Travelling with Heritage Expeditions is to travel responsibly. As biologists and ornithologists, we are intimately aware of the many issues that confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups. We also take action: we actively contribute to the conservation of the places we visit in several ways; we 'buy local' and employ locally; we make sure that travellers are respectful of local customs and traditions; and we dispose of waste responsibly.
Heritage Expeditions supports conservation by providing advocacy through responsible travel and providing funds and logistical support for research and management. Since 2011 we have continued BirdLife International as a Species Champion for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. In addition providing transport and logistics for several researchers, we are committed to making financial contributions as a company and welcome our guests to join us in support of this programme. All funds donated will be spent on BirdLife International's activities preventing extinction. 70% goes to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation project directly and 30% is retained and pooled with other contributions to fund three other vital aspects of BirdLife International's work:
- To fund vital development of conservation (capacity) for Critically Endangered species who do not yet receive support.
- A contribution to the BirdLife Partnership's International Science, Policy, Advocacy, Conservation and Coordination work that underpins the programme.
- Vital communications and publicity that raises international awareness of the extinctions crisis and promotes the programme to help recruit new BirdLife Species Champions.
We also make significant annual contributions to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Russian State Reserve Agency. In addition to these contributions, Heritage Expeditions provides transport of freight and personnel to and from nature reserves. We support the New Zealand Meteorological Service and non-governmental research agencies, including the World Wildlife Fund (Russia), the University of Canterbury and The Last Ocean Charitable Trust.
We travel in small groups and endeavour to maintain a guide-to-client ratio of 1:12. Each expedition is led by an experienced Expedition Leader who is familiar with the region being visited. When selecting our specialist expedition equipment, vehicles and vessels, we research carefully to ensure that they are the most suitable and the most environmentally responsible. All waste generated on our expeditions is disposed of in a responsible manner: onboard it is treated as prescribed by MARPOL and on land expeditions recycling is encouraged. Non-recyclable waste is brought back for disposal at approved sites.
We partner with True Young Explorer to provide scholarships for young people, who could not otherwise afford to travel, to join our expeditions. Heritage Expeditions holds active membership in a number of conservation and travel organisations, including the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) which promotes responsible travel to Antarctica, Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird.