Mindmap Travel adheres whenever possible to the principles of sustainable tourism—that is, we aim to tread lightly on the places where we operate and to contribute to the well being of the cities we love.
Sustainable Tourism means “Do No Harm to your Destination”
Sustainable tourism, like a doctor’s code of ethics, means “First, do no harm.” It is basic to good destination stewardship.
Sustainable tourism does not abuse its product—the destination. It seeks to avoid the “loved to death” syndrome. Businesses and other stakeholders anticipate development pressures and apply limits and management techniques that sustain natural habitats, heritage sites, scenic appeal, and local culture. It conserves resources. Environmentally aware travelers favor businesses that minimize pollution, waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals, and excessive nighttime lighting. It respects local culture and tradition. Foreign visitors learn about and observe local etiquette, including using at least a few courtesy words in the local language. Residents learn how to deal with foreign expectations that may differ from their own.
It aims for quality, not quantity. Communities measure tourism success not by sheer numbers of visitors, but by length of stay, distribution of money spent, and quality of experience.
Social & Economic Impact
In order to manage our impact on the social and economic fabric of our cities, we generally follow the guidelines of the Sustainable Tourism Initiative and the National Geographic Society’s Geotourism Charter.
Firstly, we look for ways that we can shape our programs so that they have a minimal footprint on the city. This includes dividing large groups into smaller subgroups and avoiding overcrowded spaces except when absolutely necessary.
This has an obvious economic effect: Instead of directing the spending power of our clients towards touristy chains that have a negative effect on the city, we help them to invest in the health of small enterprises and the living fabric of the place. We also believe that this fosters a great rapport between the host (the local business owner) and the visitor, instead of alienating the one from the other as so often happens in crowded tourist zones.
The second tack we take is to include some amount of discussion about the traveler’s role in the social and economic life of the host city into every itinerary we run. This is an uneven and haphazard element of what we do. Since our tours are custom designed (in most cases only Small Groups) we don’t follow a script and work independently to develop our own narrative experience of these cities and spend a lot of time spent talking about preserving the social fabric or encouraging our clients to venture outside the main cities.
Commitment to the Community
MindMap places great emphasis on visiting Rural areas of Portugal. Not only are they often overlooked because they are not on the main tourist guidebooks but they are the “soul” of Portugal. These communities possess a vast amount of traditions that are kept alive solely by their inhabitants, who place great pride in their past which they strongly attempt to preserve into the modern times. Visits to these communities, partaking in their local economy and enjoying the nearly year round festivals that have ancient roots not only will give you a feel of Portugal but also awaken you to a fascinating part of the fabric of Portuguese life which is not to be found with mass tourism. The Portuguese people are truly welcoming and hospitable and are delighted to show you this in the ways they interact with you during visits to these areas.
Plan your Portugal Experience around Rural Visits
We will include in your Custom Itinerary visits to these remarkable, lesser traveled places when designing your visit. Make sure to include this request when you contact us and start planning your trip to Portugal!Contact MindMap