Our Environmental Promise
We recognise our obligation to operate tours and plan travel in a responsible and sustainable fashion. This is not only for environmental reasons but also social and economic.
We believe that by following the principles of Responsible Tourism we can provide a more rewarding and interesting experience for visitors, while enhancing the well-being of the communities that are our hosts and the natural environment that we are there to experience.
At AgriTravel we believe responsible travel should provide many benefits, both to communities and the environments we travel in, plus provide real and positive social exchanges. We are committed to providing a more environmentally sustainable future for our beautiful country.
Tourism can help provide employment to rural communities and give powerful economic reasons to preserve natural environments.
Whenever possible we arrange group or small group tours as using a single vehicle to transport multiple visitors is more environmentally friendly than other modes of travel including rental cars or campervans.
The following are the key points in our philosophy:
- We are committed to operating environmentally sustainable tours
- We value all natural resources in the areas in which we operate
- We have a policy of minimal impact and ideally leaving no trace of our activities behind
- We have official accreditation to operate on Department of Conservation land which demonstrates our commitment to the environment and sustainability
- We and our suppliers work to strict environmental guidelines on how we observe wildlife, operate walks to minimise impacts, and deal with waste
- Where possible we recycle everything we use, reducing the amount of waste we produce during tours and our own business activities
- We attempt to maximise our use of electronic communications reducing the need for paper and printing where possible
- We use recycled products and environmentally friendly cleaning products wherever possible
- We commit to ongoing training and development in areas of safety, risk and environmental management
- We provide our visitors with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs of local communities.
Tiaki means ‘to care for people and place’ in Te Reo Māori.
The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now and for future generations.
The Tiaki Promise communicates why caring for New Zealand is important and how to care for Aotearoa while travelling around the country.
AgriTravel supports the Tiaki Promise to care for New Zealand; an initiative that actively encourages international and domestic travellers alike to experience New Zealand in a way that keeps everyone safe, protects our environment, respects our culture and protects the country for future generations.
Visitors and Travellers
We encourage our visitors to be play their part while travelling, to contribute to our aim to achieve a better sustainable future. Environmental impacts can be minimised with small actions such as: Water usage:
- Replace your hotel bathroom towels on the towel racks daily, as an indication to housekeeping that you do not wish for your towels to be cleaned that day, saving water and reducing detergent waste.
- Don’t run water unnecessarily. Turn off taps and showers when not using them.
- Place your rubbish waste into the respective waste receptacles where provided to enable the recycling, reuse and reduction of this waste. If recycling isn’t available please place your rubbish into a waste bins and don’t leave it on the ground.
- While visiting and walking Department of Conservation National Parks keep to the walking tracks provided, this prolongs the presentation and longevity of our native foliage for others to enjoy.
- Do not interfere with any wildlife that you see while out on walks in parks – these are nice to look at, but many species of birdlife and reptilians do stress very easily.
AgriTravel has gained a Qualmark Enviro Silver Award, recognising its high standards in environmental practices. To earn New Zealand Tourism’s official environmental award, AgriTravel had to show effectiveness in energy efficiency, waste management and water conservation, with community activities and conservation initiatives also considered under Qualmark’s environmental criteria. Qualmark is an official endorsement awarded by Tourism New Zealand and is designed to identify professional and trustworthy operators to enable international and domestic visitors to book and buy tourist products and services with confidence. Wherever possible we select suppliers that are also Qualmark approved and therefore deemed to operate in an ethical, professional and environmentally sustainable way.
Our parent company Leisure Time Tours, that owns and operates its own fleet of motor coaches in New Zealand, has been awarded a sustainability Gold rating for their Qualmark transport accreditation.
Leisure Time Tours Group, incorporating Travel Time South Pacific and AgriTravel International, owns and operates its own fleet of motor coaches in New Zealand and water bottles are a prominent request from many coach tour or walking group clients. Historically many tours have operated with a supply of plastic water bottles for client’s comfort and refreshment. While we constantly encourage our passengers to recycle waste, we recognise that there are flaws in the traditional recycling programmes within New Zealand, and that the manufacture of bottled water uses vast quantities of valuable resources such as oil and water itself.
We are excited to announce that on Leisure Time Tour coaches we will now only provide plant-based compostable water bottles on New Zealand tours that would previously have used single-use plastic water bottles.
The plant-based, oil-free, water bottles are certified compostable and have a 78% smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastic bottles.
We encourage visitors to reuse their bottle during their New Zealand tour, and we can return them to the provider who has a closed loop collection system for repurposing, recycling or composting.
Our water bottle provider also plants a tree for every box of water bottles sold.
All water is 100% pure New Zealand spring water, bottled at source.
We are a sponsor of the Save the Kiwi program, run as part of the National Kiwi Trust, at Kiwi Encounter, Rainbow Springs, Rotorua. Kiwi Encounter is New Zealand’s largest kiwi facility, for both wild and captive Kiwi. Open to the public it is not just another ‘attraction’ – at Kiwi Encounter what you see is conservation in action with their efforts to stop the extinction of New Zealand’s national icon. Kiwi birds are a unique and endangered species with populations halving approximately every ten years. A conservation programme has been put in place to try and slow the decline of kiwi. The initiative works by artificially incubating kiwi eggs and raising the chicks in captivity until they are 1kg in size and considered able to defend themselves from predators. The chicks are then released back to the wild in the area that the egg was originally lifted from. The programme, along with research and ongoing monitoring of the birds, has helped raise the survival rate of kiwi chicks in the wild from 5% to 60-70%. As part of our commitment to the environment we make regular donations on our guests’ behalf to Kiwi Encounter by way of sponsoring kiwi chicks. We are proud to be a contributor to the conservation of New Zealand’s native bird population, helping to ensure that our rare wildlife will be around for generations to come. For more information https://www.rainbowsprings.co.nz/donate
Introducing our latest kiwi bird: Gonzo
April 2018: Bought into Kiwi Encounter as a ten-day-old chick found in the Coromandel. The feisty and bright chick got off to a great start, eating food overnight on its own and putting on weight. Gonzo has been micro-chipped and once he/she (the sex is not determined until DNA results from feathers come back!) reaches 1kg in weight, will be released back into the wild in the Coromandel.
28/5/18 UPDATE: Gonzo remains a model Kiwi chick! And we now know that he is a little boy from the feathers we sent off for DNA testing. He remains very bright and wriggly when handled. He likes to sleep in one particular shelter each night and tends to sleep just in the entrance to it so we give him a little nudge to get him to move further in and be better covered from the weather. He explores the whole of his run each night and has been putting on good weight up until now, with his last weight being 655g. We might see a slow down now with the weather becoming a little colder as we get further into winter.
16/7/18 UPDATE: Gonzo is being a model chick and doing all the right things. He is very wriggly when handled which is great because we like them to stay wild – it is a good sign for when they are released. He has lovely thick feathers now that it is winter and fine feet (typical of a male). His last weight was 889g and his growth rate has slowed down a little due to the colder weather but this is to be expected. We are just waiting until he gets to 950g and then he can go into quarantine ready for release into the wild. Being a late chick he is one of only 6 that we have left on site from last season as all the rest have returned to the wild.
RELEASED!:- We are wrapping up the season with the last of our chicks now heading out into the wild. One of these is Gonzo. He really did take his time getting to the quarantine weight and was finally put into quarantine at 942g. He still dislikes handling and was always very wriggly. Every time he was handled his whiskers were commented on. He has lots of very dark, long black whiskers which make him very distinctive. Gonzo passed his quarantine checks and got the final clearance for release. On the 26th of August he was on his way to Project Kiwi in the Coromandel. He travelled well and was placed in a warm dry burrow (which is a good thing as we have had so much wet weather). He has been put into an area where adult kiwi are currently present and he will be able to hear these birds calling at night. He was put close to a small stream which will have lots of insect life for him to find.