Pyrenean Experience Ltd's Responsible Travel Pledge

Responsible Travel Summary

Our objective is not to emulate the 5-star hotel business, but to provide socially and environmentally-sustainable experiences with a personal touch. We offer you immaculate, freshly-laundered bedrooms but do not operate room service during your stay (there are always fresh towels available if you ask). Our water system comes from a spring and we minimise the use of cars and fuels when we can. In doing this I hope to attract discerning and environmentally-sensitive travellers who seek something a little more genuine. In turn, I extend a warm welcome into the heart of my home and I will do all I can (personally and professionally) to provide an authentic introduction to the little-known world of the mountain shepherds of the Basque Pyrenees.

Responsible Travel Ltd recognises Pyrenean Experience Ltd for its Responsible Travel Policy

Mission Statement

Our mission is to run a responsible travel organisation by bringing together people of all different cultures and linguistic backgrounds to promote cultural awareness and inter-cultural sensitivity through a series of activities such as walking, communal dinning, seminars etc. Firstly, we offer our guests a deeper understanding of the minority culture and language of the Basque mountain people. Secondly, through trained cross-cultural facilitators and linguists, we aim to overcome any cultural or linguistic barriers between our guests themselves.

Economic Responsibility

All our employees are local Basque and Spanish people who live within a 10km radius of the Pyrenean Experience base. Their families and friends are encouraged to join our activities (wine tastings, music concerts, lectures etc.) free of charge and to become an extended part of the family. Our neighbours in our mountain hamlet also have an open offer to join in all cultural events that take place at our house.

Environmental Responsibility

We have recuperated many of the old shepherding paths around our home which means that 90% of our walks start at the farmhouse door and return to the farmhouse door. This means that our guests’ walking programme requires either zero or virtually zero use of a car throughout the week. However, if there is a special fiesta nearby we may then use the car but distances remain at a minimum. We recycle our waste and, whenever possible, we use produce (eggs, courgettes, lettuces, onions, tomatoes, chestnuts, walnuts, figs) from our neighbouring farms. We are currently adapting the woods on our land to encourage local birds so that we can commence photography courses later on in the year.

Social Responsibility

We visit many local cultural festivals and farming projects in the area – paying our entry fees or donating small amounts to local village committees. We buy our sheep’s and cow’s cheeses, jams and liqueurs from local farmers or specialist butchers in the area. We have written a cultural booklet for each guest and give seminars on local traditions so that our guests can understand and hence respect the values within the Basque community – a minority group of people. Finally, we feel it extremely important that our guests learn a few words or sentences of the local languages (Spanish and Basque) as a token of respect and a communication tool to build bridges with the local people. This facilitates our integration within the local community and reduces the social impact of our presence. Our groups are never more than 8 – 10 people at one time.