forum anders reisen is a German trade association made up of small and medium-sized tour operators committed to sustainable and responsible tourism. Literally translated as “forum for a different kind of travel”, forum anders reisen works to facilitate ecologically, economically and socially sound tourism by helping its members promote their offers while raising awareness and communicating the benefits of this “new” form of tourism. Founded in 1998 by 12 pioneering tour operators, forum anders reisen currently unites 141 responsible travel companies (as of June 2015). France écotours has been a dedicated member since its foundation in 2006.
Visit the forum anders reisen website (in German only).
Working towards an ecologically sustainable, economically equitable, ethical sound and socially just form of tourism which meets the needs of travelers and travellees alike, forum anders reisen has established a set of principles to which all members must commit to adhere.
The overall concept of a sustainable form of tourism, which is – on a long term basis – ecologically maintainable, economically viable and ethically and socially just, is being specified in set of criteria. It was developed by the members in cooperation with the scientific advisory board comprising experts from politics, ecological organisations and sciences in order to translate the theoretical ideal of a sustainable form of tourism into concrete, practical contents.
Key ecological criteria include low-carbon transport and accommodation. Air travel is offered only for destinations at least 800km (500mi) away. Trips involving flights between 800-3,800km (500-2,360mi) must last a minimum of one week, while plane travel exceeding 3,800km/2360mi requires a minimum two week stay. In order to facilitate low-carbon trips, France écotours makes sure tours depart at or near train stations with onsite bus transfer or pick-up services allowing travellers to arrive by train. Hikes and bike tours allow our visitors to experience their holiday destination first hand and get in touch with the locals – while causing close to zero carbon emissions. Accommodations are chosen according to energy standards, eco-conscious owners, and meals based on locally grown and organic products.
Economic criteria are based on equitable value creation and sharing, meaning that a large percentage of the profits generated by tourists will remain at the destination, thus benefiting small local businesses and the region's population. Social criteria revolve around respect for local societies, cultures and traditions. Our trips are organised and guided by locals with travelers staying at family-owned B&Bs or small local inns. This way, our trips not only provide for significant onsite value generation, but also allow visitors to meet with locals and get a first-hand impression of their everyday life, language, culture and traditions – resulting in a unique and truly authentic holiday experience!
More information on forum anders reisen's mission and criteria can be found here.