Its initiatives include educating staff and clients about the merits of environmental awareness and supporting sustainability in its 500-plus holiday destinations. The company is investing more than £300,000 this year in carbon-reduction programmes in developing countries, to offset emissions for all the flights it books for both customers and staff. It has helped to boost local employment in destination countries by shifting from UK-based to local tour leaders. The judges were impressed by Explore's integrated commitment to environmental, social and economic initiatives.
Founded in 1981 as a division of European specialist holiday group Holidaybreak, Explore's aim is to escort travellers off the beaten path to get a genuine flavour of the countries that they visit. Small groups are central to its ethos, as it not only provides travellers with a more customised experience, but also helps to minimise the impact on wildlife and the environment. The company now has more than 500 itineraries, carrying 35,000 people a year.
Explore has integrated sustainability into its entire operation through a multi-pronged 'responsible travel' plan. This is strongly backed by the company's CEO and MD, both of whom participate in educational forums on responsible travel.