Transylvania Live’s Responsible Travel Policy

Transylvania Live is a member of Responsible Travel organization.
Responsible tourism is all about leaving a positive impact on not only the environment, but also the people who live in the places we choose to visit.
See our presentation here responsibletravel.com

Message to our guest about our Responsible Travel policy

Our aim is to introduce you, and make sure that future visitors will discover “ genuine Transylvania”. Helping preserve beautiful traditions, thousands of years old, keeping alive the culture of different areas by introducing you to locals, assuring that Transylvania will always welcome you with pine flavor and thick forests, making sure that in a village “grandmother” waits you with a slice of traditional pie is not at all difficult.

Instead of offering you a card, as a gift, we’d rather have you enjoy a refreshing summer day at the shade of a thick forest. You’ll love even better what we prepared for you.

We try to promote as much as possible our traditions, craftsmen, the people who can offer you a real view on Romania’s culture. This is why in our tours we take you to wood craftsmen workshop (we’re practically invite you to their houses) to see how wood obeys the hand that gives it life, wood craftsman Grigore Tulean from Maramures is the perfect example; we’re introducing you to Madame’s Monica Cosma, shop in Biertan to discover the finest selection of genuine handicraft objects in Romania. You’ll help the work of a unique artist – the painter Emil Muresan who uses spider web for his paintings. Since recently we use to visit with our tourist Misiuga, the old Baron of Dracula, a special character “responsible” among others for the existence of Dracula’s Castle in Borgo Pass, make him feel proud of his exquisite puppet collection that he’ll present in his windswept tour in the citadel of Bistrita. Now the maestro has passed away – God rest him in peace!

You’ll accommodate for a night in welcoming peasant houses, your hosts will be thrilled to introduce you to their way of living and prepare for you a traditional home cooked meal.

We are the only Romanian tour operator offering the possibility of enjoying Transylvanian old rituals both making use and preserving Transylvanian traditions and mythology! Our offer includes cultural literary holidays that take you to genuine Transylvania to celebrate together our songs, dances, see the work of the shepherds, admire the mastery of our craftsmen.

Transylvania Live appeals only to the help of local guideswe work only with local suppliers, so that money will stay where needed.

We’re supporting – Saint Daniel’s Foundation program which already built a house for the elderly and now is trying to build the second one for both old people and children in the program entitled – “A grandfather for a nephew – A nephew for a grandfather”.
Sustaining our region through involvement in civic projects is another priority for us. Transylvania Live is co initiator of the Tourism Information Centre in Turda.

Transylvania Live is a licensed tour operator – no 112.
Our agency abides by the rules set by the Romanian Tourism Ministry and European Union.
What makes us different from other tour operators is that we’re not “forcing” our tourist to make two payments, one in tourist’s country and another one in Romania, without invoice for expanses such as for the guide’s services etc. This is a common practice among tour operators that supports work on black market and deprives the country of money that can be used to improve the conditions for both locals and tourists.

Our agency provides a stable, rewording working place for 9 people.

Transylvania Live Responsible Travel Policy

Get most out of your holiday whilst giving a little back to the communities and environment you visit.

Transylvania Live is a tour operator specialising in travel to Romania. With our roots firmly set in Transylvania and working closely with our international partners, we are fully committed to operating a Responsible Travel Policy that is supportive of local economies, cultures and the environment. We recognise how profound the affects of tourism can be, and our aim is to promote the positive impacts that tourism brings to the local and global community alike. To plan for an equitable, long-term future, all of us need to help develop and support the principles of sustainable tourism by, firstly, recognising our responsibilities.

Although there are no simply solutions in realising the hotly debated principles of sustainable tourism, it is our belief that there are many simple steps that industry and individuals can take to ensure that the positive impacts are maximised and the negative minimised. To help realise this, Transylvania Live has adopted a three tiered approach:

Economic Responsibility; it is important that the benefits brought by tourism do benefit the communities being visited, not only increasing employment opportunities, but also by supporting local businesses and suppliers, many of which are family run. A common phenomenon is that the revenue generated is ‘leaked’ out of the country or regions actually being visited, often harming small communities more than benefiting them.

Environmental Responsibility; our guests are offered advice and suggestions on how to be a responsible traveller and by improving their knowledge about the villages and regions they visit: considering tradition, culture, language, economy, history and current issues.

Social Commitments and Charity; our aims to help preserve and promote Romanian traditions whilst supporting positive community development, which in turn, helps to protect the natural environment. Prior to our guests’ arrival we ensure that our suppliers, staff and guides are fully informed about our Responsible Travel Policy. We offer valuable support to Turda’s Saint Daniels Foundation; using ecologically friendly building techniques, including their own organic vegetable garden, they provide vital homes for the elderly and orphans.

Economic Responsibility

Preserving the natural environment is inextricably linked to supporting local economies. If managed carefully, tourism is a way of generating income with excellent long-term prospects which help communities to protect their environment for future generations. We actively encourage our guest to buy locally produced foods and handicrafts. Our tour groups are small allowing people to interact more easily with the local people. All our guides are Romanian (with the exception of our Hungarian guides for our Budapest Tour) and can advise guests on local customs as well as help them to break down language barriers. Using locally run businesses, and small family run businesses, (such as Mioritica country-inn in Sibiel, a village near by Sibiu, the guest houses of Ilea family in Ieud in the traditional Maramures or the traditional peasant houses run by the villagers of Rimetea, a small village in the heart of Apuseni Mountains), means the revenue generated is well dispersed into communities where it is needed the most. Further more, being based in Romania, Transylvania Live appeals only to the help of local guides both in Romania and Hungary and we work only with local suppliers so that money will stay where needed.

Transylvania Live works with country-inns, guest houses, peasant houses, most of them located in rural areas, as all these places have a great respect for the environment: the food is mostly organic, they try to minimise as much as possible the amount of electricity used, most of these places do not have central heating and for domestic works use water from wells.

We recognise how profound the effects of tourism can be so we rather operate with small groups, always make sure that our tourists have a recyclable garbage bag and that the waste will be disposed only on the special arranged areas, our tourists receive prior to their arrival in Romania, a document – Responsible Tips for Responsible Travellers- offering them advice and suggestions on how to be a responsible traveller and  improve their knowledge about the regions they visit; keeping to tracks, not disturbing wildlife and using biodegradable hygiene products are measures that we take for our walking tours.

Social Commitments and Charity

Transylvania Live is very active within the community and help to sustain our region through a wide variety of civic projects: Saint Daniels’s Foundation in Turda, providing homes for elderly and orphans, the workshop of wood craftsman Grigore Tulean from Maramures , Madame Monica Cosma’s shop in Biertan offering the finest selection of genuine handicraft objects in Romania, the workshop of Emil Muresan, the painter who uses spider web for his work are only a few examples. It is normal for our tours to visit places in need of support and revenue generated by tourism, which in turn help maintains peoples’ livelihoods and natural environment.

With one exception, none of the initiatives listed below receive financial support from the government and they require our continuous support. (We have and do also support various community initiatives that do not require our continued support.)

We support Saint Daniel’s Foundation programme entitled “A grandfather for a nephew – A nephew for a grandfather”. With one eco-friendly home already complete eight more homes are being built to house people most in need; orphans and the elderly. To this highly innovative project we offer continuous administrative support and have donate food and drinks for the visiting sponsors.

We are co-founders of Turda’s much needed Tourist Information Centre.

Read our Responsible Travel Policy

Environmental Responsibility

 Our guests are encouraged to do a little reading before coming to find out more about their host communities and environment. We provide suggestion on how best to support the local economies and communities, as well as the surrounding environment. Guests can expect a pre-trip information pack via e-mail, to minimise the use of paper, which will inform them about issues relating to the place they intend to travel, some language tips and general advice. Furthermore our tour guides are well-educated multilingual people who can offer guests their skills as an interpreter and offer up-to-date details on current national and regional issues.

Before you travel, find out a bit more about Romania’s cultures, religion, history, politics, geography and customs. Read our general information pack and detailed itinerary of your chosen tour destinations. Libraries are also great places to find more information and find travel books for Romania.

Learn a few Romanian words and phrases – included in our pre-trip information pack. For those of you who want to take it a step further, language courses can be ordered from most libraries.

Support the local economies so that the money generated stays in the communities you are visiting: Buy locally made handicrafts and locally produced foods (mostly organic). Where possible (and mostly it is) we advise and arrange for our guests to stay in locally run country-inns or hotels.

Pay a fair price for goods and services. Bear in mind that most of the crafts, clothing and carpets on a sale are hand made using lengthy traditional processes. Expect to pay a high price, they are superb in quality and help to preserve local traditions and economies supporting are long list of people in their community.

Ask for permission before you take photographs of people.

Always keep an open mind and try to reserve making any hasty judgements.

Don’t make promises you can’t or are not likely to keep, like sending photographs or letters.

As hard as it is, we advise you not to give money to beggars. In many cases, young children are often sent to beg on behalf of extensive and organised criminal networks, also preventing them from attending school which is provided for by the state. If you want to give something make it something practical like food or stationary or donate to our charity which supports children and elderly people who are in dire need. Alternatively, you can make donations to community elders or to person in charge of the project you would like to donate to. If you want to support a local community or environmental project we are always happy to provide you with suggestions.

Romania waste management systems still leave much to be desired. Try to minimise the amount of rubbish you produce by using your own bag at the market or in the shops. Refill you water bottles. The tap water is fine to drink and Romania is covered with fresh water springs and wells –the water is rich in minerals- but first ensure that it is safe to drink (ask a local or bring some water purification tablets). Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Using local produce will also go a long way in reducing both packaging and the amount of fuel used to transport the produce. Bring your own bio-degradable soap. Burn or bury your toilet paper when you’re in the mountains or forest. Simply, use your common sense and take your rubbish with you.

When in a museum first ask if it is permitted to take photographs. Many museums or heritage sites also ask for a small fee if you use your camera or video-recorder. Be honest – remember the money is put towards restoration and preservation projects. Even though many of the artefacts are openly displayed, please do not touch them to help ensure their longevity.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask question and enjoy yourself!

 

Responsibility begins at home

We are committed to operating a Responsible travel policy within our office.

Converting paper files to electronic files is a great way to save time but most importantly give the trees a break. We try to minimise the amount of paper used for office work and rely mostly on computer. The paper resulted from office work is entirely recycled.

We’re also reusing paper, and when printing draft copies always use the reverse side of the already-used paper.

We know our guests would rather enjoy the shade of a thick forest instead of a printed pamphlet so we have decided last year to only use electronic brochures for marketing purposes.

In order to save energy we’re using mostly laptops computers as these use only 10% of the energy required by desktop computers, always activate our computer’s ”sleep”´ mode option so that when the machine is not being used, it will automatically switch from full power to sleep mode.

For energy efficiency we have chosen an inkjet fax machine as these machines have a low standby energy rating and use about 10% of the energy required by laser fax machines.

Furthermore we have assigned a person inside the office to be responsible for turning off lights, computers, whenever these machines are not used to save energy. The same person makes sure that our taps are properly closed and the heat system is used only when needed.

In order to reduce air pollution we try to conduct our meetings by telephone, web conference when possible.

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