All initiatives start somewhere, and here we will try to explain what we are about, where the concept comes from, what it hopes to achieve, who are involved, what people are saying about us etc.
As always, feel free to ask if something is not clear!
Raj Gyawali of Socialtours.com in Nepal initiated the Green Circuit through a dialogue between specialist tour operators throughout the Indian Sub-continent. The key partners are Socialtours.com in Nepal, Help Tourism in North Eastern India, Grass Routes in Orissa, East India, The Blue Yonder in Kerala and Ecosphere in Spiti Valley, Northern India. Each tour operator, is an expert in their respective region and specialise in deep rooted community based responsible tourism initiatives.
Now this is unusual and worthy of attention, because in India most tour operators offer packages all over the country without having even set foot in the places they sell. However with the Green Circuit you have a unique collective of operators dedicated to ethical and sustainable tourism at a grassroots level. The accountability is much higher because they live, breathe and work in the very same communities they conduct their tours. In every instance responsible tourism lies at the core of the companies ethos and is reflected in their initiatives. Responsible Tourism is their reason for being and it’s what unites them to form the Green Circuit.
The Green Circuit is literally an eco-tourism loop that circles the Indian subcontinent. Made up of individual tours with a definitive focus on natural and cultural heritage; each tour (handled on the ground through respective operators) links together to explore the subcontinent's astounding diversity.
This is a really refreshing approach. Rather than competing against each other as traditional tourism businesses often do, the Green Circuit partnership exemplifies an invigorating spirit of collaboration. Each tour operator in the Green Circuit is a committed expert in their chosen field and offer unique tourism product specific to local environmental and cultural conditions. Each tour is the result of years of research and hard work. I’m not talking about long hours in an air-conditioned office here; these guys literally ‘walk the talk’ braving basic infrastructure and mind-boggling bureaucracy to create inclusive eco-tourism initiatives. This willingness to work together on the Green Circuit can only be the result of confident transparent operations and clear focused intentions. For partners of the Green Circuit this and their united approach to responsible tourism is something they share. Drawing strength from individual specialities, it’s only natural they collaborate on the Green Circuit to further develop, share and promote responsible tourism in the region.
And the benefits really are manifold. The Green Circuit creates a great learning opportunity as operators share advice and ground level experience. A lot of theory on responsible tourism already exists, but actual documented accounts and practical tips from the grassroots is rare, at least as far as the Indian Sub-continent is concerned. While each operator will have indigenous solutions for their respective areas, there is always scope for different perspectives to shed light on common problems. The Green Circuit opens a dialogue between operators traditionally isolated by geographic distance and a conscious decision to focus efforts on the field. It provides a perfect platform to share experiences, develop ideas and grow collectively.
Apart from helping each other the Green Circuit was really conceived to present travellers the very best eco-adventures from the Indian Subcontinent. Tapping into the Green Circuit links travellers to a trusted independent network. What impresses me most about the Green Circuit is the recognition granted by one responsible tour operator to another. That each operator finds faith and sincerity in the other’s work is a huge vote of confidence that speaks volumes about the integrity behind the Green Circuit and the circle of trust uniting each responsible tourism partner.