How we care for the worlds that we explore
At Go Beyond we have never told our sustainable story or communicated our strategy to the outside world. Instead, we have focused on creating experiences and explorations with a focus on low impact, close contact, small groups and local insight
Sustainable tracks ahead
We have spent years laying the foundations to our sustainability program, but we still have improvements to make. Particularly in our tours related to nature, where we are working to find new ways to go while respecting the local community and taking care of nature.
For Go Beyond, sustainability is not a label we will add to a few tours. It is a key value that we will follow in our experiences.
Research conducted among our independent travellers has shown that, for independent travellers in Asia, meeting with locals and fellow is most important for them when they travel.
With our small group explorations, that interaction has always been a core value for Go Beyond. And it is by going in small groups that our local and cultural impact is lessened.
Arriving in a village, in the Himalayas, at the Burma border, or wherever it may be, we are able to show respect to whomever we visit by travelling only in small groups. We achieve closer contact, often have the option for a laugh and a joke, and most importantly, can help minimise the ‘us and them’ factor.
We hope the insight our guests get will help give them more perspective, respect and less anxiety. After all, without anxiety, there is less negativity and violence in our world.
We walk the talk
Even though we try to leave nothing but a light footprint, we are aware that sometimes we have a greater impact as do many other companies. We are working towards making our presence here on earth as sustainable as possible.
For example, we have previously offered our travellers elephant riding experiences. But when we became aware of the conditions some of these elephants where living in, we removed this service from our offering. But we wanted to withdraw from these ridings in a way that considered the mahouts and local communities.
If we had simply pulled out of all products containing elephants, many small communities in the remote areas where we operate would have been the losers.
So we made new standards and together with the mahouts, created more sustainable products such as the Happy Elephant. It is a product both we and our suppliers are proud of and which has received great feedback from our travellers
As simple as it is, we believe that the best way we can care for nature is by taking travellers closer to it. To make people feel the fragility and see the beauty of life there. Most end up more conscious of the way we treat nature.
Many of our tours take travellers into areas of remote nature, where mass tourism has not yet reached. We love to take our small trekking groups toGanesh Himal and Bhairab Kund in Nepal where only a few travellers visit. Here, our crew know the people we visit and focus on leaving only light footprints. But wherever we go, we have a responsibility to set a good example for those who may visit in the future. And we still are working on improving our approach.
We also take travellers to Mount Everest National Park, where trekking is having an impact on both local life and nature. And Halong Bay, where the number of boats is affecting the experience and wildlife. Based on demand, we do deliver adventures to places that are heavily affected, but we are doing what we can to be more sustainable in this areas.
Whilst it can be easy to implement these changes in some places, there are others where we must take a more cautious approach. Simply changing it overnight can have greater impact for both nature and people. At Go Beyond, we think about the long term.
Many travellers enjoy encounters with exotic animals when they travel to Asia. As a result, there have been many questionable animal shows created throughout the continent. Whilst they do allow travellers to experience these amazing creatures up close, they are often unpleasant for the animals.
At GoBeyond we do not support unethical encounters with animals. As a result, we do not recommend elephant riding, visiting tiger temples and other similar attractions.
We prefer to take our travellers into the wild and explore areas where humans can experience wildlife in a safe and meaningful way, always keeping the welfare of our surroundings as a priority. For example, tours in Sri Lanka's Udawalawe National Park, a wild jungle adventure in Thailand's Khao Yai National Park, and treks through Luang Namtha in a remote corner of northern Laos.
We have recently installed solar panels on our Lake House on the River Kwai and whenever we are the first company at a new and unexplored destination, we strive to leave no trace of our presence behind us, leaving it just as we found it.