Ten years ago, American Greg Findley founded Detour – the Local Travel Marketplace – to connect travelers seeking unique adventure tours with top-quality, sustainable, local tour operators. After 20+ years as a guide and operations manager in the US and in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, Africa, the Philippines, and Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Costa Rica in Latin America, Greg learned first-hand how to craft great travel experiences for travelers, and he came to understand fully what makes a great adventure tour. He also learned that international tourism must benefit the local people and it must help to protect the local environment in the travel destination. Detour is committed to tourism that is both great fun, but also that helps to make the world a better place.
As an important part of its sustainable tour operations mission, Detour minimizes its own operational carbon emissions then mitigates what it cannot eliminate in partnership with Carbonfund.org. As a virtual company, Detour maintains only a small wind-powered office with some employees working from home. Detour handles all tour information and customer communications online, replacing paper and printing with electronic documents. And for the past ten years, Detour has neutralized all remaining operational emissions through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program. To date, Detour has neutralized almost 740,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by 8600 tree seedlings planted then grown over a ten-year period.
“As a company based on promoting small-scale tourism directly through socially and environmentally responsible local tour operators and outfitters, Detour is committed to protecting the environment and minimizing global climate change,” said Greg Findley, Detour’s CEO.
Working only with sustainable local travel companies ensures that the tours support the local economies. Detour selects tour operations that employ local people and provide economic incentives for local people to protect their natural and cultural resources. Traveling with local companies also gives travelers a window into the lives of the communities they visit. This inside knowledge can make the difference between being a tourist and thoroughly experiencing and learning about a destination.
Taking a trip, even the most sustainably-planned tour, has some negative environmental impacts, including the carbon emissions of airplane travel and on-site ground transportation. Detour advises its customers to become environmentally-responsible travelers by choosing a sustainable trip, taking fewer and longer trips, and trying to get direct air flights when possible. Detour also encourages tour customers to purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions from their flights through Carbonfund.org, in order to take responsibility to neutralize vacation travel emissions. Carbonfund.org congratulates Detour on its tenth anniversary as a Carbonfree® Business Partner and in maintaining its ongoing commitment to environmentally sustainable tour operations.
Global travel and tour operators have the opportunity to experience many of the world’s wonders and often witness the environmental changes occurring in the places they visit. This heightened sensitivity to the condition of the natural environmental and the potential impacts of travel and tourism should lead to an elevated sense of responsibility to “do no harm”. Carbonfund.org Partner Cultural Tour Consultants takes this responsibility seriously. They specialize in customized, in-depth study tours covering the visual arts, music, language, history and gastronomy, for individuals, school groups, universities, churches, and community groups.
As part of their core values, Cultural Tour Consultants is committed to promoting sustainable tourism worldwide. For the past six years, they have partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the company’s carbon footprint through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program, supporting reforestation projects around the world.
"Travel promotes firsthand knowledge of our planet, its cultural heritage and its natural resources,” explains Melissa Reed, Cultural Tour Consultants Partner. “We, as travel professionals, have an obligation to do what we can to promote sustainable tourism and encourage the exploration and appreciation the Earth and its people.”
Cultural Tour Consultants also offers clients the ability to offset their tour flight emissions directly from the Cultural Tour Consultants’ website by linking to Carbonfund.org’s flight calculator. Their website is loaded with other information regarding healthy and safe travel, passport/visa and insurance matters, what and how best to pack. As a six-year CarbonFree® Partner, Cultural Tour Consultants continue to demonstrate leadership in consistent care for their tour clients and for the places they visit.