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Responsible Travel Policy

Sun Gate Tours Responsible Travel Policy

Our new slogan is Making Tourism Sustainable

Our Responsible Travel Policy

Sun Gate Tours is dedicated to ethical travel and so fulfills rules aimed at the same. On this page, we have presented Our Responsible Travel Policy which is a summary of our aims and actions. Through this document, we commit ourselves to providing you with a great experience in terms of the environment and culture. All our tours are not only enthralling for you, but also provide benefits to the environment and the local communities.

The aim of Sun Gate Tours is to let our clients avail an adventure that they remember for the rest of their lives by giving them a chance to witness the diversities in different cultures and explore beautiful landscapes. And all this is achieved in a way that is not only exciting, but safe and responsible as well. We have always supported the responsibilities associated with good traveling and so we keenly promote it within our company, and provide its awareness to all our travelers and partners.

Sun Gate Tours believes that the developing communities can take a lot of help from sustainable and sensitive tourism, an act that is also capable of conserving the environment. Thus, it is our aim to be of a great assistance to the communities with whom we collaborate so that they can earn an income. This approach also allows them to develop naturally and acquire integration with our activities, as they try to gain benefits from tourism development in their regions. Keeping this in mind, we offer positive exchange of various cultures, maintain the natural surroundings and even the environment in all the areas where our tours are headed.

We would like to mention here that we follow all the policies stated in this document so that we can succeed as a company. In fact, we are dedicated to achieving the guidelines of responsible travel. We really hope you would help us in this regard and eagerly play your part.

Here is a look at our main beliefs.

• Your travel is worthwhile only if you experience a different culture and appreciate the differences that exist between it and your culture. Whilst at this, you should provide something back for the local people who make your trip more welcoming and special.
• We respect the traditions that are followed by the people in different regions and we share this knowledge with all our clients, so as to promote respect and mutual understanding.
• We prevent any offenses that we can and we help our clients to value the different cultures in the world. This enriches their experience and provides enjoyment to the localities as well.
• We try our level best to ensure that all locally operated companies gain benefits from our tours, and so we arrange for accommodation in local restaurants, eat local food, appoint local people to serve as tour guides, and use locally manufactured equipment.
• We preserve the environment by trying to reduce harmful emission. This we achieve by recycling and reusing whatever we can while ensuring that wild life and natural habitat is not affected by our actions.
• In this policy, we have highlighted all the practices which we are committed to achieving. It provides complete details on the actions which we are currently following and what we intend to do in the future. We constantly revise this policy to improve it, and we welcome any feedback which you can provide us. Please send an email at info@sungatetours.com to let us know your opinions and suggestions.

Economic Responsibilities
Sun Gate Tours ensures that the financial benefits which we receive from our tours should serve our entire company (including all the employees like guides, porters, cooks and the horsemen) the local communities with which we work and the whole country in general. This is what we believe is our most important responsibility in terms of the economy. Here are some measures which we follow as a certainty that we are actually fulfilling this.

• We only use those products, suppliers and services that are offered by local companies because we believe it to be an extremely ethical action. Even if it may mean paying additional prices, we do not have issues with it because we are benefiting the local economy.
• We employ local citizens for managing our operations even in international tours if that is possible.
• We support local tourism in region where it exists such as rural tourism or historical trip.
• We encourage our clients to buy locally made products instead or purchasing imported items. We also advise them to buy craft items and other gifts from local stores, which serve as great monuments.
• We pay our staff salaries that are significantly higher than the market average. We do this very timely right after a tour has been finalized.
• We have appointed porters from local communities surrounding the mountainous villages of Lares Quiswarani and Cusco Pisaq.
• Peruvian Tourism Institutions SUNAT recognizes our company as honest paying tax organization at a rate of 18%.

When an international travel agency sends money to a tour company that is operated in Peru, no taxes are incurred (implying that you do not have to pay sales taxes two times). This means that when you purchase a tour or a trek that is offered by a non-Peruvian tour agency (one that operates outside the Peru boundary) you do not contribute towards the economy in terms of sales tax.

Environmental Responsibilities
Along with economic responsibility, we also focus on environmental responsibilities. We have several suggestions on ways that can support and preserve the natural environment and habitat. Moreover, our guides are educated individuals who can speak multiple languages, and so can not only interpret for you. But can also provide you with detailed information on all national and regional issues in a language which you speak every day.

Almost every region in the world is facing issues like water shortage, landfill and environmental degradation. Even though we can leave it to the government to solve these issues, we play our part and do the little bits that can help in the bigger picture when combined.

• We use cleaning substances like soap and detergent that are biodegradable and we expect our customers to use the same. They may be costly, but throughout the tours, we usually use river water that is still very clean and unpolluted. We want this to stay the same.
• We ensure that the transportation means which we use are suitable for the region and suffice our travelers’ needs as well. We regularly inspect and conduct maintenance of these vehicles so they perform at full efficiency, thereby limiting the formation of carbon emissions while ensuring our clients’ safety and comfort.
• In regions where animals are used for transportation purposes, we hire only those operators that are treat these beings rightly. We consider animal welfare important and we do not support people who do not abide.
• Cleanliness is our most important attribute. We do not litter anywhere and properly dispose of waste in suitable places.
• We advise our clients to excrete at designated latrines. Doing this right next to natural water sources is a disgusting act.
• Dispose of batteries in the cities and not in any remote location.
• Do not waste resources like water and electricity. You can contribute by switching off lights and equipment not being used.
• At all places where we camp, we follow the motto ‘take only photos and leave only footprints’ . During this, our tour guides will request you to follow the guidelines mentioned below.
◦ Use only existing camping locations.
◦ Do not harm or disturb vegetation.
◦ Do not excrete into any of the streams of throw off litter in them. We provide toilets and bins for this.
◦ Try not to use soaps that contain phosphates. Also do not wash when you are swimming so to keep the water unpolluted.
◦ Respect fellow campers and avid making unnecessary noise.

When you are done with camping
• Do not do anything that damages the surrounding or environment.
• Do not pull out herbs and plants. Aim for the clearings and avoid creating new tracks or paths. Just use the existing ones.
• Bury toilet waste. Trowels are provided for this. Try to bury as deep as possible so that decomposition can take place easily.
• Also bury the toilet paper, or just burn it. If you want, you can carry it with you until you reach an appropriate disposal point.
• You will be requested to stay at least 30 meters away from any water source.
• Take your waste with you or dispose it properly. Make sure you don’t leave any cans, bottles or plastics behind.
• Recycle wherever it is possible.

While camping, basking in the warm orange fire throughout the chilly night is a thrilling experience. However, here is what you should consider.

• Is safe and suitable to light up a campfire? Is there dryness in the area or are there any other associated risks?
• Are you using fuel from renewable resource? If it is wood, collect it from the ground only and do not chop off tress or break twigs. If its charcoal, switch to another option.
• Avoid using a campfire for cooking purposes. You would be better off doing it on gas stoves that are present on the expedition vehicle.
• Burnt plastic emits toxic fumes so do not throw off bags, wrappers and cigarette butts in the fire.
• When you do not need the fire anymore, bury it properly, and make sure you do not leave any dirty blemish on the ground.

Social Responsibilities
Sun Gate Tours is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism. We have integrated social responsibilities in the core of our business so that we can provide humanity with more benefits while working to preserve the environment.

Our Clients
• We are aware that relaxation is important in every holiday, but as humans, we should respect our fellow beings. As such we want our clients to provide a good impact on their destinations. For every single tour, we offer detailed notes that highlight cultural sensitivities, and we expect you to read them. Upon arrival of the clients, our tour guides also brief them about the same.
• Though we provide specific advice with every destination on your list, we have complied a Travelers Code, which can be of great benefit to our clients and to the places where they visit. These guidelines are complete in the general sense and provide advice on all the fundamentals like preserving sources, conserving the environment, giving off gifts and tips and so on.
• We also consider ethics to be an important part of our research. We value feedback on our policies, and so we request our clients to comment on our responsible practices and make suggestions regarding the same. This is done at the time of filling the post trip questionnaire. Additionally, we have country specialists who are encouraged and help us make improvements in our travel initiatives.

Employees
While hiring our employees, we respect diversity. Fair payment rules, participative management, work safety, personal development and good working conditions are what we believe in. We aim at extending and sharing our social responsibility not only with our staff, but our clients as well.

We hire those industry experts that belong to local regions and have spent several years in the field. The salaries of our trekking staff like porters, guides and cooks are more than the market averages, and are paid timely. Moreover, we never overburden our employees with their duties and we ensure their personal safety throughout the course of the job.

We ensure that our offices operate in a safe and sound environment. We try to conserve energy, implement recycle plans, and take responsibility for the surroundings.

Local Suppliers and Operators
We aim to work with those individuals and companies who play their parts in social responsibility and just like us, ensure that they provide their clients with the highest quality while respecting the local communities and preserving the environment.

Sun Gate Tours has been handling tours in the Peru since the last eight years or so. In this time, we have built long and successful relationships with our bluishness partners. We believe that our continuous success is just because we support the local communities who welcome us. We are committed to supporting their businesses, allowing these operators to prosper. This increases their confidence and leads to development of their services and products.

Whenever we design a new tour, we consult and seek advice from several local communities to ascertain that we are drafting realistic proposals. While selecting these companies, we only take help from those companies who have a positive outlook and plan on working long term. We are always very honest about how our products can affect the local communities and ensure that we do not force them where they are not wanted.
Ever since our inception, we have always relied on local companies, representatives and guides. Almost all of our hired experts are sourced locally so as to ensure knowledgeable and motivated employees, complete guidance provided to our clients and promotion of local traditions.

We are closely linked with local agencies which allow us to contribute to the local economy. Moreover, it lets our clients gain a deeper insight into the culture and local traditions which are followed in these areas, when they collaborate with our locally hired staff members. There are certain tours on which advice from these guides in indeed invaluable such as the Amazon Jungle and the Inca trails of Machu Picchu.
Sun Gate Tours ensures that locally hired employees work in fair conditions, are paid impressive wages and are provided with adequate support by our tour staff. For the Inca Trail, we have enforced a separate and specific policy in order to protect the rights of the porters on the trek.

Local Accommodation
We offer our clients a chance to avail home stay accommodation no matter what their destination may be, creating a win situation for all the parties involved and allowing a positive cultural exchange to take place. Our clients get to experience the local lifestyle while the localities benefit from them in terms of economy and society.

For instance, when our clients visit the Amantani Island, they stay in the homes of the local people. As a token of thanks, they present their hosts with gifts brought from their homes like rice and fabric. The local people either use them or sell them to earn some money. In many a cases, a lot of exchanges take place in the forms of stories, songs and even recipes. Thus the clients and the localities have a great time while living together.

Local Food and Restaurants
On all our tours, we encourage our clients to consume food offered by local inns instead of dining at multinational brands which they can do so at their own homes as well. Not only does this provide the clients with an authentic experience of the traditional cuisine, but also supports these local communities and help them in following their customs in terms of cooking and recipes. This ensures culture longevity which is an asset in areas where these rituals are in the danger of being lost.

There are some Adventure Tours on which we provide our clients with food. We purchase fresh, tasty and quality items from the reputed local markets in areas where it is possible. Our commitment of providing them with support ensures that these companies keep on prospering and developing themselves.

Community
We believe in promoting participation of all local communities that exist in areas where we operate. For this, we sign off contracts with the best drivers, guides and experts. Currently, we are developing a pilot program in an Andean community, which we hopefully extend throughout the region.

We keep all of our tour groups small with a maximum of 10 people only so that we do not create an intrusion for the local communities. This approach also lets our clients gain more benefits from our industry experts.

We introduce our clients in only those areas where we know the local community will welcome them. Prior to adding new places on our list, we obtain consent from the localities and also give them complete awareness of possible tourism effects.

We treat all people respectfully and carefully observe traditions which they practice. We encourage all our clients to do the same and provide them with details about the national culture. We gave them complete knowledge regarding the traditions and advise them to learn the basics of the local language. When we use local guides who help our clients, it ensures that at least some of the local communities do gain benefit from our business.

We lay an emphasis on providing our clients with information through local guides and request them to pass on their cultural knowledge to our tour groups. This gives them insight into their destinations in an enjoyable manner and benefits both the localities and the clients.

Land and Office Space
1. Sun Gate Tours leases on the necessary amount of office space for company needs. In fact, we try to maximize utilization of the space we have.
2. We keep our office tidy, clean and comfortable, providing our staff with an appreciable working environment.
3. We have never leased additional space for corporate offices and high street stores, and will not do so in the future as well.

Staff Education
1. We give our new staff members a complete briefing of our Responsible Travel Policy, and provide them with a documented version as well.
2. We give our employees complete awareness about recycling and request them to recycle cardboard, waste paper, plastics and cans.
3. We remind our staff again and again to switch off lights and appliances not in use.

Paper
1. We have aimed at recycling 100% of all the paper and cardboard material which we use.
2. We store all our data thorough electronic means and do not rely on printouts or hard copy records.
3. Both our clients and agents make their bookings only, which does not require any paper to be used.
4. We email travel guides and other relevant information to the clients, thereby reducing the use of paper.
5. Our brochure is available as a soft copy, which is another means of saving paper.
6. If we have to print brochures or any other promotional materials, we use paper that is manufactured from renewable resources. After usage, all the material is sent for recycling.
7. We do not buy new notepads and just use the lank sides of other paper materials to jot down things.
8. We refrain from unnecessary printing of emails and documents and follow the motto ‘Be Green. Read from the Screen’
9. If we have to photocopy, we do it on both paper sides.
10. We buy stationary that has been made from recycled materials.
11. We buy toilet paper and other materials that are made through renewable energy resources from recycled materials.

Electricity and Technology
1. We use only those computers, photocopiers, desk phones, fax machines and printers that make efficient use of electricity. The same goes for other appliances like kettle, fridge and microwaves.
2. If we have to replace our equipment, we sell them off to be reused or send them for recycling. They are not sent to the landfill.
3. We switch off all appliances every night in order to save electricity.
4. We use energy efficient lighting systems and request our staff to turn off the lights if there is ample sunlight in the room.
5. We only buy recycled print cartridges and send them for recycling when they finish up.
6. We purchase rechargeable batteries.
7. We avoid using disposable CDs, and we also recycle mobile phones, currency and coins.
8. We run our heating and air conditioning systems at optimal temperature so as to ensure energy efficiency and provide our staff with a comfortable environment.
9. We provide our employees with warm fleece during the winters.
10. The heating and air conditioning systems are used as consented by the staff and turned off at nights and weekends.

Transport
1. We have an active staff that lives near the office.
2. We encourage our employees to walk, cycle or use the public transport system when traveling.
3. We regularly maintain our vehicles and use them only when absolutely necessary.
4. We often use the public transport or opt for carpooling in case of events.

Water
1. We boil only the water amounts which are actually required.
2. We do not wash dishes in running water, but opt for plugging the sink.
3. We have installed water savers in the toilets.
4. We use only biodegradable cleaning products that do not harm the environment.
5. Other than human waste and toilet paper, we do not flush anything down the toilet.