The very raison d’etre of Brightwater Holidays is to create stimulating holidays to enable our clients to enjoy the world’s most beautifully cultivated gardens and wild flower environments along with mankind’s most treasured cultures both modern and ancient. We try to do this as responsibly as possible and in a sustainable manner whenever and wherever we can.
As a fully signed up member of AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) we fully accept and support the AITO Sustainable Tourism guidelines – for full details see www.aito.co.uk/corporate_Responsible-Tourism.asp
All staff are fully aware of our commitment to ST (Sustainable Tourism) and it is made quite clear to new recruits as part of their induction programme. As part of this induction programme it is made clear that we welcome suggestions for improvements/additions to our ST policy. One such example was a ‘bright-spark’ in the office who noticed the wastage of plastic cups that were used at the water dispenser – the plastic cups were replaced with a supply of re-useable glasses. Well done Moira!
All ST activities are reviewed annually.
We have an environmental audit as part of this annual review
We operate two paper recycling programmes in the office – one for confidential documents which are shredded and removed off-site by a franchised environmental recycling company, called ‘Shred-it’. Each year we receive a ‘Certificate of Environmental Accomplishment’ which we proudly display in our reception.
The other paper recycling is a Fife Council operated scheme where a large container in the car park to the rear of the office is emptied of cardboard/waste paper once a week. This paper is recycled and used locally in the production of Whisky boxes – a scheme we wholeheartedly support.
Recently all lighting in the main offices was changed to low-emission lighting.
A new hot water boiler for the central heating was installed replacing an ancient piece of kit that looked like it came out of a ship-yard. The new slick ‘combi-boiler’ only produces hot water when required and has virtually no emissions.
One of the drawbacks of having an office in a grand old Georgian building with large rooms and high ceilings is that it is freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer! We try to monitor room temperatures and aim to keep things at a level 22 degrees. This was made easier by the introduction of a wall thermometer in each room. In practice this is not easy as in the winter when you open a door, the heat flies out and in the summer with such large windows a great deal of heat is generated like a greenhouse, and we must resort to a brick holding open the window to let cool air in.
Other electricity saving schemes have been successful by setting photocopiers/computers/franking Machines etc to ‘sleep’ mode when not in use.
Where possible we source supplies/goods from environmentally sustainable sources – such as
Lightbulbs, coffee and tea for any visitors to the office are all Fairtrade products. Paper used in photocopiers is sourced from ‘Sustainable and Well Managed Forests’, replacing plastic cups with glasses (as already mentioned). In addition to paper recycling we recycle photocopier toner cartridges, printer ink cartridges, old computers go to Computer Recycling Services of Dundee, unwanted office furniture is re-homed by a local charity in Cupar. Postage stamps go to Help the Aged, and the plastic tops from our milk cartons go to a Wheelchair charity. We even have an office compost bin for tea-bags and other organic waste. A recent addition is a recycle scheme for plastic bottles that appear from time to time in staff waste bins.
Unwanted brochures go to the council’s recycling scheme that makes whisky cartons (as already explained). We have a clear-out of old brochures two or three time a year when they are taken in bulk to a main recycle centre in Cupar.
We possible we encourage any staff who live in Cupar to walk to work (or cycle) although in practice this is not practicable for most as the office is located in a rural setting and most members of staff life a considerable distance away.
We encourage our clients/customers to pass on any good ST suggestions via the Comments button on our website.
We do not have one specific Environmental Project that we support, but many. The very nature of our tours and the people who travel with us on our Garden Holidays by their interest in horticulture are already in tune with the environment and the idea of Sustainable Tourism, both within the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and further a field. We offer an unsurpassed range of garden tours and an extensive range of special interest tours to fragile rural (and in some cases quite remote regions) where communities rely and appreciate the valuable income that our tours generate within their communities.
In most cases we use local guides and local services.
· On Barra in the Outer Hebrides we use a local botanist Dr Crinan Alexander to show our clients the unique wild flower ‘machair’ on the grassy headlands of this remote island – we also use ‘Hector the bus’ on the neighbouring island of Vatersay (connected by causeway) to move our clients around the island. Our clients clearly see the positive benefit our specialised tour has on the island and its community.
· ‘Angus the boat’ is another Hebridean success story by running a successful boating business in a most remote location (Leverburgh on the Island of Harris) and has opened up the opportunity to ferry people to the World Heritage Site of St Kilda. Brightwater Holidays has been a regular supporter of this venture over the last few years.
· In Marrakech our garden tour supports the ambitious regeneration programme initiated by King Mohammed IV, which aims to replace and replenish the thousands of palms which have disappeared over the years that once completely surrounded the city walls when the old city was truly an oasis in the desert. As part of the tour we include the opportunity for our clients to physically plant some palm trees as part of the holiday. Not easy to do, but greatly appreciated by all who take part.
· Our Garden Tours support many private garden openings who in turn support a multitude of local charities and the work of both The National Gardens Scheme and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme – indeed Brightwater Holidays organise two specific holidays each year on behalf of these two honourable charities where all profits go to their chosen charities.
· Brightwater Holidays is also sole provider of Garden holidays to the Royal Horticultural Society, where significant donations go to the RHS – the world’s leading horticultural charity and educational resource whose mission statement is ‘To be the leading organisation demonstrating excellence in horticulture and promoting gardening’
· The island of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides was one of the first islands to successfully complete a ‘Community buy-out’ – i.e. the whole island is owned and run by the community for the benefit of the community. This is a difficult and ongoing task, however our programme of tours that visit Eigg are met by the local Piper, have a walking tour with the local guide, followed by afternoon tea in the local café where appropriate local handicraft souvenirs can be purchased – so our ‘spend’ is significant to help the good people of Eigg stay afloat. Similar benefits go to other remote island communities we operate such as as Gigha, Foula and Lundy.
Charitable support from Brightwater Holidays include regular donations to Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, Strathcarron Hospice, Dunfermline Golf Club’s Variety Club of Scotland Appeal (amongst others)