Sustainability and responsible tourism is key to how we run our business at every level. Having spent generations in the wild, environmental protection is a priority and our family was one of the pioneers of eco-friendly tourism into India.
For us, sustainability is much more than just a label. It’s a way of life and of doing business that is in sync with the environment. For us, it’s every bit as important that each experience should give back to the community as much as it gives to the traveler.
The idea is to go beyond our reaches to support organizations that make the world a better place.
Since its inception, we have supported Tomorrow’s Air to Clean Carbon from the Atmosphere. We have actively contributed funds and nominated projects with the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund.
Our Managing Director, Amit Sankhala, sits on the board for Wild Landscapes which lobbies to protect wildlife and its habitat around the world. As part of his family’s legacy in wildlife conservation, Amit is also actively involved with Tiger Trust.
Our contributions to Snow Leopard Conservancy over the years have brought about a visible change, where our tourism dollars and lobbying for finding have resulted in 50,000 USD in contributions. While these are some of our key sustainability initiatives, there are several smaller organizations where Encounters Asia contributes towards the support of communities and wildlife. The Last Wilderness Foundation and 17000 Ft are such examples.
While protecting nature and wildlife conservation is deeply integrated into our operations, sustainability for us goes far beyond the natural landscape.
Our team is constantly in the field seeking out opportunities for community development projects that uplift a village or a rural area, to create a mutually beneficial relationship in the long run. We make it a point to work with experience and hospitality partners, who embrace the same ethos.
Whether its working with tribes in the remote corners of Gujarat, funding projects that aim to educate rural communities about the importance of protecting a species like the Snow Leopard, or supporting the restoration of a piece of cultural heritage, our goal is to leverage tourism to directly benefit the community.
We actively promote environmentally friendly initiatives such as nature walks, hiking, biking and camping experiences. Not only do these support the region in which they are run, they also expose our clients to the beauty of these far-flung corners of the country. Whether its village-to-village walks in Kumaon, bike rides in rural Rajasthan, or bespoke camping in Central India, we take the time to curate experiences that leave no ecological footprint on the environs. We keep waste and plastic to a minimum and encourage our guests to re-use and recycle wherever possible.
Our team develops longstanding relationships with the promoters and organisers of unusual events and festivals that showcase India’s intangible cultural heritage, as well as its handicrafts.
Whether its tribal festivals in Nagaland, or music festivals in Rajasthan, we love to bring the colour and charisma of India to life by supporting these incredible events. We also develop deep relationships with local families and ethnic communities to create bespoke culinary experiences that are rooted in tradition. From Syrian-Christian delicacies in Cochin to Bengali cooking lessons in Kolkatta, we make it a point to to bring India’s food story to life.
Wherever feasible, we make it a point to hire our people locally and source our supplies from the area in which we operate.
In turn, we share our knowledge and experience about sustainable tourism best practices with them. We also partner closely with local authorities, forest management officials, and NGOs to put sustainable tourism models in place in the areas where we operate.