Kyrgyz Guides Team sustainability policy

Our travel agency cares about people and the environment, therefore we take several actions that help us minimize our negative impact and maximize the positive impact on nature and communities in the directions in which we conduct excursions.

Office

Green Office Policy: Unfortunately we do not use an office. But if we decide to open an office, we will try to use the green office policy as much as possible, the main points of which are: sorting waste, using environmentally friendly things, saving water, energy and, of course, decent wages for our team members and all those with whom we cooperate.

Transport

Transport is an important part of providing logistics in tourism. The overall impression of the tourist about the tour operator depends on the quality of transport. The safety of the group depends on the professionalism of the driver and those of the transport. Transport is also an important aspect of sustainable tourism, so we do our best to reduce the average level of pollution.
● We comply with all the requirements of the law of the Kyrgyz Republic (insurance, patents, etc.)
● We monitor the safety and technical health of transport (the presence of seat belts and car seats for
children and the availability of conditions for people with disabilities)
● We track the time of drivers while driving
● We check the competence, experience, and feedback of the driver / s.
● We monitor the comfort and cleanliness of transport
● We drive only during the daytime
● We check the availability of a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher and other necessary means
● We follow the obligations of safe driving and observance of traffic rules.
● We check the availability of pass documents for border areas.
● Choosing the size and type of vehicle depending on the size of the group
● We optimize routes so that the time in transport does not take longer than necessary
● We try to ensure that vehicles used on tours do not cause more than average pollution
● We train our drivers in the principles of economical driving, which helps not only to reduce fuel consumption, operating costs but also to make the environment safer and cleaner

Accommodations

We are trying to create a fully sustainable tourism supply chain. Accommodations for partners play an important role in achieving this, they stimulate and motivate to integrate sustainable working methods.
● Accommodation facilities are selected following the standards of the company, the specifics of the tour, the budget, and the specifics of the tourist
● We check those accommodation facilities are officially legally registered and comply with the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic (including that the facility’s employees have labor contracts, decent working conditions, and there are no forced or child labor)
● All accommodation facilities we cooperate with are owned by residents and 100% of their employees are representatives of the local community
● All our facilities are in good technical condition and comply with health and safety standards, for example, they all have a first-aid kit, fire-fighting equipment
● We check the technical condition of the building and the environmental friendliness of building materials
● The offered food is always of high quality, fresh, and, if possible, grown and produced in Kyrgyzstan; we buy meat, vegetables, and dairy products from farmers who live near the property
● When choosing accommodation facilities, we choose those that care about the environment (sorting
waste, abandoning disposable plastic, installing water and energy meters and trying to reduce their
consumption, have purification facilities for the safe disposal of wastewater, use chemicals with a low
content of toxic substances, use energy-saving lamps and equipment)
● We have a clear preference for dwellings that have sustainability certification, such as Travelife or at
least a published sustainability policy, and take concrete action in this direction
● We train all our partners in the principles of sustainable tourism, protection of human rights,
protection of children’s rights, ethics in business, and environmental management

Food and drink

Food is a very important element of the trip, which greatly influences the overall impression of the visited region. We make sure that the food and drinks on our tours are tasty, fresh, safe, ecological, and represent our local area and culinary traditions as much as possible, as well as that the amount of waste
in the process of preparing and serving food is minimized.
● We check that the cafes and restaurants we cooperate with are officially legally registered and comply
with the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic (including that employees have employment contracts, decent working conditions, and there are no forced or child labor)
● We check the cooking technology, food safety, sanitary conditions, and the availability of sanitary and epidemiological books and certificates of employees
● Encouraging tourists about local food and how food and certain foods relate to our culture; we try to include the maximum number of national and regional dishes in the menu during the tours, but at the same time we warn tourists about the specific ingredients and flavors of our dishes.
● We respect the preferences of tourists in food (upon prior request, we will prepare meals taking into account dietary preferences and allergies, for example, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, etc.)
● We minimize food waste, for example, we optimize the portion size, and the establishments we work with have a system for processing food waste, for example, they put food waste into compost, have food tanks for waste, install biogas plants, etc.
● We do not offer water in individual disposable bottles – instead, we offer water from a large dispenser and ask our customers to use reusable bottles; Regardless of the condition, our water is always absolutely safe!
● When serving food in establishments as well as during hikes, we do not use disposable tableware; we have reusable glasses, mugs, plates, and cutlery.
● We encourage all our catering partners to adhere to food codes and practices, the importance of using local and quality products, and how to reduce single-use plastic, food waste and properly sort, recycle and dispose of them

Our tours

On our tours, we protect the authenticity of communities and the environment and we are strongly against harming wildlife and polluting the environment. We strive to maximize the positive impact and minimize the negative impact on the destination to ensure the sustainable development of the places in which we operate.
● Do not offer excursions that harm people, animals, plants, natural resources, or that are socially and culturally unacceptable;
● We take into account aspects of sustainability in the process of choosing new directions and offer an alternative, non-main directions
● We comply with the legal norms of spatial planning, protected areas, and natural and cultural heritage
● Whenever possible, we refuse, or at least minimize, trips to destinations in which nature suffers greatly from the negative impact of tourism and monitor a total load of natural places
● We support the conservation of biodiversity, including protected areas and areas of high biodiversity in our routes
● During trips to natural areas, we refuse disposable plastic and also do not leave garbage (we collect it and safely dispose of it at designated points)
● We do not promote souvenirs containing endangered species of flora and fauna, as indicated in the CITES Treaty and the IUCN Red List; or historical and archaeological artifacts (except as permitted by law)
● We cooperate with the local administration and other industry representatives to encourage and promote sustainable tourism development in the areas in which we operate
● We advise guests on standards of conduct during excursions and activities with an emphasis on respect for local people and communities, local culture, nature, and the environment

Guided tours with animals

We love our animals, wild and domestic, and therefore always take care of their rights and welfare. If you come across animals such as horses or golden eagles on our tours, you can be sure that they are well-fed, healthy, and living a happy life.
● We do not offer any excursions involving wild animals in captivity, except for properly regulated activities following local, national, and international legislation;
● We are not affiliated with companies that harvest, consume, exhibit, sell, or trade species of wild animals, unless it is part of a regulated activity that ensures that their use is sustainable and following local, national and international law
● Think twice when organizing tours with animals
● We select experienced suppliers who comply with the norms and laws of the Kyrgyz Republic and treat their animals with care and responsibility
● We instruct tourists on how to properly behave with animals to avoid any risks; in no case do we allow tourists into alcoholic and drug intoxication
● All guides are trained in safety principles and will react quickly if something happens
● We monitor the safety of both tourists and animals.
● Animals meet veterinary requirements, we check the presence of a veterinary book
● All animals that take part in tours or shows are fed, live in good conditions, treat with care (owners do not beat the animal, do not use spurs)
● When planning tours, take into account the climate, the terrain of the tours, the load, and the maximum time of use

Special rules for horse riding

– We select an experienced groom
– We select horses depending on the experience of the tourist and the nature of the animal
– Check the availability of appropriate equipment (presence of a horseshoe, etc.)
– Equipment – we check the equipment for tourists
– We check the carrying capacity (person – up to 100-110 kg, parterre up to 80 kg)
– Distance – about 30-40 km per day, operation – 6 hours in mountain conditions, on a straight track – 8 hours
– We carry out safety briefings for tourists
– We train horse guides – they are all over 18 years old

Special Rules for Birds of Prey Shows

– We do not use red book birds (falcons)
– We check the availability of appropriate equipment (the presence of a cap, etc.)
– We do not export birds from their usual habitat
– We do not use live animals for prey in demonstrations
– We observe the appropriate clothes of tourists (no hanging elements in clothes)
– Can’t use a drone when filming

Guides and tour leaders

We exclusively employ residents as guides and provide a fair and safe work environment that supports and respects local communities.
● When hiring guides, we comply with legal regulations, decent wages, and working conditions
● All our guides and staff have a written employment contract and understand the working conditions
● We give the entire guide specific instructions regarding the professional and ethical service of guests.
● All our guides know the rules of health and safety, know how to provide first aid and what to do in case of emergency
● We only hire qualified guides to accompany our guests, precisely when visiting sensitive cultural sites, heritage sites, or environmentally sensitive places
● We inform all our guides and contract employees about the company’s sustainability policy and teach the principles of environmental behavior and care for the environment, as well as human rights and the
protection of children’s rights

Guests/Visitors/Customers/Clients

The well-being of our customers and their satisfaction are very important to us.
● We provide high-quality and truthful information about our products and services
● Protecting private data and confidentiality of clients
● We care about the health and safety of our guests, so we regularly train our staff on how to act in emergencies
● We inform clients even before arrival about how to prepare for a visit to our country and a specific tour
● We advise our clients on how to travel responsibly and environmentally in our country, how to maintain the local population and culture
● We inform our guests about the key aspects and problems of sustainable development in our country and give recommendations on how to make a positive contribution
● Provide information about commercial, sexual, or any other form of exploitation and harassment, especially of children and adolescents;
● Motivate customers to visit local restaurants and shops and buy local souvenirs, but also warn about illegal souvenirs
● We systematically assess the level of satisfaction of our customers and take measures to improve services and products, and in case of complaints, we consider them and respond quickly.