|Our Responsible Travel policy|
We hope to raise awareness of the delicate balance that exists,between the need for foreign investment and revenue from tourism and the needs of local environments and the wildlife and people that inhabit them via tours we organize.
We encourage our travelers to act in a responsible manner due to guidelines telling by our guides and these are re-emphasized during a pre-departure talkat the start of all our trips.This information is also provided on our website in order to help travelers prepare for their trip in an environmentally responsible way. These include the appropriate disposal of litter and waste materials; water conservation; respecting and conserving wildlife and their habitats; purchasing of endangered species products, respecting and acting due to local culture, and so on.
Some of our trips – Khinalug and Mud Volcanoes – we use local transport: local taxi,minivan, because of road off situation.
If possible, we try to make tea break, lunch or to stay at local house to make local touch for our guests to live local culture, traditions, hospitality. This project supports local community in a variety of ways.
We try to reduce paper usage as much as possible.
All our travelers are provided with detailed pre-departure information upon booking one of our trips. This includes information on respecting local customs, traditions and beliefs-particularly in terms of taking photos, what to wear etc. On the majority of our trips,VIACAUCASUS TOURS & MICE offers travelers the opportunity to visit local people on route where they are able to interact with the local people and 'contribute' in some way.
Our aim is to put as much back into the local communities.We only use local restaurants, guides (when relevant), hotels or houseson the region we visit.We encourage our travelers to use local restaurants and to buy their souvenirs from small, often, co-operatively run providers for example craft markets and where local artists sell direct. All the hotels we use on trips are small and locally run. We do not use international chains (if is not asked by guests).
Your role in travelling responsibly
We believe that as individual travelers there is a lot that you can do too. Here are a few ideas:
Before you Go.
- Recycling facilities as in many of the countries do not exist in the way of Azerbaijan. Therefore, whenever possible remove and recycle any unnecessary packaging before you go on toiletries etc.
- Purchase and use rechargeable batteries for your cameras, ipods, phones etc, we have 12V cigarette sockets on our vehicles, so all you need is a charger.
- Learn some of words in Azeri language and read up on local history/culture before you go. You will get so much more out of your trip. This make also local people happy when you try to speak in local language.
While you're travelling
- Look after and preserve the areas we visit.
- Buy locally made crafts and products - if possible direct from the artisan. Also buy locally made products, generally this will help to support local economies.
- Bargaining is the purchasing custom in Azerbaijan as in many of other countries, but don't feel that you have to get the cheapest price possible just for the sake of it, or to show off your bargaining prowess in front of your fellow travelers. Pay what the item is worth to you. The equivalent of a few manats (Azerbaijan currency) may mean the difference between a meal for the sellers family or not. Remember how wealthy you are compared to local people.
- Exchange your currency to Azerbaijan manat, before you travel. Trading is made in manats
- Try the local food and drinks - this will help to support local farmers and food sellers. Sitting in a local café is also a great way to meet local people.
- Dispose of litter appropriately on your trip. This includes cigarette butts. Not only does litter look unsightly it can be lethal to wildlife. Where any toilet facilities exist, however unsavory they might seem to you, they should be used. Where they do not, always bury your waste and make sure it is never near, (at least 30m) from a water source.
- Avoid polluting of water (river, irrigation ditch). People are using for drink
- Respect - Respect the local customs, traditions and beliefs of the peoples in the different regions that you travel through. Do not take photos of people, ritual events or special places unless you have asked first.
- Dress appropriately according to local codes. This not only shows respect to the local people,but also will save you a lot of undue attention and potential aggravation. In some villages, men do not wear short. Also, show respect around religious festivals such as Ramadan-although the strict codes around this time do not apply to foreigners it is polite and respectful to abide or at least be aware of them and it may well give you a different perspective and understanding on the local culture and people. People who is not fasting do not eat or drink on place where others could see.
- Photos-ask before taking photos of local people and if possible send the person a copy of it when you get back home.
- Ladies has to close their head and knees before entering to mosque. It is not polite in Islam women speech heard by men in mosque. It can distract their pray.
- Most of local people are shy about tips. They do everything as a hospitality. Never wait payments. If you want to give tips to local family or people, you can put under saucer on the table, or direct to the pocket of man (not lady).
- In regions do not wait European style toilet closets. It is Eastern style (except hotels).