What is Responsible Travel?
We care about how our experiences impact host communities.
DRAGONS DEFINES RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL AS…
travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.
HOW DO WE TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY?
- Prioritizing the employment of instructors who represent the communities in which we work.
- Limiting group sizes to 12 participants with three experienced and knowledgeable instructors.
- Working to offset our carbon emissions. Dragons began offsetting 100% of our administrative carbon footprint in 2019 and most of our footprint from program flights in 2020. We recognize offsets are not a cure-all climate solution, yet they offer a crucial strategy for harm reduction as we reduce our environmental impact through a variety of initiatives.
- Honoring and respecting local cultures and traditions through:
- Language learning
- Dressing modestly in line with local standards
- Humbly acknowledging what we have to learn from the communities we visit, rather than imposing our own views and culture
- Doing as people who live locally do & putting our travel dollars into the local economy by:
- Avoiding work through agents or Western enterprises that divert funds away from local actors
- Using public transit
- Staying in homestays and locally-owned guest houses
- Shopping at community-run stores
- Eating at local restaurants
- Consuming locally produced commodities; avoiding imported goods
- Directly contracting guest speakers, local teachers, internship providers, etc., and compensating them fairly and appropriately
- Planning service projects in line with local interests and needs by:
- Undertaking projects that have been identified in collaboration with the community
- Working side-by-side with members of the local community
- Never participating in any travel that is exploitative of local people or ecosystems.
- Modeling our Core Values (humility, compassion, interconnectedness) in interactions with people of all segments of society, regardless of class, gender, ethnicity, or belief-system
By traveling thoughtfully and responsibly, every Dragons program offers a deep and authentic experience in every country where we travel. This allows our students to grow and learn, to foster cross-cultural understanding through friendship and shared experience, and to make a positive and lasting contribution in the communities we visit.