We are completely committed to the cause of sustainable and responsible tourism. Here are some of the concrete steps we have taken to promote responsible tourism in North-East India:
1. Working with community based tourism initiatives: Gypsyfeet consciously seeks out community based tourism initiatives that benefit communities with limited sources of income. As part of this, we take our guests to community based tourism spots – examples of this: Mawllynong, a village in Bangladesh/India border where the community has built up an excellent tourism inititiative. Since we identified this village we have been taking our guests there to help the local community efforts.
2.. Emphasis on stay in eco-friendly houses and home-stays : We understand the burden tourism puts on the local community resources. Rather than large concrete structures that require huge amount of resources to sustain ( and are a blight on the landscape) we put up our guests in ethnic houses/home-stays whereever feasible. For example, in Majuli island on the Brahmaputra river, our guests stay at a bamboo and thatch house built in the ethnic style and run by a local household.
3. Small group size: A large group of tourists can disrupt normal life of the community they are visiting. We consciously keep our group sizes small in order to ensure minimal impact as well as have a more normal interaction. Our group sizes are 5-6 guests per trip compared to 15-20 person group sizes of other tour operators.
4. Promoting local craft: We encourage our guests to buy directly from the weavers/ artisans rather than from city stores so that the maximum economic benefit goes to the producers.
5. Promoting conservation efforts: Our trips include lesser known destinations such as Ultapani in Assam and Balpakram in Garo Hills in Meghalaya where the local youth volunteer in forest conservation efforts. We eventually hope to include volunteer tourism as part of our packages – thereby helping in the tourism efforts as well as benefiting the community economically.
6. Promoting local culture and instilling pride in heritage: We take our guests on village tours and home visits to experience living culture. This is an important part of all our packages.