ISV is committed to actively engaging volunteers in responsible behavior while on tour. We do this through carefully selecting our activities, accommodations and transport providers, encouragement from our tour leaders, working closely with our operators to improve standards, and always being open to improving and learning. ISV’s Goals for the Volunteers’ Experiences on Tour:
- To discover and explore natural and cultural environments.
- To gain an appreciation of natural and cultural environments.
- To engage in cultural and adventure based activities that challenge and promote personal growth and development.
- To enjoy positive group interactions in a safe and open environment through teambuilding activities; and
- To gain an understanding of the principles and practices of responsible tourism.
ISV tours are carefully structured to mix adventure, nature, culture and education. Certain activities are included from an educational standpoint to enable the volunteers to broaden their understanding of important facts about sites that they are visiting. For example, prior to snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, ISV has a customized 1.5 hour presentation on the reef including marine biology, threats to the coral reef and how to snorkel responsibly. In Costa Rica, our volunteers participate in the Maleku indigenous tribe’s cultural performance which helps preserve a dying culture and contributes economically to the community while enabling volunteers to learn about the smallest tribes in Central America.
Our selection of activity operators and hotels is an important part of responsible tourism. We do our best to select responsible operators given the options available, and always encourage volunteers to follow guidelines to minimize waste reduction, and water and energy consumption. For example, our YHA accommodations in Wellington, New Zealand, has won numerous sustainability awards in the hospitality sector and we request a brief presentation for our groups on their environmental strategies and how volunteers can make their hostel stay as sustainable as possible. In Thailand, ISV’s hilltribe trek operator East West Siam, and Lisu Lodge, have also been recognized internationally for their role in hiring and training local hilltribe people, providing local employment to the villagers as well as low-impact tourism. In every ISV adventure tour, there are numerous examples such as these.