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.
It’s spring – time to get outdoors and enjoy all the beauty and adventure that nature offers. For the past ten years, Central Coast Outdoors has arranged kayaking, biking and hiking tours in the California Central Coast region, and for the last five of those ten years, Central Coast Outdoors has neutralized its own operational emissions as a CarbonFree® Business Partner.
"Our company goal was to lower our emissions and impacts as much as we could and use carbon offsets and other mitigation measures to address the impacts that remained,” explained John Flaherty, co-owner of Central Coast Outdoors with his wife, Virginia. “We feel Carbonfund.org works hard to offset and repair environmental damage for organizations that advocate for a sustainable future."
Central Coast Outdoors has taken many additional steps to be an environmentally responsible tour company. They use highly fuel efficient hybrid vehicles for their tour transportation, installed solar electric panels on their office, use refillable water bottles and purchase produce and menu items from local farmers markets for tour meals. These efforts coupled with their ongoing commitment to maintaining a CarbonFree® business underscore Central Coast Outdoors’ dedication to being a truly sustainable tour operations company.
Get out there this spring – enjoy the outdoors, but be sure to choose tour operators that are truly dedicated to environmental responsibility like Central Coast Outdoors to plan your next adventure.