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Pioneering Responsible Tourism in Odisha

Grass Routes shares an innate responsibility toward our planet and its people. This is nurtured through our responsible tourism practises aimed at respecting local people, places and their diverse cultures. All Grass Routes journeys contribute to Odisha's natural and cultural heritage in the following ways:

ENVIORNMENT – its easy being green!

We include local transport wherever possible to minimize the need for extra vehicles on    our roads and waterways. We’re even selective about the type of local transport – we’d    prefer a manual pole boat over a mechanised boat any day!

For short distances we use bicycles. We like to avoid main roads where possible and    take the less travelled country roads through paddy fields and villages.

We pick up rubbish we find enroute in Bhitarkanika and Simlipal National Parks. We    conduct ‘Clean Up the Beach’ initiatives at Chilika Lake. This is done jointly with our    travellers.

We maintain safe and appropriate distances when observing wildlife. We do not intrude    on the animal’s space or disturb their natural movements. Afterall animal behaviour is    best revealed in its natural state!

We discourage purchase of seashell souvenirs.

We encourage a no bird-catching policy in and around Chilika Lake and support    reformed poachers seek alternative livelihoods.

We limit printing or brochures & business cards. Our promotion is solely through our    website (no copies on CD’s either reducing e-waste).

We provide our travellers with guidelines on appropriate environmental practises during    their stay with us.

     At camp:

We provide purified drinking water to eliminate the need for plastic bottles. Travellers    are encouraged to bring their own durable water bottles to refill. We also encourage the    hotels we use to provide this facility for their guests.

We follow the ancient walking tracks set out by indigenous people centuries ago.    Following their footsteps keeps erosion to a minimum.

We use fresh local organic fruit and vegetables for our camp meals and encourage    organic farming practises.

We use gas for cooking as it is a cleaner fuel than wood.

We stay close to villages and consult the communities on appropriate bathing spots    (downstream from water collection points) and practises. This information is relayed to    our travellers.

We ask travellers to use biodegradable soaps, shampoos and insect repellents to keep    our rivers and waterways clean. Natural products are locally available and we provide    opportunities for travellers to make these purchases; many buy in bulk to take back    home!

We dig a sewage pit at camp, burn our paper waste and add biodegradable waste to    assist the decomposition process. Our Local Leaders carry a tent peg (which doubles as    a makeshift shovel) on our walks.

SOCIAL – its all about respect …

We limit the size of our groups to minimize environmental and social impact.

We provide our travelers with guidelines on local culture and etiquette to help them    best adapt to different social environments.

We do not camp IN villages. We camp a respectful distance from the village. We enjoy    social time in the villages we stay close to without encroaching on their space or    disrupting their daily routine.

We implement a ‘think before you shoot’ camera policy and emphasize the importance    of making a connection with your subject first.

     Utilizing & Developing Local Skills

We employ Local Leaders to bridge mutual understanding and respect between    travellers and local communities.

Where possible we employ local residents in the villages we visit as local guides in    addition to the Local Leaders that accompany travelers throughout. We encourage,    develop and promote specialized local knowledge and skills.

 We provide training and skills to local residents in the villages keen to become local    guides.

We support local craftsmen, weavers, dancers, musicians and performance artists to    maintain their traditional cultures. We give special importance to revitalizing traditional    folk art forms that have been neglected and in danger of slipping into oblivion.

We support reformed poachers seek alternative livelihoods.

We provide our Local Leaders with Eco Tourism, Hospitality, Environment Management    and Leadership training. We also provide them with information on Eco Tourism,    Environmental and Sustainability issues.

Local Leaders are provided with First Aid training.

     Community Partnership & Participation

We invest a lot of time building relationships with communities. Every journey provides    us an opportunity to build friendships, create awareness and generate mutual respect    and understanding.

We invest in capacity building among Local Leaders, guides, drivers, boatmen and    village representatives. We all meet regularly before, during and throughout the season    to provide platforms for discussion and encourage active participation, input and ideas.

The projects we support are not tourist initiatives, but use tourism for funding, support    and community interaction.

ECONOMIC - Sustainable Livelihoods

We source service and products locally retaining revenues in our communities.

We employ locals only. A passionate Local Leader accompanies all our journeys.

We source services locally; we employ local resident guides, taxi drivers, park rangers,    chefs and oarsmen. 

We encourage alternate sources of income (such as trekking guides, assistants, oarsmen and park rangers) to wildlife smugglers and poachers.

We choose small-scale locally owned and managed hotels and restaurants.

We source products locally in markets. Fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood,    herbs and spices are all bought direct from the cultivators themselves. Natural soaps    and shampoos, oils and insect repellents are purchased from local vendors.

We provide a supplementary income for the local communities who live on the fringe of    mainstream society. This includes local indigenous communities, fishing communities,    craftsmen and women and artisans.

10% of our annual profit is benchmarked for sustainable development within our    communities. We maintain lasting relationships with the projects we support and are    always looking for new initiatives.

Grass Routes  | Orissa Tour  | Tribal Tour  |  Puri | Responsible Travel  |  Sustainable Travel


Grass Routes way ...
Grass Routes provides direct and personal opportunities to make constructive contributions.



Travel Responsibly:

Minimise negative    environmental, social and    cultural impacts.

Maximise your connection    with the people, their cultures    and the environment they    inhabit.

Make a positive difference    and enjoy the most rewarding    and inspiring travel    experiences of your life!


What Can You Do?
It’s never been so easy to make a positive difference and have the time of your life doing it!

Download our tips for travelling responsbily the Grass Routes way

Travellers Tips (PDF)

Photography can be a fantastic interactive experience. Sensitive execution is the key. Download our photography guidelines »

Photography Tips (PDF)



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