Our Ecotourism Policy
From nature conservation to ecotourism
Our ecotourism business grew out of our enthusiasm and appreciation of nature. In the past decade, we have been working on various conservation issues. Thinking of the root causes of declining biodiversity, we kept returning to the same conclusion: The society in the Western world is becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. While the past generations had respect for nature and the wisdom to exploit resources sustainably, this knowledge is now rapidly disappearing. The decline of biodiversity puts at risk the functioning of ecosystems and all the benefits and services we receive from them. But this is difficult to explain to people, which live in a digital world and only see nature on screens.
When developing our ecotourism business, it was a conscious decision to build it on the roots of our nature conservation NGO Institute Symbiosis. It took some restructuring, but at the same time, this also gave us a possibility to adapt our internal provisions to such an extent that we obtained a status of a social enterprise. This means that we continue to work on a non-profit basis, but we strive to develop products and services which will have positive impacts on the society and the environment. With ecotourism, we can achieve both. We can show to the local communities that preserved nature is an asset, which can be used to attract tourists, and bring revenues to the local communities.
At Institute Symbiosis, we aim to provide nature trips in a professional and sustainable manner. We are implementing several practices, which we believe, directly or indirectly contribute to safeguarding biodiversity and natural resources:
1. One of the main aims of our ecotourism products is to raise awareness of the species, habitats, cultural heritage, rural local communities and to encourage our participants to care more about the special places and species they will visit and see.
2. When developing our programs, we carefully select our routes to avoid the most vulnerable places and to minimise driving.
3. During our trips, we minimise disturbance to nature by running trips for small groups of maximum 16 participants
4. We actively encourage our participants to behave responsibly during our trips e.g. not to litter or disturb wildlife.
5. As a non-profit organisation, all revenues from our business are retained in the organisation and used for the development and co-financing of new nature conservation projects.
6. We regularly use our social media channels to raise awareness on various nature conservation issues.
7. Whenever possible, additional services are provided by local businesses, especially those with high environmental standards.
8. During our trips, we use reusable picnic cutlery and we refill tap water into used plastic water bottles.
9. We are actively reducing the quantity paper-based products where possible, and work to recycle all waste possible. Also, about 90% of our marketing is through the internet via our website, links, and social media.