Our responsible travel policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our responsible travel policy by clicking on the headings below.
Bella Sicilia Tours promotes positive and meaningful exchanges between our business, our travelers and the local places we visit. We do this by:
• Respecting different cultures in all destinations we travel to.
• Respecting local religions, religious places and rituals.
• Observing and respecting local customs and etiquette.
• Encouraging local interaction and understanding of the local way of life.
• Emphasizing appropriate dress standards.
• Asking permission before photographing.
• Forbidding the use of illegal drugs on our trips.
• Portraying destinations fairly and respectfully in our communications and marketing material.
We work to maximize the benefits generated by tourism for local economies and communities. We do this by:
• Employing predominantly local staff and leaders within our operational teams (either our own Destination Management Companies, or suppliers who employ locals).
• Designing and operating trips to feature local suppliers or suppliers who directly benefit the local community and economy.
• Encouraging our travelers to purchase from local suppliers and use local service providers, as well as supporting social enterprises, local trade, arts and crafts.
• Purchasing sustainable and locally produced goods and services rather than imported products.
• Ensuring we have fair employment practices in place (and using suppliers who have similar employment practices).
• Involving the local community in decision making.
• Paying relevant taxes.
• Issuing each of our suppliers with our Supplier Code of Conduct to influence our supply chain to operate in a more sustainable way.
• Not engaging in any form of bribery, corruption or fraudulent activities.
We aim to contribute to the preservation of natural and built environments in the destinations we visit, and to reduce the negative impacts our operations may have on the environment. We do this by minimizing the use of resources (energy, water, waste) and reducing our carbon emissions in our offices, on our trips and in the destinations we visit.
In our offices
• Implementing energy conservation initiatives (such as more efficient lighting/equipment).
• Ensuring better waste management by using ‘avoid, reuse, reduce, recycle’ principles.
• Adopting better purchasing practices (eg. sourcing products with post-consumer recycled content).
• Implementing water-saving initiatives to reduce consumption.
On our trips
• Using local transport where safe, reliable and feasible, and when this is not feasible, using private, locally owned transport.
• Ensuring our vehicles/fleets are well maintained and fuel-efficient.
• Encouraging travelers to minimize their waste and water usage on the trip.
• Encouraging our suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices or choosing suppliers who already have greener practices in place.
• Eating at local eateries (limiting food miles).
• Shopping at local markets offering local produce, items, souvenirs etc.
In the destinations we visit
• Understanding the environmental issues in destinations and minimizing our direct impact (eg. if there’s a local deforestation issue, we’ll avoid purchasing and using firewood for a campfire).
• Ensuring our passengers preserve and do not contaminate the local water supply.
• Observing all national and marine park visitor rules.
• Using a ‘take in, take back out’ system of waste management in remote regions and national parks.
• Using established or existing tracks and paths.
• Minimizing the use of intrusive devices (such as lights) and keeping noise to a minimum at culturally significant sites and other sensitive places.
• Discouraging travelers from touching fragile environments (eg. coral or formations in caves).
We protect and look after people – in particular, our most vulnerable – by observing basic human rights principles as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ensuring we are promoting among our staff, travelers, local communities and suppliers/business partners, their right to be treated with dignity, equality, freedom and respect.
How we protect women and minorities:
We promote equality through:
o Supporting enterprises run or staffed by women and/or minorities where available (such as local co-operatives, education initiatives etc.)
o Seeking women and minorities to be represented in decision-making that affects their local communities where possible.
o Ensuring we are not taking part in any activities or using suppliers/services that discriminate against, exploit or traffic women and/or minority groups.
How we protect children:
We protect children (those 17 years of age and under) from all forms of abuse:
o We do not employ children, nor do we use suppliers or patron places that allow children to perform work that is illegal or likely to jeopardies the child’s health, safety or morals.
o We put in place strong measures to ensure that respective suppliers, travelers and partners are not involved in the exploitation of children, including training relevant employees/leaders on child protection and raising awareness among our passengers on how to report incidents of child exploitation.
o We promote credible initiatives that safeguard and assist in the positive development of children (eg. schools and childcare initiatives).
o We do not visit children’s shelters or orphanages on our itineraries or on press/media trips.
How we protect animals:
We oppose any exploitative or illegal practices and those that have a negative impact on animal welfare. As a company we work towards promoting the five freedoms that should be available to all animals, wild or domestic:
o Freedom from hunger and thirst.
o Freedom from discomfort.
o Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
o Freedom to express normal behavior.
o Freedom from fear and distress.
We conduct appropriate research to ensure we do not promote, visit or participate in any activities that are failing to uphold the five freedoms listed above.