Sustainable & Responsible Tourism
Ethical, Holistic Holidays and Responsible Tourism
We have been pioneers in responsible and sustainable tourism in Morocco since we opened La Maison Anglaise in 1996. After 10 years of commitment in Morocco (and previously in her 25 years in education where sustainability was her favourite theme), Jane was invited to speak at the launch of Morocco’s Responsible Tourism Initiative in 2006.
As a natural extension of these ethics, we understand the connection between body, mind and spirit that has generated a nurturing, holistic approach to entertaining our guests. Relaxation, exercise, good food, learning and splendid scenery are all on the menu. Special Interest group holidays are our speciality.
Responsible Tourism Awards
2005 – selected as one of the Top 10 Vegetarian Holidays in the World by VegeNews
2009 – awarded the Moroccan Responsible Tourism Trophy for Social and Economic Development
2012 – certified by Green Key. This is an internationally recognised sustainable management label.
Some of the ways in which we fulfil their responsible tourism criteria are listed below:
– use of solar panels to heat water.
– promoting education on sustainability.
– serving locally produced food made with fresh ingredients.
– putting in place water and electricity conservation.
– supporting a number of charitable projects.
-holding regular meetings to further our aims.
2014 – Lonely Planet selected the guest house as one of the Top 10 Ecostays in the World.
2020 – Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice – La Maison Anglaise
How do we implement our beliefs?
We support of a wide variety of community projects. Amongst these are several instigated by us including:
2006 a soap-making project for which we were awarded a Responsible Tourism trophy
2010 our beekeeping project supports not only beekeepers but also habitats and an endangered species of bee.
2014 an embroidery project to support local women and preserve local traditions.
Other Projects we support:
– the Orphanage
– the School for the Blind
– an inspiring project to support street connected children, the Moroccan Children’s Trust
– women’s cooperatives including rug-making and argan oil
– wildlife conservation
– animal welfare and several more
We have raised money for these projects in a variety of ways including selling our on-line cook book. More details about our charitable work.
Offering award-winning vegetarian and vegan food options at all meals.
Promoting sustainable transport for our clients through overland travel (see your carbon footprint below) and local excursions on foot or by horse-drawn taxis; when using motorised transport, we try to create groups to share the vehicle (and experience) and we offer bicycles for hire.
Promoting cross-cultural understanding by providing for our clients:
– detailed information both before and during your visit to ensure maximum cultural insight and enjoyment is gained from the holiday.
– opportunities for genuine connections to develop with local people.
– an awareness of Moroccan open-mindedness: e.g. you can feel comfortable bringing your own alcohol to the dining table if you wish.
– respect for Moroccan beliefs means we don’t ask the staff to serve alcohol (though you are welcome to bring your own).
Education, particularly of young people, is important to us. The photo shows a workshop for the staff’s nine children at the guest house. Their focus was energy and water conservation.
We hope our visitors will learn from our extensive displays and a well stocked library, but mainly through the soles of their feet and from the informative educated staff.
From 1992, 5 years before the guest house project began, Jane was involved in research in Morocco. She lectured both in the UK and Morocco about sustainability and wildlife conservation.
Your Carbon Footprint – The Dilemma if you Fly
Even a short return flight from Gatwick to Agadir releases 0.78 tonne of carbon emissions per passenger, which is a 10th of the average person’s annual carbon footprint in the UK! If you do decide to fly you can compensate for these emissions through carbon offsetting, which neutralises your emissions with a comparable reduction elsewhere . See more details and ideas below.
Suggestions To Reduce Your Impact
We have been researching an effective, efficient, easy to support community-orientated solution to support our planet and inhabitants. Here’s why we chose Community Carbon Link in Kenya. To understand why we support it and why you might want to support it through us:
• Tree planting near the equator where it has the maximum benefit as a carbon sink.
• Planting of species that take up high levels of carbon dioxide and provide profitable crops for farmers (such as neem, cashew nuts & mango).
• An award-winning charitable project with a proven track record run by a forester who we know and has strong long-term heartfelt links between Wales & the local community (much as we do in Morocco)
• 100% of the funds will go directly to the project and this will benefit some of the 1000 farmers immediately.
• You might be inspired to eat more health-inducing tree-derived foods to support more diverse and resilient tree ecosystems
We have already made a donation of £1000 on your behalf which cuts out the costs of online donations (which take about 50%!).
To donate Simply add to your payment due to us OR send to our bank account with the reference CARBON & your name & we will automatically allocate it to the project.
Offset your flights (to neutralise your Carbon Footprint) by donating enough to offset 0.82 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (cost from £5) generated by your flights to a chosen project or those managed by Cool Earth or Rainforest Concern.
Choose Airlines with Efficient Aircraft Ryanair, now claiming to be Europe’s greenest airline, (March 2018) offers offsetting, and their latest Environmental Policy will build on achievements to date, including commitments to address climate change such as investing billions in the newest, most fuel-efficient aircraft and committing to eliminate all non-recyclable plastics within 5 years.
Fly Direct Indirect flights are fuel inefficient because take off & landing use much more fuel.
IF YOU WISH TO TRAVEL OVERLAND TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
You can reach Morocco from London in 48 hours by high speed train. The Moroccan government is committed to sustainability and opened Africa’s first high speed railway link between Tangier & Casablanca in March 2019. This cuts almost 4 hours off the journey , cutting it to 2 hours and 15 mins. Excellent information about overland travel is available here
OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES Bear in mind that things that we do daily can contribute as much to emissions as a flying a short distance infrequently.
“This has been the most extraordinary experience and most extraordinary of all the exceptional group of women I have travelled with, supporting each other with kindness, thoughtfulness, humour, strength and patience. My heart is filled to bursting with gratitude” K Davies, one of 6 women who travelled overland in 2020
Vegetarian Diets to reduce your carbon footprint Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined. We offer vegetarian food by default with meat and fish available at a surcharge.
Our meal prices had not risen for many years so in 2019 we decided that we would leave vegetarian meals, chicken & fish meals unchanged (20 MAD about £1.60 surcharge for chicken or fish) and make an additional surcharge of 10 MAD (about 80 pence) for lamb and 20 MAD (about £1.60) for beef in proportion to the environmental damage that production of these meats causes.
Consider How you Travel at Home Always travelling alone in a car as so many do in the UK can contribute as much as flying. Consider using public transport, car sharing or where possible walking or cycling (and keep fit at the same time).
Your Home The impact of the embodied energy (all that was used in its production) and the energy used to run most homes is massive. It need not be that way! We hope that visiting our new ecolodge will inspire you to reduce your footprint at home.