The outbound nature tour operator Steppes Discovery, TOI member since January 2001, provides wildlife, safari and adventure tourism in South America, Caribbean, Polar regions, China, Southern Africa, East Africa, Mongolia and Borneo.
Its mission is to offer inspirational travel journeys that give a privileged insight into cultures and the natural world whilst supporting their long term survival and conservation.
Steppes Discovery commits to use, wherever possible, locally-owned services, accommodations and locally-produced food. It seeks to ensure that clients see the full picture, and that they are made aware of the issues and concerns facing the communities they visit and the threats to wildlife and resources in each area. Participants are encouraged to respect cultures and customs. Activities that result in cruel treatment of animals, or interference in their natural way of life, are avoided.
Steppes Discovery is committed to continually assess the environmental, social and economic impact of its visit, so as to avoid over-dependency.
Summary table of actions
Supply chain management
- All destination agents and partners are vetted for not only their product and services but also their environmental standards, action and support.
- Information on the conservation projects is included in the brochures.
- Many tours are guided by experts from conservation organizations (for example, researchers from a local NGO get clients involved in humpback research for 4 days in South Africa).
- All staff employed have a working understanding and knowledge of sustainable tourism issues and are encouraged to sell this knowledge as part of Steppes Discovery's services.
Cooperation with destinations
- Tours are offered in partnership with over 20 local and international conservation agencies. The tour "A Vision for Wildlife and People Safari" in Namibia, for example, is coordinated by the WWF UK and hosted by their Local conservation NGO's experts in each area. In co-operation with the Galapagos Conservation Trust, a cruise to these enchanted isles raises substantial monies for the agency.
These partnerships give financial support to numerous conservation projects and initiatives. For example, the Orangutan study and support programs contributed over $50K to the Orangutan Foundation in 2001.
- Steppes Discovery promotes tours that help fund conservation projects through its catalogue, marketing and its web site.
- Produced a guidebook to a National park in Mongolia.