Last Updated on Friday, 28 January 2011 09:08
We have put together a few pages about Responsible Tourism as we feel it is both impossible and irresponsible to ignore the effect that we all, as individuals, have on our environment, particularly in the Leisure Industry where we are asking people to come to stay in a particular area, and where we don't want any negative impact on that area as a result of our business.
How Green is Marmot Tours?
As we are asking you to consider the environment when booking your holiday with us, then it is the very least that you can expect, that we are doing our best to be environmentally friendly too.
Below we have tried to list the things that we are doing now, and the issues that we are working on in terms of making our practice as green as we can. From writing this website we have found that in some cases we are having to make an informed compromise, and this is where we too are investigating the use of carbon offsets.
Through Marmot Tours Limited, we aim to promote healthy living and a balanced lifestyle. Enhanced by Cathy's professional background as an Occupational Therapist, we firmly believe that activities such as walking, biking, cross country skiing etc are not only physically beneficial in terms of gaining fitness but are also mentally and emotionally beneficial. Much of the advice on adopting a greener lifestyle fits in beautifully with an overall shift to looking after ourselves and our environment. This is what holidays should be about - healthy activities that may carry over and encourage you in your home lifestyle as well.
EDF (who have taken over London Electricity in the UK) is the power provider for us and only 9.5% of their energy is from burning fossil fuels. The rest of the power is provided by renewable energy sources (4.7%) and nuclear energy (85.5%). At home James and I use wood central heating, and during the winter, primarily cook on wood too. The wood is taken from a sustainable source.
Provision of pack lunches
We shop once weekly for food provisions for pack lunches for clients (where applicable, depending on the trip). This reduces fuel consumption. As is common place in France, we bring our shopping home in strong re-usable bags rather than using plastic bags. We also use the local market for fresh fruit, salad stuffs and vegetables, either avoiding packaging on these items, or using small plastic bags that we re-use as lunch bags, and then recycle. We recycle glass, aluminium and plastics.
As part of our trips we give out information on the local area and various activities you can do, plus tips on good restaurants and cafe's. We print all our info on recycled paper, and then re-use these sheets from week to week, so we apologise if some are a little dog eared! This saves paper, and the power needed to print off new ones each week. We also recycle or burn (to heat our house) any old paper/card.
Our centre based trips account for approx 70% of our yearly itinerary. For these trips we have carefully chosen local accommodation where we are happy that they take into account environmental issues:
The Hotel Terminus, Ax les Thermes: The Hotel Terminus is a small family run hotel, that has been in the proprietor's family for 5 generations. It is situated diagonally across from the station, allowing travel by train to be a comfortable and realistic alternative to flying.
The Terminus' restaurant has an excellent local reputation. It sources its meat and cheese from local farmers (animals are generally graze outdoors for 9-10 months of the year), so there is little transport / importation required. The table wine served (red and rose) is organic, and sourced from the Cote du Rhone (no flights involved in transporting it). Alain, one of the proprietors of the Terminus, cooks many of the dishes on the menu on the wood fire in the restaurant, reducing electricity costs (electric ovens are one of the worst domestic appliances in terms of energy consumption).
During our non centre based trips, we often run point to point trips that use a number of different hotels. At this time we don't have the information on all these different locations, to be able to assess how environmentally friendly they are. What we do prioritise, however, is that we choose small family run hotels where we can get to know the owners, and where the money we give them for their rooms and meals, is going directly into helping their business grow.
Transport and mileage during the holiday
We currently use 2 Renault Master 8 seater minibus' to transport our clients around during the trip. These both take diesel as fuel. As we do use our buses a lot, and have a high annual mileage, this was one area of concern for us. However, we have looked into the issues regarding diesel v petrol car and are happy that while we continue to have a high mileage, our choice of fuel does assist us in reducing our emissions of Carbon monoxide (see below)
Of the 5 emissions from a car (CO2, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Hydrocarbons and Particulates), diesel is better than a petrol car for 3 of them, the same for one and worse for one (particulates/soot).
- Carbon dioxide emissions from a car are directly proportional to fuel consumption, and so, as diesel cars use 30-40% less fuel, they emit less CO2.
- Diesel engines produce virtually no carbon monoxide, whereas a petrol engine can produce enough to kill a person.
- Nitrous oxides are more likely to be formed in a diesel engine than a petrol engine when it is new. However, after about 50,000 miles, levels recorded are the same, and after that, the petrol engine produces more nitrogen oxides than a diesel. Both of our Renault Master vans will be over this 50,000 mile mark!
- Hydrocarbons are found in petrol emissions much more than in diesel emissions.
- Particulates: this is the problem for diesel engines when compared to petrol, however, particulates are not implicated in the greenhouse effect.
Despite the info above, it is clear that diesel is not great for the environment either, and the only way to get greener is to try and use alternative transport (train, walking, cycling), or to reduce our mileage. This we could do if our clients were encouraged to take the train to their holiday destination (meaning less journeys to the airport - it is a 300km roundtrip that we do weekly). We could also cut down our mileage by choosing a hotel nearer to our home. There is unfortunately no such hotel currently available in our local area, plus the Hotel Terminus has other advantages as described above.
Keeping you informed
Keeping ourselves informed
We are ensuring that we remain as up to date as possible on green issues, and we receive a monthly newsletter from The CarbonNeutral Company, who provide advice to businesses on their carbon emissions.