With TOG tours / excursions you discover many responsibilities.
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserve the environment, support local communities, protect the most vulnerable and respect the places we travel.
All our staff, suppliers and personnel are trained on these principles and are fundamental to us by offering sustainable tours rich in a unique emotional experience.
TOG fosters positive and meaningful exchanges between our business, our travelers and the local places we visit.
• Respecting the different cultures in all the destinations we travel to.
• Respect religions, religious places and local rituals.
• Observe and respect local customs and etiquette.
• Encourage local interaction and understanding of the local way of life.
• Emphasize appropriate dress standards.
• Ask for permission before taking pictures.
• Ban the use of illegal drugs on our tours / excursions.
• Represent destinations fairly and respectfully in our communications and marketing materials.
We work to maximize the benefits generated by tourism for local economies and communities.
• Employing predominantly local staff and guides within our operations teams (both our destination management companies, and suppliers employing local people).
• Travel design and management to feature local suppliers or suppliers who directly benefit the local community and economy.
• Encourage our travelers to buy from local suppliers and use local service providers, as well as support social enterprises, local commerce, arts and crafts.
• Purchase of sustainable and locally produced goods and services rather than imported products.
• Ensure that fair business practices are adopted (and that suppliers who have similar business practices are used).
• Involve the local community in the decision making process.
• Pay the relevant taxes.
• Provide each of our suppliers with our Supplier Code of Conduct to influence our supply chain to operate more sustainably.
• Do not engage in any form of bribery, bribery or fraud.
We aim to contribute to the conservation of the 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 travels and in the destinations we visit.
During our travels
• Use local transportation where safe, reliable and feasible, and when this is not feasible, use locally owned private transportation.
• Ensure that our vehicles / fleets are well maintained and fuel efficient.
• Encourage travelers to minimize their waste and water consumption while traveling.
• Encourage our suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices or to choose suppliers who have already adopted greener practices.
• Eat at local restaurants (limiting food miles).
• Shopping in local markets offering local products, items, souvenirs, etc.
In the destinations we visit
• Understand environmental problems in destinations and minimize our direct impact (eg if there is a local deforestation problem, we will avoid buying and using firewood for a campfire).
• Ensure that our passengers conserve and do not contaminate the local environmental water supply.
• Obey all rules for visitors to national parks, private parks, and marine parks and reserves.
• Using a “responsible” waste management system
• Minimize the use of intrusive devices (such as lights) and minimize noise at culturally significant and other sensitive locations.
• Discourage travelers from touching fragile environments (eg corals or cave formations).
In our offices
• Implementation of energy saving initiatives (such as more efficient lighting / equipment).
• Ensure better waste management using the “avoid, reuse, reduce, recycle” principles.
• Adoption of best purchasing practices.
• Implementation of water saving initiatives to reduce consumption.
We protect and care for people, especially the most vulnerable, by observing fundamental human rights principles as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and making sure to promote 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 Support businesses managed or managed by women and / or minorities where available (such as local cooperatives, educational initiatives, etc.)
o Trying to represent women and minorities in decision-making processes that affect their local communities where possible.
o Ensure that we are not engaging in any activity or using suppliers / services that discriminate against, exploit or treat women and / or minority groups.
How we protect children:
We protect minors (aged 17 and under) from all forms of abuse:
• We do not employ minors, nor do we use suppliers or shelters that allow minors to carry out illegal work or that may endanger the child’s health, safety or morals.
• We have strong measures in place to ensure that Intrepid’s respective suppliers, travelers and partners are not involved in child exploitation, including training relevant employees / leaders on child protection and raising awareness of our passengers on how to report exploitation juvenile.
• We promote credible initiatives that safeguard and help the positive development of children (eg schools and childcare initiatives).
• We do not visit childcare centers or orphanages on our itineraries or during press / media trips.
You can read more about how we aim to protect children by reading our
Child Protection Policy.
How we protect animals:
We oppose any exploitative or illegal practices and those that have a negative impact on animal welfare. As a business we work to promote the five freedoms that should be available to all animals, wild or domestic:
• Freedom from hunger and thirst.
• Freedom from discomfort.
• Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
• Freedom to express normal behavior.
• Freedom from fear and distress.
We conduct appropriate research to ensure that we do not promote, visit or participate in any activity that does not respect the five freedoms listed above.
You can read more about how we aim to protect wildlife by reading our
Animal Welfare Policy.
We recognize that exposure to tourism in Madagascar has the potential to increase the risk of harm to children, so we seek to ensure that children and their families are protected.
The term “child protection” refers to the prevention and response to violence, exploitation and abuse against children. This includes commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labor and harmful traditional practices.
Some children are more vulnerable than others, some live in conditions of poverty, high tourism areas, without parental care and perhaps in conflict with the law.
Violations of a child’s right to protection occur in all countries of the world.
In addition to violating human rights, these violations are also seriously under-recognized and underestimated threats to a child’s survival and development.
Purchase from children
Children who sell souvenirs, performances or otherwise participate in child labor and are at greater risk of suffering harm from violence, abuse and exposure to unsafe situations.
Begging for money and food prevents children from accessing support services designed to keep them safe, healthy and in school.
TOG does not in any way support or encourage travelers to purchase souvenirs, benefits or other items from “child” vendors, or to give money or food to begging children.
Visits to schools
Tourists visiting schools in Madagascar need to be aware they can disrupt pupils’ learning ability, visiting schools and giving gifts also promotes the belief that all tourists are safe and perpetuates ideas of inequality.
In the case of tours / excursions in which the schools are visited, our staff will be asked when it will be possible to do so, it would be necessary to follow the following guidelines:
• No direct gifts should be given to students of the visiting school;
• Visits should take place as part of a tourist / student cultural exchange.
• When children receive gifts from tourists, they are more likely to skip school to beg;
• Giving candy to children increases the risk of tooth decay and oral problems, which can cause significant harm in countries with minimal dental hygiene facilities;
• Many gifts are simply resold to local stores.
Child labor and child exploitation
TOG chooses to work with suppliers and partners who respect our Code of Conduct.
If any of the following is displayed, please inform your guide / escort:
• Children who work in hotels, carry bags, cook, serve customers or clean;
• Local children entering or leaving the hotel with foreigners;
Local children entering or leaving hotel rooms;
• Local children can enter the hotel to beg or sell items to guests.
Many travelers like to document their experiences by taking photographs of the people and places they visit.
Some guidelines we recommend following include:
The images and messages must always respect the dignity, values, history, religion and culture of the people portrayed;
Permission should always be asked from the subjects of the photographs if they are identifiable and, in the case of children, permission should be asked from their parents;
Be aware of how children’s pictures are shared, including on social media.
Where possible, keep pictures of children in your private collection;
It is also a good idea to avoid the following photographs:
• Children on the street, or in schools, kindergartens and orphanages;
• Snuggle / pose with children;
• Use children as props in photos.
Instead, try taking photos that show local communities, landscapes, families, and attractions.
We actively discourage the participation of TOG travelers in any activity that exploits wild or domestic / working animals.
We believe that wild animals need to be seen, without any contact or interaction, doing what they do best: living in nature.
Selfie or selfish?
In some parts of the world, you may encounter locals who have taken animals in the wild so that tourists can pay to be photographed with them. We advise our groups NOT to participate in this activity, it is not known how these animals are treated. Are they addicted? Are they fed correctly? Are they kept in inappropriate conditions? Bottom line, unless it’s a purring cat or wavy tailed dog, walk away – the profile photo isn’t worth it.
We also discourage people from visiting places that offer animal shows, “selfie” opportunities, or direct interactions with wild animals. The animals involved in these activities are sometimes taken from the wild, raised in intensive conditions, taken prematurely from their mothers as children and subjected to cruel physical and psychological conditioning to make them compliant and performing at the right time. Visiting these places perpetuates a cycle of animal cruelty.
With TOG tours / excursions you only visit facilities involving wild animals in captivity only if the logic of the sanctuary’s operation is in the best interest of the animals involved (i.e. only visiting animal sanctuaries and / or rescue / breeding centers that operate with the highest possible animal welfare and conservation standards).
We work together to develop partnerships with organizations and projects that care for the community and the environment through fundraising, advocacy or lobbying.
We only work with organizations that can demonstrate:
• Good governance on their projects (which are legal, transparent and accountable).
• Integrity in fulfilling its mandate and measuring and evaluating the impact of its programs.
• Do not participate in any activity harmful to people, animals or the environment.
• They do not impose religious or political affiliations on others.
• They are not solely dependent on TOG funds.
• Serenity and transparency in their aims and objectives.