COMMITMENT TO RESPONSIBLE TOURISM
In Rutopía we are committed to working for sustainable development, using tourism as a tool. We want to use travel as an instrument for local development and mutual knowledge of people. Making travel an enriching experience for both the visitor and the hosts, always based on an egalitarian vision of respect for each other and their cultures.
We are firmly committed to a better and more sustainable world through tourism and for this we need the involvement of everyone, including our travelers! So, here we share with you a small sample of our commitment to responsible tourism.
Thank you for reading and working with us!
The clearest example of what we do, in a transparent manner, appears in our complete “Sustainability Policy” document, which we invite you to request, so that you can see in more detail the philosophy and values on which we are based.
However, we show you here a small excerpt from it:
For Rutopia, travel represents a means of union and understanding between different people and cultures. Being evident of the many negative effects that poorly planned or unplanned tourism brings to the destination and its communities, we see in the principles of responsible tourism the best way to travel and contribute to the sustainable development of local agents, and with that of the destination.
Rutopia tries to raise awareness among travelers for fair and sustainable tourism, encouraging the consumption of services provided by the local population and informing them about the good habits and guidelines of responsible tourism through the different means available, online and offline.
Trusting in the responsibility that the company has as a reference in responsible tourism and the transcendence that this implies for the agents that work in collaboration with Rutopía, we are convinced of the change that must take place in the tourism sector towards a real commitment, with the responsibility of those agents, who are involved in it. That is why the need arises for us to work in line with the objectives set out in this sustainability policy in favor of sustainable development – at a socio-cultural, economic and environmental level – carrying out an ethical, transparent and responsible management of our activity with all the agents involved.
Our general objectives are:
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We offer a high quality personalized service to our clients. We take care of every detail so that the client feels safe and well cared for. We encourage our clients to respect the cultural and natural heritage of the country and we are committed to transmit to our clients our passion for Mexico, and to let them know it’s true essence, without folklorization.
We create and/or participate in educational programs in schools, universities, radio programs or others, in order to generate a culture of sustainability in society. It is very important to us that the new generations can help us to be these agents of change.
WITH THE ENVIRONMENT
Through our travels, we contribute to the preservation of the environment, being responsible for the possible negative impacts that our activity may cause, and working to minimize them. We also promote environmental awareness among stakeholders and support various international associations that work for the protection of the environment and animals.
WITH OUR SUPPLIERS
We seek to contribute to local economic development, to the improvement of the quality of life of local communities, to the enhancement and conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and to the generation of more humane and equitable relations between locals and visitors. We give workshops to communities to train them in different areas that help them to have a better quality of service, safety and sustainability.
WITH OUR PARTNERS
We seek to provide opportunities for both personal and professional development, offering stability, legality and ethics of labor practices with equitable conditions and ensuring ethnic and gender equity, team integration and a work environment where the employee feels that his or her voice counts, and that he or she grows with us.
- At Rutopía, we do not participate in the sale or looting of heritage and we do not support corruption. We are committed to the conservation of our country’s cultural and natural heritage.
- In Rutopia we do not include any activity that folklorizes indigenous cultures and we work to maintain the authenticity of the experiences and the contact with the communities.
- We do not agree with situations of social prejudice, such as discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, dress, or any cultural expression that occurs in a given place.
- Rutopía does not support the exploitation of children and adolescents in any form, especially sexual exploitation.
- We support appropriate local social projects with direct or indirect benefits for the host community.
- We strive to reduce poverty in host communities by providing opportunities for economic growth through responsible tourism and other economic activities.
- We take measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change, such as walking and cycling our tourist routes. These are alternatives that are more respectful of the natural and cultural environment of the tourist areas.
- The company does not allow the sale, traffic or exhibition of native species unless they are the product of a legally established breeding and/or reproduction program. The company does not use or trade with threatened or endangered species.
- We try to ensure that the lighting used by our borrowers does not affect the habitat or the behavior of wild species. We also do not generate excessive noise that alters the behavior of wild species.
- We encourage our borrowers not to use exotic species (plants or animals) that may alter natural ecosystems.
The Earth Charter
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century, which is the product of a decade-long worldwide intercultural dialogue around common goals and shared values. At a time when education for sustainable development has become an essential element, the Earth Charter offers a valuable educational tool. It also urges us to seek commonalities in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a global ethic that is shared by a growing number of people around the world.
Rutopia endorses the Earth Charter, adopting the spirit and objectives of the document.
TIES (International Ecotourism Society)
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a program of the International Tourism Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism. Founded in 1990, TIES has been at the forefront of ecotourism development, providing guidelines and standards, training, technical assistance and educational resources. TIES’ global network of ecotourism professionals and travelers is leading efforts to make tourism a viable tool for conservation, protection of cultural diversity and sustainable community development.
Rutopía is a professional member of this organization.
It is a Virtual Community of Consultants in Iberoamerica where experiences, knowledge and ideas for the promotion of Genuine Ecotourism are shared. It is an initiative built with more than 5 years of field experience collaborating in the development of genuine ecotourism in and around natural protected areas.
Rutopía is a corporate member of this initiative.
FAADA (Foundation for Advice and Action in Defense of Animals)
FAADA’s mission is to promote respect for animals by raising awareness in society about the importance of promoting respectful practices with any species and actively working for the welfare of animals.
Rutopía has joined FAADA as an agency committed to responsible tourism and spread its mission to achieve a more responsible and respectful world with people, the environment and animals. On the other hand, we do not sell experiences where there are animals in captivity or where they are exposed to stress and/or suffering.
Alba Sud “Latin American Catalog of Rural Community-Based Tourism”.
ALBA SUD is a Catalan association specialized in research and communication for development. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of strategies, tools and interventions in favor of a balanced and fair development, with a special focus on the Global South, through studies and research as well as the production and dissemination of educational & communication resources and capacity building by social organizations, universities and public administrations with similar purposes.
Rutopía is one of the tour operators specialized in rural community-based tourism in Alba Sud’s catalog and supports their cause.
Agrotravel Responsible Tourism
Agrotravel is a responsible tourism agency, pioneer in Spain, founded by Susana Conde. It is committed to working for the development and mutual understanding of people using tourism as a tool, always based on an egalitarian vision that respects others and their culture. It also aims to raise awareness, promote and disseminate responsible tourism among citizens, understanding it as a tool for development cooperation. She is also a consultant for very important sustainable tourism projects.
Rutopía is an important ally of Agrotravel, carrying out the important work of sustainable development through our trips, as well as through the dissemination and awareness of sustainable development in the country. We work together in many projects, along with other organizations (see examples below) and we are their incoming operator in Mexico.
Tourism Concern’s mission is to ensure that tourism always benefits the local community by exposing bad practices and promoting better tourism. They work for ethical and fair trade tourism, wherever they can make a difference – campaigning, informing or supporting.
Rutopía is a professional member as an ethical tour operator in Mexico for this valuable initiative and we are also listed as country experts on their website.
It is a community of travelers and tourism professionals dedicated to building a better, authentic and responsible tourism. It aims to promote the exchange of field solutions and best practices among tourism professionals. This is done through travelers, who collect and transmit best practices through a new participatory mode of travel. These travelers, who must be sustainable tourism professionals (sales management, marketing or communication, among others), offer their services to a local tourism company or rural cooperative, in exchange for accommodation and food.
Rutopia facilitates these exchanges between travelers and rural cooperatives in need of support.
Travel Better Club of Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International has developed the Travel Better Club. It is a way to empower and inspire travelers to positively impact the people and places they visit. It consists of an e-learning module, developed in conjunction with the Planeterra Foundation, that is designed for travelers interested in learning what it means to travel responsibly and sustainably, in order to maximize their positive and minimize their negative impacts on a destination and its people. Travelers who pass the course receive a Travel Better certificate and can activate their membership in the Travel Better Club to receive benefits from sponsors and companies that support this cause.
Rutopia offers programs with interesting discounts to Club members, and promotes this valuable initiative to increase awareness of responsible tourism.
Spanish Center for Responsible Tourism
The Spanish Center for Responsible Tourism is a joint initiative of KOAN Consulting and Rutas PANGEA, companies committed to the planning, development and operation of responsible tourism for more than a decade.
It was created with the intention of bringing together responsible tourism initiatives, projects and professionals from around the world, creating a space to share projects, experiences and knowledge.
Experience in direct tourism development and operation in more than 24 countries allows CETR to connect consulting and training with the real market of responsible tourism. International solidarity, a global vision of the problems, the generation of sustainable local businesses, the gender approach, fair trade and attention to diversity are an essential part of CETR’s philosophy.
Rutopía is a member of the Spanish Center for Responsible Tourism.
SoliDive is a non-profit association that aims to contribute to the development and improvement of the quality of life of communities in impoverished countries or areas, through the creation of Solidarity Economy Diving Centers, the promotion of Sustainable Tourism and the protection of the Environment.
Rutopía works with SoliDive and Agrotravel Turismo Responsable, through the creation of solidarity experiences together with local companies that share the same vision, and are developed in the Riviera Maya, to generate an alternative socio-economic model, sustainable and that promotes the social market.
Kowabunga Ecoproject is a Spanish ecotourism association based in Madrid, which works in Mexico for the conservation of sea turtles, while proposing an ecotourism trip to exchange and strengthen ties with members of local communities.
Rutopía works with SoliDive and Agrotravel Turismo Responsable to design and operate this wonderful experience on the coast and inland of Oaxaca that combines sea turtle conservation with a journey into the authentic culture of Mexico.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS IN MEXICO
Sierra Gorda de Querétaro Ecological Reserve
The Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is an extraordinary testimony to the commitment of civil society and local communities to join forces and protect Mexico’s most eco-diverse natural area.
But much remains to be done. Many ecosystems that are home to Mexico’s most endangered species, such as the puma, margay and jaguar, remain at risk. In addition, the families of the Sierra Gorda, though industrious and enterprising, remain among the poorest in Mexico, lacking access to essential services. They, and generations to come, deserve the opportunity to create sustainable livelihoods while protecting their valuable natural resources.
Rutopia is a member of Sierra Gorda through an annual donation to help protect this exceptional region and its inhabitants.
Cascadas Encantadas Ecotourism Center, Benito Juárez, Catemaco. Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz.
At a site owned by the Cascadas Encantadas Ecotourism Center in Benito Juarez, we joined Henry Otapia to participate in their reforestation program. We did our bit by planting some trees with them, and naming and dating some of the trees to keep track of their evolution.
We are currently offering this experience to our clients. It is very enriching, we highly recommend it!
Estampa Verde. Rancho Los Amigos, Laguna de Sontecomapan, Catemaco. Los Tuxtlas. Veracruz.
Estampa Verde is an NGO created by Rancho Los Amigos to carry out development projects. Estampa Verde’s multidisciplinary educational proposal addresses different needs for the protection and restoration of the ecological balance while stimulating the development of skills and knowledge for resilience. In the Environmental Education program, different ways of approaching the habitat of certain animals and learning to interact with agroecosystems in a holistic manner are designed. The reading of the landscape is accompanied by different tools for analysis and diagnosis and the culture of open knowledge is promoted, facilitating interaction and action in networks and alliances.
Through our travel experience “Regeneration and Harvest in Los Tuxtlas”, we will begin to contribute 10% of the income received to Estampa Verde. In addition, Rutopía has signed an agreement with Estampa Verde through which a monthly donation is made
Hotel Taselotzin, Cuetzalan. Puebla.
Masehual Siuamej Mosenyolchicauani is a cooperative of 100 indigenous Nahua women from 6 communities in the municipality of Cuetzalan. They started in 1985 with the purpose of selling their handicrafts at fair prices, to improve their quality of life by generating employment for their families and thus prevent their people from migrating to the city and the USA. They created a beautiful hotel in Cuetzalan, called Taselotzin. These brave women, trained in better weaving techniques, and with the help of advisors, about their rights as indigenous women, learning to revalue their customs and practices as indigenous people and the way they see the world, the respect for mother earth, the pride of being part of their Nahua people. They have also been trained in different workshops, developing some economic and educational projects on the care of nature, health and sustainable development.
At Rutopía we didn’t want to be left behind, and we have contributed a little bit to this valuable initiative. We visited Taselotzin’s facilities to give a workshop on ecological cleaning products based on natural raw materials, easily accessible and economical while protecting the environment. We also gave them training in the use of Facebook and opinion portals such as TripAdvisor!
Talks at universities.
In order to raise awareness among young people about sustainable ways of traveling, and to learn more about the concept of responsible tourism, its trends, its different forms, and its importance, the Rutopía team travels to different universities to give talks on the subject. We enjoy this experience and the students participate a lot!
Ecological workshops in schools and institutes.
Recently, part of the Rutopia team went to the Cisneros Institute in Cholula de Rivadavia, Puebla, to talk to high school students about the impacts of waste in the daily lives of humans, animals and the environment in general. We talked about the terms: reduce, reuse and recycle, and held a workshop to create bracelets with reused plastic bottles. We will continue to put this beautiful task into practice for different schools and institutes on a regular basis.
Capsules in radio programs.
In November 2015 we participated in Radio en Redes to talk about the World Day of Responsible Tourism, where we talked about the term “responsible tourism”, the importance of the celebration of this day, and how to travel more sustainably. Now we resume this exercise in January 2017 participating in a capsule of the radio program Tribuna, with Ana Montero, to talk about sustainable tourism. What does it mean and entails the practice of sustainable tourism in Mexico? What does this concept mean? What are its objectives and how can we practice it? It is part of Rutopía’s mission to offer education for sustainability and to be agents of change.
Use of ECOSIA search engine.
Ecosia is an Internet search engine that works with the Bing search engine. Its slogan is to donate 80% of its advertising revenue to a Tree Planting Program in Africa. Its current beneficiary, The Nature Conservancy, manages the www.plantabillion.org program, a reforestation campaign in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest that aims to plant one billion trees by 2025.
At Rutopia we work with the Ecosia search engine and the LILO search engine (see below) to participate in this cause.
Use of LILO search engine.
LILO is a search engine that donates more than 50% of its advertising revenue to social and environmental projects of the user’s choice. Each search performed with Lilo allows the user to earn a drop of water and the user chooses to which project to donate these drops of water. Part of this 50% goes to offset carbon emissions. They have already supported projects such as: Huertos Compartidos, Oasis de Colibris, Unidos, NSF-BCN comparteix el menjar, Obsidiana TV, Adrisud Internacional, Leka, Refugio La Candela, Som Energía and many others.
At Rutopia we work with the LILO search engine and the Ecosia search engine (see above) to participate in different causes.
Interjet was the first airline in Latin America to operate a flight with Biodiesel in April 2011, called ECOJET. Bioturbosine was produced from Jatropha vegetable oil grown by Mexican producers in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, which generates sources of employment and various environmental benefits.
In addition, it joined Huella Azul, in which it encourages its passengers to donate $10 pesos per person to invest in innovative forestry practices in Mexico, thus contributing to mitigating the carbon emissions that are an unavoidable aspect of our way of life and balancing the impact on the environment. It also directly supports rural communities so they can thrive.
Rutopía, whenever it has the opportunity to book internal flights, purchases them with Interjet (or Volaris, depending on the routes operated by each airline), to cooperate with the “Huella Azul” program.
Volaris is the first airline to sign an agreement with the Mexican Carbon Platform for the purchase of carbon credits as part of its strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and reaffirm its commitment to environmental care with the “Cielito Lindo” campaign. This campaign includes initiatives and programs designed to offset its environmental footprint and contribute to actions against global warming, including the reduction of electricity consumption and waste recycling at its corporate offices and the reduction of atmospheric gas emissions in the dispatch of aircraft.
Rutopía, whenever it has the opportunity to book domestic flights, purchases them with Volaris (or Interjet, depending on the routes operated by each airline), and makes a contribution to the “Por un Cielito Limpio” program.
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR TRAVELERS
Or as we prefer to call it, RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER’S TIPS!
- When traveling, we will take security measures such as not carrying a lot of cash or valuables in sight.
- On day trips, we will not carry all our money and documents in the same place. We will carry a photocopy of our travel documents, leaving the originals at our hotel.
- We will always keep our luggage and valuables close to us, especially in crowded places.
- If we rent a car, we will travel by day and drive on main roads. We will familiarize ourselves with local traffic laws and check our vehicle before leaving. If we take a cab, these will be authorized cabs that are identified.
- We will carry with us the contact telephone numbers of our embassy or consulate and our medical or life insurance.
- All the places where we travel have their own history, culture and natural values: we should inform ourselves about these aspects before our trip, so that our attitudes and behaviors do not harm them and we can have a respectful attitude during the trip.
- Let’s protect cultural heritage. We can appreciate the architecture, monuments and valuable objects without affecting them.
- Let’s consume and buy natural and artisanal products from the area. In addition to enjoying authentic local gastronomy and handicrafts, we will contribute to family economies and support small local businesses and enterprises. Let’s try not to haggle and pay the right price for these products; they are handcrafted and many of them take hours or even days of work.
- Let’s live great experiences without disturbing the order and without violating the permitted noise level. Let’s enjoy the place without affecting the integrity and tranquility of the residents.
- When we visit an indigenous community, we should first learn about their customs and traditions, as well as their rules of conduct.
And above all, let us respect the manifestations and customs of the place. Let us show solidarity, understanding, tolerance and respect towards the community. Let’s look for a human and “equal to equal” approach, allowing an authentic cultural exchange.
Let’s rely on the practice of your responsibility as a good traveler!
- We must contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to help slow climate change (see more details on climate change in the next section). Let’s choose walking or cycling routes for our tourist routes. These are alternatives that are more respectful of the natural and cultural environment of tourist areas. We will also try to reduce our meat consumption, because of all the gases emitted in livestock production and the damage caused by agricultural production to feed the animals.
- Let’s make efficient use of the water and energy we use during our stay. It is a very precious commodity and it is expensive to obtain and causes serious impacts on the natural environment.
- It is necessary to generate less waste in our travels. Let’s throw away products with unnecessary packaging. If the place where I am staying has recycling or sustainability-related programs, I will try to support them during my stay.
- Let us take extreme precautions in order to avoid forest fires, disturbing marine and terrestrial fauna or abandoning our waste, depositing it in the places provided for it or taking it to the hotel. Many animals die from having ingested bags, bottles, straws or cigarette butts.
- Protected natural areas were created to preserve places and species of great ecological value and in many cases in danger of extinction. Many of them have welcome and interpretation centers that provide the necessary guidance to appreciate their importance and to enjoy the visit more. We recommend that you visit them!
- Let’s respect native species in green areas and in general, in all green areas we visit in the city or rural community.
- We do not buy domestic or exotic animals; if we do, we contribute to their extinction and damage our environment by favoring the development of this activity.
- Do not feed wild species during visits to the different natural circuits, as it has many adverse impacts on them.
- Do not use excessive lighting or generate excessive noise that affects the habitat or behavior of wildlife species.
What is climate change?
Climate change is the global variation of the Earth’s climate, due to natural causes and also to human action. This occurs at different time scales and on climatic parameters such as: temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, etc.
And what does the term “greenhouse effect” refer to?
It is the retention of the Sun’s heat in the Earth’s atmosphere by a layer of gases in the atmosphere. Without them, life as we know it would not be possible, as the planet would be too cold. Industry, agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels release gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, and the concentration of these gases has increased by 30% since the last century due to the industrialized world. Without human action, nature was responsible for balancing emissions.
Who is affected by climate change?
Climate change affects us all. The potential impact is enormous, with predictions of lack of drinking water, major changes in food production conditions and increased mortality rates due to floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. We are also observing phenomena such as ocean warming, stronger cyclones and hurricanes, changing rainfall and wind patterns, melting glaciers, and warming of the ocean surface, which contributes to sea level rise. It is not only an environmental phenomenon, but one with profound economic and social consequences.
What can we do? What can we do?
- Let’s change the light bulbs: let’s replace traditional light bulbs for low consumption ones (we save more than 45 kg of carbon dioxide per year).
- Let’s turn off the TV and the computer: only by turning off electronic devices when they are not in use, we will prevent thousands of kilos of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere (do not leave them on stand-by, as they consume 40% of the total energy). Do not leave the cell phone charger plugged in, as it continues to consume electricity.
- Let’s drive less: walk, ride a bicycle, use public transportation. We will save 30 grams of CO2 for every 4.5 km. Every liter of fuel burned by a car engine releases an average of 2.5 kg of CO2.
- Let’s check the tires: If the pressure drops 0.5 bar, the car will consume 2.5% more fuel and therefore release 2.5% more CO2.
- Let’s recycle: we can save more than 730 Kgs of CO2 per year if we recycle half of the garbage produced at home.
- Avoid a lot of packaging: buy products with little packaging. For example, a 1.5 liter bottle generates less waste than 3 half-liter bottles. Let’s use reusable bags and avoid paper wipes. We can avoid the emission of 1,100 kg of CO2 if we reduce waste by 10%.
- Use less water in general and less hot water in particular: it takes a lot of energy to heat water; wash with warm or cold water to save 150 kg of CO2. In addition, to use less water, let’s install a water flow regulator in the shower, to avoid the emission of more than 100 kg of carbon dioxide per year. Take showers instead of baths (we will use 4 times less energy), turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth, make sure the faucets do not drip.
- Let’s keep an eye on appliances: if we cover the pan while cooking, we will save a lot of energy. Pressure cookers and steamers save 70% energy. Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full and at low temperatures. Do not put the refrigerator and freezer near the boiler / stove / fires, or it will consume much more energy. Defrost periodically if they are old. Do not put hot foods in the refrigerator.
- Let’s adjust the thermostat: the oscillation of 2ºC in winter or summer saves more than 600 Kgs of CO2 per household in a single year. If a small opening is left to ventilate the house, all day long, the energy needed to keep the interior warm during 6 months of cold, will be almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions.
- Let’s plant a tree: a single tree absorbs a ton of CO2 during its lifetime!