Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as being able to lead in the management of all resources in various ways such as economically, socially and aesthetically. This is to fulfill our needs while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems. This is so that sustainable tourism respects and benefits the local people and the environment. This can only be done by learning a little bit about the country, the culture and even a few words of the local language before you arrive. Responsible tourism is regarded as a behavior. It is more than just a form of tourism, as it represents an approach to engaging you through tourism, be that you are a tourist, a business, or local people at a destination or any other tourism partner. Tourism should become ‘better’ as a result of our responsible tourism approach.
Peru Grand Travel fully supports the principles of sustainable tourism and has been working hard to show that it is possible to provide an excellent quality of service while being culturally sensitive, looking after our trekking staff, and helping to conserve the environment.
The way to improve our trekking standards and reduce the impact of tourism on the environment is to provide good quality information, charge a price that is fair and reasonable according to the services we provide, demonstrating that our company works towards the conservation of the environment and looking after the well-being of the people who work for Peru Grand Travel.
As part of our “Under sustainable tourism” policy, we have a short-term project to cultivate social responsibility with a community that has already been chosen (being involved in the setting up of schemes for local people, porters and staff, such as clothing banks and educational schemes, and by being very committed to ensuring that our local people benefit from the means of tourism).
Just to summarize what our goals are:
- Social, cultural and economic responsibility through tourism.
- Commitment to our professional staff, operations team and local communities.
- Creating new jobs and opportunities to change the lives and families of locals.
- Fair treatment, decent wages for all our employees and health insurance for our crew and staff.
- Health & insurance for our porters and staff.
- An environmentally sensitive and socially friendly tour company.
Peru Grand Travel is aware that if tourism is not correctly carried out, it can have a very negative effect on the local people, the culture, the environment and the economy of our country. This is particularly true for a country such as Peru, whose economy depends so much on tourism.
It is obviously important to us that you have a great time when you visit Cusco, but this should not just be because of our national treasures, but also because of our environment and our people. As a professional company, we have the duty to act responsibly and to encourage and promote responsible tourism. We must put emphasis on our actions right now rather than just making a list of things we would like to achieve in the future. Peru Grand Travel has many economic, environmental and social goals.
Our goal is to become Peru’s foremost responsible tour operator, an achievement that in our opinion is very achievable with our determination. However, visitors must also accept their role in helping us to accomplish this goal. Only if tourists and other travel companies work together, we can ensure that tourism can really benefit local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect the natural environment.
“Perú Grand Travel” under sustainable tourism
Our most important responsibility is to ensure that the financial benefits of tourism are passed down through the entire company, including the office staff, tour guides, trekking staff (porters, cooks, and horsemen) as well like what we said above, we have a mountain community in which we work in.
Peru Grand Travel is a local company with its office located in Cusco. All of our staff is from Cusco. All of our tour guides are from the Cusco region, with the majority coming from villages in the surrounding countryside.
Our porters have been carefully selected from one community in a mountain village outside of Cusco. We employ about 50 permanent porters and another 30 are employed as needed. For details of the pay and treatment of our porters, see our Porter Welfare page.
Where possible, we purchase equipment locally. Obviously all fresh produce and food is bought at local markets and small shops. Camping equipment, such as dining tents, kitchen tents, porter backpacks, duffle bags, porter jackets, biodegradable soap are all produced in Cusco. Porter’s shoes and back support belts are made in Lima. Our tents and sleeping bags are manufactured by Nikko. Therefore, about 99.99% of all income remains within Peru.
Peru Grand travel has a zero litter tolerance. On our treks all rubbish and waste material is carried out and disposed of in suitable facilities in the main towns and cities. The waste is divided into organic (green bags) and inorganic (black bags). We never bury waste along the route of the trail (see below for exceptions) and we certainly never dump rubbish behind bushes.
We give all of our clients biodegradable soap to wash up with (made locally) and we wash our dishes with biodegradable detergent. Dishes are washed in a bowl using filtered water and the dirty water is passed through a fine mesh to filter out any solids before being returned to a suitable outlet (sink, sewer or river).
Only clean burning fuel (butane gas) is used for cooking. Kerosene is not permitted due to the possible dangers to the environment caused by spillage. Campfires are not permitted on the Inca Trail or in any areas that are considered to be a fire risk.
When our clients come to our office to pay their trek balance, we provide them with a written trek briefing. This briefing includes information about the regulations at Machu Picchu, which aims to protect the environment within the protected areas of the Machu Picchu sanctuary.
We reduce the waste of paper in our office by not making any forms of paper brochures. All communication is by email and snail mail is rarely sent out or received. We have reduced the need for paper in our office by the use of computer technology.
We have an ongoing training of our staff to ensure high standards of environmental care and responsible behavior. At the end of every trek, our clients are asked to give an opinion about the whole trek with a camcorder, it’s like a trek report that allows us to monitor and highlight any areas of our service that we could improve upon. When Peru Grand Travel was initiated as a company, we used to use paper to do the reports but after doing that we unfortunately helped the logging industry out, so for that reason, nowadays we only use video reports as a part of our environmental responsibility.
We encourage our clients to act in a responsible manner. Our guides are professionally qualified and have a great passion for their work. Not only will they tell you about the history of the places you will be visiting but they will also be able to tell you about the culture, the local traditions and superstitions. Most of our guides are fluent in the Quechua language (the native language used in the countryside) and all of them have the ability to communicate in Quechua to an intermediate standard.
100% of the people we employ are local people and we pay them a fair wage by helping to put money into the local economy. All trekking staff is paid punctually at the end of each trek. Office staff is paid monthly and receives free health insurance for them and their families, as well as pensions and Independence Day and Christmas off. All porters receive free accident and life insurance which covers them throughout the year and not just when they are working on the Inca Trail.
We treat our employees with the respect that they deserve and expect our office staff and tour guides to do the same with our porters. We listen to comments and complaints from porters about other companies where they were not treated respectfully. Peru Grand Travel takes care of these situations.
We have worked hard to provide the best possible working conditions for our porters, which include limiting the load that we give our porters in carrying only 20kg. We provide our porters with accommodation in tents with a waterproof floor, backpacks with padded shoulders and waist straps, shoes, warm jackets, sleeping bags, foam mats, and plenty of nutritious food.
PERU GRAND TRAVEL Team