Responsible Tourism Policy

Espíritu 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, Morocco & Italy. 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 traveller, travelling 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 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, tourism’s 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 of people!

Espiritu Travel head office

We responsibly run our office 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. 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 Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

Transport in Spain, Portugal & Italy

We always encourage travel by train whenever possible. It is easy to get around Spain, Portugal & Italy by train. all three countries have a network of high-speed and comfortable trains between the major cities, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Rome and Lisbon, Porto. 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 travelling responsibly. We provide our travellers with information on how they can reduce their negative impact and make positive contributions to the communities they will visit while in Spain & Portugal.

Animal welfare
The issue of animal 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.

  1. They’re overworked, frequently working twelve hours a day and longer in the summer months. Their stables are over 10km away as well, so when their working day is over they must travel 10km further.
  2. Horses are frequently dehydrated, frothing at their mouths, with their tongues hanging out.
  3. 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.
  4. The majority of the horses are terrified of people and cowered away.
  5. Many horses have poor hoof care with overgrown and cracked hooves.
  6. The harnesses frequently appear to be incorrectly fitted or designed for a much smaller/larger horse.
  7. It is not uncommon to see bits wrongly sized for the horse’s mouth and fitting incorrectly.
  8. Horses slip and get stuck on the cobbles. It is worse when it has been raining.
  9. Whipping the horses is a frequent sight, even when they have been spooked.
  10. The already heavy carriages were regularly overloaded with (large) people considering the size of the horses.
  11. Very young horses are often used, some amounting to little more than foals.
  12. Horses can be seen around the city with no shade, whether it be resting or working.

In Morocco, in particular Marrakech is a real hot spot for abusing animals what to avoid.

  • Don’t take pictures with the monkeys in the square Jemaa le Fna, which are shackled around the neck.
  • Don’t take pictures of the goats that are cruelly tied in trees. They are unable to move from that one spot the entire day.
  • Don’t take pictures of the falcons and snake charmers in the square, in the mountains or Essaouira. Both are captured from the wild and the latter usually has the fangs painfully removed and spend their days being tormented by music
  • Don’t buy reptiles like turtles and chameleons in the souks too.
  • Avoid the popular “caleche”, the horse-driven carts that throttle tourists around all day long and are then left to virtually rot in their hell after work.
  • Be sure and check the condition of the camels before agreeing to a ride

Waste management
Say no to plastic bags! It is necessary to be vigilant 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 butts should not be dropped on streets, behind bushes or in the sand if you are at the beach. Please put them in a trash bin or 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 bottles particularly water is a global problem. In Spain, Portugal & Italy, 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. In certain areas such as the Balearic Islands or southern Italy, the taste can be quite different so often locals drink bottle water because of this not because the water is unsafe.

We recommend bringing a metal or BPA-free water bottle so that you can fill it up in the hotel for your day’s 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 group for an extended period, we recommend bringing a filtration bottle or something similar to improve the taste. There are many brands on the market these days. On the Portuguese island groups of Madeira and Azores, water is more abundant so desalination plants are not necessary.

The Iberian Peninsula is one of the highest water-stressed regions of the world according to the World Resource Institute and is 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!