Pindan Tours and 4WD Training operates in some of the remotest and environmentally sensitive parts of Australia. When taking people to or training them in such places, we are always mindful of this and endeavour to contribute to maintaining the integrity of the local and connected eco-systems and support the local communities we visit within them.
Pindan Tours and 4WD Training is accredited with Ecotourism Australia and we are proud to hold the Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation. A lot of work goes into obtaining and maintaining our accreditation along with specific requirements that are designed to protect you and to protect our planet. Running four wheel drive tours into pristine and remote areas such as those offered by Pindan Tours can be seen by some as being harmful to the environment. Fortunately, most people realise that the only way to see these unique places is in a four wheel drive and it can be done responsibly and properly with accredited tour operators.
We are very mindful of the environments we drive though and it’s a big reason that we usually limit our Tag along Tours to 6 vehicles. This way we have a minimal impact both in terms of our carbon footprint and camping on the areas we visit. All our Tour participants receive our own ‘Minimal Impact Touring Guide' booklet which has loads of information in it about Sustainable Tourism and what we do in particular, on our tours.
In addition to our 'Advanced Ecotourism' certification, we also have the 'ROC' (Respecting Our Culture) certification and are a climate action business. We feel these accreditation's value add to our clients experiences and it fits in very well with our Sustainable Tourism policy and ideals.
What is Ecotourism?
To inspire environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism;
"Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation".(Ecotourism Australia- http://www.ecotourism.org.au/)
Principles of Ecotourism
- Minimize Environmental impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both clients and local operators.
- Participate in Environmental Conservation activities.
- Awareness through interpretation of environmental and cultural aspects of the Australian landscape.
Our goal is to make our environmental impact on these places as small as possible while maximising our contribution to the local community. As such we are committed to responsible and sustainable tourism in all its forms and our goals are set out below:
THE KEY AREAS OF OUR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM POLICY
Environmental degradation and scarce water resources are very important issues faced by many of the remote communities and areas we visit. Instead of feeling powerless in the face of these problems we prefer to focus on what we can do and provide our clients with information and advice about how they can minimise their environmental impacts also.
Water Use and Conservation - Most of the areas we visit draw their water from underground sources so we strongly encourage our clients to be self sufficient for the duration of each trip.
- Where possible we source water available in townships (caravan parks, etc.) to top up our supplies.
Land degradation - We reduce our vehicle and campsite footprints by staying on formed roads & tracks and not damaging native bushland.
- Lowering tyre pressures to improve tyre traction and reduce the risk of wheel spin that can damage tracks and increases soil erosion.
- Leaving the native vegetation intact and taking in our own firewood where practical.
Sewerage - We limit the number of people on our tours to reduce our environmental footprint.
- We provide a single toilet facility for the complete tour group and the toilet is located a safe distance from fresh water sources. This considerably reduces the impact of human waste in the places we stay at.
Rubbish - We take out everything that we bring in and recycle where possible and encourage our clients to do the same.
- We have a zero litter tolerance, so we carry our rubbish out if there is no appropriate waste disposal facilities available.
CO2 - We need our vehicles to get to and back from the places we visit. All of them are very well maintained to ensure they operate safely. We encourage our clients to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and well maintained for the trips and/or training as well.
What we do to off set our CO2 - Carbon Emissions - We have developed our own unique client offset carbon scheme - A small percentage of our operational costs goes towards buying native trees which we plant locally to offset our own and our tour clients vehicles carbon footprint. In addition we are volunteers to two local arid lands garden groups (i.e. Friends of Arid Lands Botanical Gardens and the Powell Gardens Group) helping to propagate, plant and maintain native trees and shrubs in our area for future generations to enjoy.
We feel it's important to ensure that while visiting local communities the benefits of tourism are passed on to them. We have listed below some of the measures that we take to ensure that this is done.
- We promote the participation of the communities in which we operate by contracting local tour guides on gorge/river cruises, mine tours, liaising with park rangers, etc., who can help our clients to understand local customs and traditions, interact with local people and ensure at least a minimum level of local involvement in our adventures.
- We keep all group sizes small (max 15 clients) to prevent our tours becoming too intrusive on the environment and local communities. This has the added benefit that our clients are able to get to know our tour guides better as well.
- We respect local community and cultural values by authentically reflecting past, present and future aspirations of the locals in our interpretation and experiences. We encourage our clients to do likewise, by providing them with information about these cultural/religious traditions and values.
Our economic responsibility is to ensure that the financial benefits of tourism are passed down to the local communities we visit. We have listed below some of the measures that we take to ensure that this is done.
- Utilising and promoting local suppliers, products and services and facilities that are the most ethical option available.
- Supporting local tourism initiatives, where available, such as the rural tourism in local communities.
- Encouraging our clients to purchase locally manufactured products rather than imported alternatives and buy gifts and crafts from local shops and markets.
- Actively collaborating with other businesses and stakeholders to build a positive and ongoing business relationship that benefits all.