At Regent Holidays we understand that travel to any part of the world impacts on the environment, people and culture of that country. We believe that we have a responsibility to minimise that impact as much as possible and even try to create positive benefits for the region. Read more to learn about our policies on social, economic and environmental considerations.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” At Regent Holidays we deal with locally owned, managed and staffed ground agents and, where possible, try and stay in locally owned hotels and lodges. The ground agents pay a fair salary to staff and provide regular training to support their future development. By doing so all wages paid to the staff generated from our partnership remains in their own community and is spent by them as they see fit.
We aim to produce authentic experiences on our trips so guests of the countries can learn about the communities and cultures they visit to the benefit of both locals and visitors. We encourage all visitors to respect local customs and religions: through positive interaction with local communities not only does this generate a mutual respect between cultures it helps produce a more enriching experience for visitors and locals alike.
Here at Regent Holidays we work with Working Knowledge, a social enterprise that creates chances for young people to open doors into employment. By taking part in their Employer Experience scheme, we are able to offer local Level 1 Travel and Tourism students from City of Bristol College the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into a real working environment.
All Regent Holidays tours, be they group or tailor-made itineraries, are created with environmental principles in mind. Of course the necessary carbon emissions generated by flying to our destinations cannot be overlooked and as a result we encourage our clients to offset their carbon footprint through the Reduce my Footprint scheme, the travel industry climate programme. On the ground we try and avoid unnecessary flying where possible and use local trains, boats and other forms of public transport when appropriate.
We try to use small hotels and lodges which have environmental policies of their own in place, for example, those who avoid using plastic bottles, who recycle or generate electricity through renewable sources. We avoid large ‘all-inclusive’ properties which often use imported food and beverages thus denying the local community an important source of revenue. A lot of our preferred Asian properties these days subscribe to a sustainable certification programme such as Earth Check or Green Globe to ensure they are meeting strict environmental and socially responsible policies.
Tour guides and group tour leaders are advised to dispose of all rubbish generated by themselves and clients responsibly and recycle wherever facilities exist. They also offer clients advice on which, if any, wildlife establishments to avoid such as elephant camps or zoos to help raise awareness on wildlife mistreatment or to avoid supporting the illegal sourcing of animals.
In Iceland many of our local partners are working towards gaining membership of VAKINN, which was introduced last year. The aim of this project is to strengthen quality and safety in tourism in Iceland by means of guidance and support, as well as developing a sense of social responsibility. It aims to do this by introducing a code of conduct for local businesses to follow.
All clients receive a ‘code of conduct’ document before departure which details how they can minimise their overall impact on the country they are travelling to including such things as electricity conservation, avoiding buying animal products, keeping to marked hiking trails etc.
In-house responsibility and charities
At Regent Holidays the staff are committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible. Many of the staff cycle or walk into work, some car-share and others use public transport. All paper as well as aluminium cans and plastic are recycled and stamps are sent to the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind) who generate funds from them.
Regent Holidays actively support and donate to several charities including the following:
Orangutan Appeal UK
Orangutan Appeal UK works closely with Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre near Sandakan, Borneo who aim to rehabilitate and help propagate the endangered orangutan population with a staged wild release programme. With each Borneo booking through Regent Holidays our chosen Sepilok juvenile orangutan, Gelison, is adopted in the client names for a year. This donation contributes to the important work being done at Sepilok.
Draktsho Vocational Training Centre for Special Children and Youths
Draktsho is a service-oriented civil society organisation which aspires to enhance the living standards of disabled youths through empowerment. One of the greatest challenges for the Draktsho is to erase the deeply embedded stigma that the disabled cannot learn and earn a living. Through training and eventual integration into the mainstream population, Draktsho aims to equip disadvantaged youths with the tools to help themselves. With each Bhutan booking through Regent Holidays a contribution is made to Draktsho to help fund the training and further education of some of Bhutan’s most vulnerable citizens.
Chernobyl Heart was set up by two clients who had previously travelled with Regent Holidays to Belarus and who were moved to do something about the lives of the children still being affected by the fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The tragic events of 1986 caused thousands of tonnes of radioactive material to affect the surrounding natural environment leaving long-lasting effects on the populace. As the new generation of residents start families in an attempt to move on, many years later children are still being born with cardiac conditions which heavily affect their quality of life. Here at Regent Holidays we donate to this organisation in an attempt to help alleviate at least one child’s suffering.
ChildAid was established in 1973 and, over the years, has evolved into a charitable organisation involved in helping street children and those from families living in crisis in Belarus, Moldova, Russia and the Ukraine. This is done through the sponsorship of children and abandoned babies with funds going towards providing long-term care. Some staff members at Regent Holidays have personally sponsored a child and are updated regularly on their progress and all clients travelling to the area are provided with information on ChildAid so they can choose to get involved if they so wish.
Regent Holidays also supports ‘Pack for a Purpose’, a charity established to encourage direct contributions to worthy causes around the world. Their goal is to assist travellers who wish to extend their generosity to local communities by advising on specific projects and charities in their destination of choice and the equipment they may urgently need. This equipment tends to be easily and relatively cheaply obtained in client’s home countries and is then dropped off with the relevant ground agent or at the specific lodging. Such supplies can be as simple as pencils and notebooks up to puzzles and printers, each project has a specific list of requirements which will be supplied along with details of how to contribute.
At Regent Holidays we are aware that our approach to responsible tourism and charitable support is an on-going process that requires a continuous commitment from the team and local agents. We actively encourage clients to help us achieve the best possible results through their valuable feedback on how we could increase our positive impacts.