Espiritu Travel & Responsible Tourism
We are a specialist travel company with a broad focus on responsible travel.
Our vision is to create and promote experiential and transformative travel to Spain & Portugal. Your trip is also created to minimize its environmental impact.
Responsible Tourism is twofold, first, it requires that travel companies, hotels, governments, and local people take responsibility for the negative impacts that tourism can have and try to mitigate those impacts, taking a more holistic and inclusive approach to the development of tourism. Second, it’s about the traveler, traveling responsibly, doing what one can, enjoying a new destination like normal but being more aware of tourism’s impact and making adjustments to how one travels in order to reduce those negative impacts.
Why is responsible tourism so important?
Tourism is one of the most important and largest business sectors on the planet, it accounts for 11% of the world’s GDP and it employs more people worldwide than any other. In Spain and Portugal, tourisms contribution to GDP is around 12& and 20% respectively. In addition to employing millions of people. It is hard to imagine but your vacation is significantly important to a lot people!
Espiritu Travel head office
We run our office in a responsible manner by using fair trade products, reducing our energy usage, as well as recycling. By developing electronic literature, we limit the number of paper materials we produce. In fact, all paper is used on both sides in our office!
We encourage our employees to use public transport or a bicycle to get to work. We all work at home on Fridays.
Transport in Spain & Portugal
We always encourage travel by train whenever possible. It is easy to get around Spain and Portugal by train. Spain in particular has a network of high speed and comfortable trains between the major cities, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Granada. Even the non-high speed trains are efficient and very comfortable. Not only is this a great way to get around but it is how the locals would do it!
We encourage responsible travel
We have been proactive in raising awareness about traveling responsible. We provide our travelers with information on how they can reduce their negative impact and make positive contributions to the communities they will visit while in Spain & Portugal.
The issue of animals welfare is a sensitive one for our company which is why we have taken it on as one of our main causes.
Bullfighting is often imagined as a cultural experience of a tall, smartly dressed, handsome Spaniard, outwitting the raging bull, however, the reality is far less glamorous. This barbaric tradition which has been outlawed in several regions in Spain, is nothing short of animal cruelty in its most extreme sense. Watching a bullfight can be an unpleasant and traumatic experience.
As nostalgic as scenic horse carriage rides seem, there are many reasons to avoid them if you don’t wish to contribute to their daily suffering. Twelve reasons to avoid horse carriages in particular in Seville.
- They’re overworked, frequently working twelve hours a day and longer in summer months. Their stables are over 10km away as well, so when their working day is over they must travel 10km further.
- Horses are frequently dehydrated, frothing at the mouths, with their tongues hanging out.
- Despite wearing blinkers that cover 60% of their vision, these horses are easily spooked by the volume of traffic and beeping horns. Many riders flaunt traffic rules and endanger their horses.
- The majority of horses we approached, seemed terrified of people and cowered away us.
- Many horses have poor hoof care with overgrown and cracked hooves.
- The harnesses frequently appeared to be incorrectly fitted or designed for a much smaller/larger horse.
- It was not uncommon to see bits wrongly sized for the horse’s mouth and fitted incorrectly.
- Horses slip and get stuck on the cobbles. It is only a matter of time before casualties occur again. It is worse when it has been raining.
- Whipping the horses was a frequent sight, even when they had been spooked.
- The already heavy carriages were regularly overloaded with (large) people considering the size of the horses.
- Very young horses were used, some amounting to little more than foals.
- Horses can be seen around the city with no shade, whether it be resting or working.
Say no to plastic bags! It is necessary to be vigilante in the stores and shops as every cashier will want to give you a bag even for the smallest item. So it is necessary to say I have a bag. We suggest bringing various canvas carrier bags so that you can use them for your purchases throughout the trip.
Cigarette buts should not be dropped on streets or behind bushes or in the sand if you are at the beach. Please put them in a trash bin or in a pocket until a trash bin is available. We recommend smokers carry a receptacle to collect their butts. Small plastic containers are excellent for this and reduce the smell!
Solid waste pollution from single use plastic bottle particularly water is a global problem. In Spain and Portugal, tap water is safe to drink, routinely tested, and follows very high standards for water quality control. It is not necessary to buy bottled water. We recommend bringing a metal or BPA-free water bottle so that you are able to fill it up in the hotel for your days activities. In restaurants they will automatically give you bottled water but save money and resources by asking for tap water. In the Balearic Islands as well as the Canary Islands, the water can have an unusual taste because drinking water comes from desalination plants. If you plan to travel to either island groups, we recommend to bring a Water-to-Go filtration bottle or something similar to improve the taste. On the Portuguese island groups of Madeira and Azores, water is more abundant and it is safe to drink the tap water.
The Iberian Peninsula is one of the highest water stressed regions of the world according to the World Resource Institute and predicted to get worse by 2040. Try to be mindful of your water usage and take steps to minimize it when possible.
We also suggest eco-friendly toiletries especially marine safe sunscreen if you plan to swim in the Mediterranean. A common ingredient found in chemical sunscreen is toxic to coral and marine life. We recommend mineral-based sunscreen, with titanium oxide or zinc oxide which has been found not to harm reefs. Not only are these types of sunscreens better for the marine environment but they are better for your skin! Let’s help keep the Mediterranean healthy!