Working in sustainability and Community-Based-Tourism since 2009, we have become real experts in the field. However, we believe refining your best practices and improving is always possible.
Now, by measuring the impact of each of the experiences we offer on our platform and making the result visible through the Sustainability Scores, we have taken our work to the next level. This way, we hope to increase sensitization among our customers and partners and bring more like-minded people on board as we seek to make this planet a better place to live.
Bringing positive change through sustainable tourism is the common goal that every member of our team strives to achieve, that binds us together and motivates us never to stop what we are doing. Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today, and our work wouldn’t have the same value.
Therefore, we wanted to give the concept of sustainability the attention it deserves within our company and carry out a project analyzing its actual outcome. Measuring the impact of our tours in terms of sustainability seemed to be the perfect way of doing that. So, we decided to give it a go.
If you want to find out what the scores displayed for each tour mean, how they were calculated, and how they can guide you throughout our website, read on as we will explain to you everything you need to know about them.
Kindly bear with us: as we transition from RESPONSible Travel Peru to Impactful Travel, and expand our destinations, some tours may not yet have their Score. This is a meticulous process that involves dialogue with tour providers and mutual exploration; hence, it might take a while to update the scores for our newest tours.
Every journey has an impact. Let’s make sure it’s a positive one. Our Sustainability Scores are designed to increase transparency and help travelers make more informed decisions about their travel choices.
Our Sustainability Scores are designed to motivate our travelers to think more about their impact before, during, and after traveling to Peru, Ecuador, and the Galapagos (and any other countries you may travel to for that matter).
Of course, we are proud of all the tours we’ve designed and the work we’ve put into ensuring our experiences are sustainable. Adding a score, though, helps us spread awareness about a subject for which our entire team cares deeply.
While scrolling through our experiences, we want you to ask yourself, “What makes this tour sustainable?” and to familiarize yourself with the critical ideas at the heart of sustainable travel and the different positive actions you can take as a traveler.
Next to communicating with our clients, we want to incentivize our providers to work on the sustainability of their products. Without access to responsible tours, you, as visitors, would have a hard time traveling with peace of mind. Therefore, we must ensure that what we offer you goes hand in hand with the kind of travel we champion.
By working on sustainability with our providers, we can identify their strengths compared to others and find out where there is potential to improve. Thus, we have embarked on a mutual journey towards delivering more responsible tours with them.
As part of her master’s program in tourism management, Caroline, who has been a proud member of the RESPONS team for a few years, has taken on the task of calculating the Sustainability Scores. Her great work will continue to be used for the new destinations that we’ll uncover with our new brand name Impactful Travel.
After assembling as much information as possible about the subject, amongst others from the Travelife Criteria, she has chosen the most relevant and comparable indicators to analyze. Based on these indicators, she crafted a survey, which she then used to analyze every tour we offer on our platform. Participants interviewed for the survey were all drawn from members of RESPONS or providers we work with on our tours.
During the interviews, Caroline retrieved quantitative and qualitative data from every tour. According to these answers, she attributed a score to each indicator and used it to calculate a total score.
Even though many exact numbers were retrieved in the interviews, the evaluation of the tours also included a more “human” element. The tours differ a lot from each other depending on whether they are Culinary Tours, Nature Tours or Hiking Tours, for example.
Therefore, they are not always perfectly comparable. To be fair in our evaluations, we have allowed every provider to add anything they want to about the sustainability of their tour. We have then considered if they are working on a really great project that deserves to be rewarded according to our standards.
First of all, no score is bad! All the tours that we offer on our platform have been carefully selected and are great examples of sustainable experiences. So, you don’t have to refrain from booking a tour because its score is slightly lower than another one.
Instead, we want sustainability to be omnipresent on our website so that our travelers don’t lose sight of it when planning their trip. We’d like you always to keep the impact of your trip in mind, not to demonize any of the tours or complicate things too much.
However, we did indeed calculate the score of an ideal tour, a Multi-Day Tour in Peru that would obtain all of the points possible in every measured category. The score that such a tour would achieve is approximately 100. This is, therefore, the best possible score in our system, and you can use it as a reference. The stars filling out the circle around the score indicate how close the tour gets to the maximum.
If you are wondering why the best possible tour is a Multi–Day Tour rather than a Day Tour, this is because we advocate slow travel. By staying in one destination longer, you increase your positive impact on the local people, engage more in cultural exchange, and reduce your carbon footprint as you take less transport. We always encourage travelers to make fewer trips but longer ones. Therefore, we consider the long experience on our platform as more sustainable, and they tend to have higher scores.
We understand that merely assigning a number to a tour doesn’t give you a full picture of what the tour entails and its sustainability strengths. Therefore, every score comes accompanied by a small description giving more details. For every tour, you can find this description here:
In this section, you can see in what sense the chosen tour is sustainable. Some experiences include great environmental projects, for example. Of course, our Jungle Tours all have a high score regarding nature conservation. Other experiences, such as our City Tours, focus more on social and cultural values. They enable you to contact local people and learn about their customs and traditions, which makes their sustainability scores rise. Depending on your Travel Style and what kind of project you want to support, you can use the description that aligns with your ideal experience.
Measuring tours in terms of their sustainability is something very new and innovative, though early research confirms travelers’ growing interest in such projects. Travelers, for the most part, have a stronger will to travel sustainably than ever before.
However, they sometimes still struggle to put their will into practice. By calculating and sharing the sustainability scores on our platform, we have applied the theory to a specific case, namely to all of the tours you can book with us. We hope it helps to decrease the gap between people’s willingness to travel sustainably and their actual behavior.
As you might have expected, we will not stop at this point. In the future, we will upload more Impactful experiences to our new platform to ensure every traveler finds the tour they are looking for. As we craft each new tour, we will continue interviewing more providers, be it the ones we already work with or new ones we will start collaborating with.
The sustainability scores and the way of calculating them will be perfected over time, and so presentation on the platform may evolve. Each day we’re pushing forward and developing our expertise in this area, and we love sharing the results with every traveler who joins us on our tours.
If you have any questions regarding our tours or sustainable travel generally, please get in touch.