Our Responsible Tourism Policy

We aim to offer travellers a way to visit the hilltribes of northern Thailand in an authentic and respectful way. We believe in local travel away from the tourist crowds of package tours and commercial tourism. Our small private group tours, allow for more intimate and meaningful connections between locals and travellers. Small groups also mean we can carefully manage the impact of tourism and optimise the benefits.
We like to visit off-the-beaten-path areas, so that travellers can enjoy visiting areas that are closer to the local way of life, this also brings tourist revenue to remote rural communities who may not have benefited otherwise.

We have set up the Picture Me Back Project which aims to raise funds for health and medical care for hill tribe communities, through travel photography. For more info please visit – Picture Me Back Project

Overall, our mission goes beyond providing a travel service, to efforts that channel tourism to improve the welfare of local communities, through our guiding principles of Responsible tourism.

  • Ensuring the economic benefits of tourism goes directly to local people and local businesses. For example, we choose local guesthouses, restaurants and shops
  • Preserving the natural environment, culture and local way of life
  • Allowing tourism to add value to host communities by encouraging cultural and knowledge exchange between locals and visitors. We don’t only go into villages to take photos.
  • Allowing tourism to contribute to sustainable development so that communities can become self-sufficient, by encouraging visitors to buy from local artisans
  • Minimising the negative impacts of tourism
  • Recruiting staff locally. Our guides and drivers are often from hill tribe villages, providing training and the opportunity for a livelihood in the tourism sector
  • Education and raising awareness of the socio-economic issues of the area
  • Minimising waste and interference with natural surroudings and villages by taking small groups
  • Varying routes and village destinations to minimise impact to the environment and spread income amongst families
  • Using recycled material where possible.  For example our office is built using recycled wood and non-scarce resources
  • We run several community based projects: Local Youth Tour Guide Training Program, Income generation for hilltribe families via homestays and handicrafts, recruitment of foreign volunteers for hilltribe schools

Responsible Travel tips

Your visit and interest in local culture, gives locals a sense of pride and encourages them to maintain their identity and cultural heritage. By following a few simple guidelines, your visit can have an enhanced positive and long lasting impact.

  • Buying locally made products such as handicrafts from local artisans, is a great way to support them in becoming self-sufficient
  • Hire a local guide, your experience will be much richer and you will gain a deeper insight into the local way of life, whilst contributing to a local salary
  • Choose locally owned guesthouses, restaurants and shops
  • Pay a fair price. Avoid excessive bargaining, a few baht may not mean much to you, but means a lot more to the vendor
  • Respect the environment. Do not interfere with the natural surroundings or litter
  • Do not waste resources such as water, electricity and gas
  • It may be an idea to learn a few simple phrases in the local language such as ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’
  • Respect local cultures, traditions and values. If you are in doubt about what is good practice for any aspect of your travels, ask for a local’s advice
  • Remember that natives can have completely different thought concepts and systems, from those which you are used to. Be open to new ways of thinking, you might be surprised.
  • If you have promised to send pictures or gifts to locals please remember to do so. It can be very disappointing for locals if they are expecting to receive something and it never arrives
  • Provide your tour operator with any feedback or comments you have about the trip. If you had a positive experience offer to write a testimonial or review.
  • Travel with an open mind and open heart, and remember a smiles goes a long way 🙂

By Thailand Hilltribe Holidays