green practices such as collecting garbage, segregating waste, conducting awareness programmes, composting organic waste, facilitating reuse and recycling, generating biogas, using solar energy and rainwater harvesting, and partnering with local governments to aid in addressing these problems at a larger scale.

Chinkara Journeys: This central India based travel company is dedicated to providing culturally sensitive and eco-friendly wildlife and culture tours to one of India’s least known, yet most diversely attractive regions. The company’s close relationships with local guides and communities enable them to put money back into the local economies. The company’s vehicles also comply with strict Euro IV emissions or Bharat Stage III control regulations set by the European Union and Indian Environment Ministry.

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