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SAT NEWS - January 2019

Dear Travel Partner,

we live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the world; the pride and passion for South America's diversity is why we do what we do. While we want to share our countries' richness and cultures with visitors from all over the world, we are aware of the importance of doing so in a responsible, fair way. 
This is why working sustainably to protect and preserve our environment and improve the living conditions of the people in it has always been close to our hearts. 
In order to increase our efforts and band together with companies that work towards the same goals, we decided to pursue a certification by the Rainforest Alliance. By the end of last year, the good news came: 

SAT has become the first transnational DMC in South America to certify their offices in seven countries!

This month, we want to tell you more about the certification we received, sustainable projects we support and recent developments in South America towards becoming more environmentally friendly.

Also check out our Website, Facebook & Instagram for latest updates!

All the best,
Your SAT Team

Since December 2018, all of our SAT offices are certified by the Rainforest Alliance (RA) for meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Tourism Standard for Inbound Tour Operator! The RA is an international nonprofit environmental organization, that aims to protect the environment and improve the worldwide living conditions. In order to achieve that, the RA consults, supports and certifies businesses. Each of our offices had to accomplish an individual certification process and comply with the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Tourism standard indicators. These indicators are a variety of measures that need to be implemented to ensure i.a. environmental protection, social and cultural development in the destination, respectfulness of the locals and a sustainably managed business environment. Since these qualities are important to us and we want to communicate them transparently, we are proud that the RA acknowledges our efforts in contributing to a change towards sustainable and fair tourism!
We would like to give you a brief insight into the local projects we promote in our destinations. In Argentina we support APROPDIS, an association for the promotion of people with a disability, that enables disabled people to work and earn money on their own. At the moment it has capacities for eight members who produce and sell alpargatas, typical gaucho shoes. In Ecuador we are engaged in the Fundación Aliñambi that provides a home and education for  36 children who used to live on the streets. The facilities of the Fundación Aliñambi also include a bakery, a carpentry shop, a greenhouse and a school that is also visited by other children who live nearby. In addition to that, to reduce our carbon footprint and to help protecting the Peruvian mountain forest, we support the Cordillera Azul Nationalpark Project by Ecosphere+. While the National Park covers approximately 13,500 km², the project itself works in a larger area of almost the size of the Netherlands. With Ecosphere+ you may also calculate and compensate your own carbon footprint. Since we donate 2 US$ of every booked tour to our local projects, each of our guests has a part in supporting them as well. Would you like to know more about or visit our local projects? Then feel free to contact us or to visit our website!
Photo credit: Ecosphere+ / Nancy Stone
Additionally, last year we became a member of The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism to create awareness and educate our staff to recognize critical situations and ensure the well-being of children. In August 2018, we also joined the WTTC’s Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade. This was an important step to not only actively support the fight against illegal trade in wildlife worldwide but also to find solutions on how the travel & tourism industry can help eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade. Visit the official websites of The Code and the WTTC to learn more about these important initiatives and how you can support them.
We are excited to officially present our new travel segment: SAT Sustainable, where we attempt to minimize the negative and maximize the positive impacts of tourism. All of the programs offer authentic and nature based encounters with the countries and their inhabitants which is why we dubbed them the "pure-line". The itineraries last between 13 and 21 days and each of them is a unique journey, with numerous exciting natural and cultural experiences, reflecting the spirit of each country. You will find yourself hiking up to the Tijuca Peak and Vale Encantado in Rio de Janeiro's Tijuca National Park, living the Mapuche culture in Chile's lake region, planting a palm tree in Colombia's coffee triangle, cooking Andean dishes with a kichwa family in Otavalo (Ecuador), marvelling at the biodiversity of the Ballestas Islands at the Peruvian coast, learning about the artisanal women fisheries of Rocha Lagoon in Uruguay or strolling through the largest estancia of the Jesuits in Córdoba, Estancia Santa Catalina. Curious for more? Then go ahead and request our SAT Sustainable line now!
The governments of several South American countries have taken an important measure against plastic waste and either banned single-use plastic bags or implemented regulations for a more responsible usage. Chile was the first South American country to adopt a nationwide ban of plastic bags in May 2018 and starting February 3rd, all shops in Chile will stop handing out plastic bags. In August 2018, Uruguay joined in with a law to charge plastic bags in shops and prohibit the production, import, distribution or sale of non-biodegradable bags. And in December 2018, Peru approved the "Plastic Law", that will gradually prohibit single-use plastic products like bags, straws and polystyrene containers for drinks and food within the next three years. The use of said plastics is already prohibited in 76 protected natural areas in the country, including Machu Picchu
But the attempts to regulate the excessive use of plastic bags go back even further. In 2017, Colombia established a tax and changed the design of the bags to increase their reuse. Starting 2019, they implemented bags of 3 different colours that come with an instruction to boost waste separation and recycling: green for organic waste, grey for paper products and blue for plastic, bottles, metals etc. In Buenos Aires all supermarkets are prohibited to use or sell plastic bags since 2017 and São Paulo prohibited the free distribution of plastic bags in 2015. We look forward to more positive developments and further steps by our governments towards protecting our planet!
Chile is taking natural conservation seriously. A few months ago, we told you about the launch of the stunning Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia, and now, on Januray 21st, the Tompkins Conservation and the Chilean government oficially added another spectacular national park in the Magallanes region: The Kawésqar National Park, which is, after the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the second largest of the country. It spans a terrestrial area of about 2,8 millon hectares, including the former Alacalufes Forest Reserve, and protects about 2,6 million hectares of surrounding marine territory categorized as National Reserve. Within this breathtaking environment you will find diverse  landscapes, including mountain ranges, forests, glaciers, fjords, lakes and wetlands, that are home to a to a great variety of species. While exploring this natural treasure, passing by Magellan's coihues and canelos, you might be lucky enough to spot a majestic puma, a graceful huemul or an agile culpeo fox. The unspoiled nature of the Kawésqar National Park and the Patagonian Route of Parks really is a must see so contact us for additional information and itinerary suggestions!
Photo credit: Turismo Chile / Juan Jaeger
For many people vacation includes relaxation on clean beaches or walks through untouched nature. The reality, however, is sometimes different and tainted by trash left by careless visitors like soda cans in the water, cigarette butts in the park and plastic bags in the forest.
To combat this type of pollution the Chilean government adopted a new law that prohibits soiling or leaving trash of any kind on beaches, riverbanks or lakes as well as national parks, reserves and monuments, etc. Infringements of this law will be punished with fines up to about 300 US$. Many countries would benefit from such a law, don't you think?
The famous Galapagos Archipelago is a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage. It is the habitat of numerous endemic and unique species, but many of them are endangered due to the turbulent history of the islands. Over the decades, strict conservation policies and regulations were developed to protect the archipelago and its marvelous biodiversity. Plastic waste has been a huge problem on the islands and was highly threatening to the wildlife. Because of this, the government banned four types of single-use plastics: drinking straws, covers, polystyrene products and bottles. The ban was implemented step by step and since the 21st of August 2018 the use of each of them is prohibited. After conservationists reported that noisy pyrotechnics provoked stress and anxiety in the animals of the archipelago (pet owners from all over the world can probably attest to that), the sale and usage of loud fireworks was prohibited on Galapagos, allowing only those with soundless lighting effects. Both of the inured bans are necessary regulations and of particular importance for the well-being of the local wildlife and the protection of this rare biosphere and we are proud that Galapagos has taken these steps!
Ecotourism is gaining popularity in Brazil, which was also reflected in the visitor numbers of the national parks. There are 69 national parks all over the country, 33 of which are open to the public. Last year, the Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses at the northern coast of Brazil had an incredible visitor increase of 46% until December! No surprise, as it is full of white shifting dunes and blue lagoons with varying water levels, which makes every visit unique. Also the famous Iguazú Falls counted around 18.000 more visitors until December than in 2017. The impressive waterfalls at the Brazilian-Argentinean border are a UNESCO World Heritage and the surrounding national parks are home to a great biodiversity. Another famous park that welcomed an increased number of visitors was the Chapada dos Veadeiros, located in the state of Goiás. It also is a UNESCO World Heritage with rich vegetation and roaring waterfalls. Since every park provides unforgettable experiences, it is no wonder that the interest in them is growing steadily. Even with the election of a new government that appears to put less importance on environmental issues and sustainable advancement, we hope that the positive development continues.
Photo credit: Embratur / Rachid Waqued Neto
If you want to get a taste of organic farming near Rio de Janeiro, we highly recommend you join the Sabores Da Roça Jeep Tour! On this full day journey you will get to know the mountain region of Brejal where the first organic farming in Rio started in the 70s. Enjoy beautiful and diverse landscapes, visit small family-operated farms to learn about the wide range of fruits, vegetables and herbs they produce, attend a delicacy tasting at an escargot farm and visit a famous equestrian stable. For lunch you will stop at a garden farm, where you will relish local foods and international flavors, before the adventure continues. For more information about this tour, feel free to contact us!
Despite being the smallest country in South America, Uruguay is the one with the greatest prospects of green development. It is rich in natural assets and over 50% of the the country's exports are related to farming. These resources are also one of the main tourism attractions. In order to ensure their endurance on a longterm basis and to find a balance between financial value, social development and environmental conservation, a sustainablitiy strategy was needed. Since the introduction of its Soil and Water Conservation Law in 1982, Uruguay is one of the most advanced countries with regards to soil management. Furthermore, it developed action plans for the protection of environmental and drinking water sources and started on the reduction of emissions of the beef production. One of the country's milestones in terms of green development was the creation of the National Environmental System, with the National Secretariat of Environment, Water and Climate Change in 2015. But there is still a lot to do, especially in terms of tourism. We for once will be looking forward to the promotion of nature, adventure and eco-tourism activities to establish Uruguay as a sustainable tourism destination and will do our best to support this goal! 
Our team in Peru ended the last and started the new year supporting their local communities. In December, they joined forces with the medical center Clinica SOS in Cusco, local tourism guides and transportation companies to visit the Andean community Quelqanqa, located 2h from Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. The guides and our team donated blankets, clothes, toys, stuffed animals and school supplies to the community as well as a bike, a tricycle and food to the local school. We also brought along a clown who put up a show for the kids while we served hot chocolate and snacks. The transportation companies offered vehicles to take everything and everyone to Quelqanqa. We were accompanied by an ambulance and medic from the Clinica SOS who gave free examinations and handed out vitamin supplements. We will also continue to support the community's reforestation project in the future.
In January, we joined the organization Ecostyle for an ecological walk that was dubbed "SAT for the Environment". The walk's objective was to collect 50kg of trash in the outskirts of Cusco together with our friends from Ecostyle.
The EcoCamp Patagonia, located at the foot of the Torres del Paine, won the 2018 Adventure in Motion award with its short documentary "Adventure is for All", showing that a wheelchair does not hinder you from enjoying adventurous hikes. The locally owned, charming geodesic dome hotel not only helps to make the W-Track accessible for everyone, it has also been commited to sustainability since its beginnings in 1999. It is ISO14001 certified, uses solely renewable energies, has a thoughtful waste management and supports the local communities by purchasing products and employing mainly locals.
The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel was acknowledged as South America's Leading Green Hotel by the World Travel Awards in 2018. In addition to that, around midyear, the overall sustainable hotel near Puerto Ayora introduced a new transferboat: a completely solar-powered Solar Ray, equipped with four solar panels situated on its rooftop. This way the guests can enjoy silent and emission-free transfers between Finch Bay (Punta Estrada) and Puerto Ayora.
The Portuguese airline Hi Fly launched the world's first "plastic free" flight from Lisbon to Natal in Brazil on December 26th. Single-use plastics such as cups, dishes and packaging, were replaced by bamboo cutlery, paper packaging and compostable containers. By the end of 2019, the airline plans to ban single-use plastics from its entire fleet.

In 2017 Iberia started with "Zero Cabin Waste", a project that aims to reduce waste by 5% and recycle 80% of the waste generated in the cabins. To achieve this the airline provided various trainings to the cabin crew, introduced a new two-compartment waste trolley and ran various tests on flights in 2018. On October 9th, they were ready to implement the selective waste collection on national and European flights.
For the fifth year in a row, LATAM was recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for its sustainability practices. One of its sustainable goals is to achieve carbon neutral ground operation. Since 2012 it reduced the emissions of its ground operations by 36% and since November 2018 LATAM Airlines Chile uses 100% renewable energy in its Santiago operations.

Avianca was recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the second consecutive year. Avianca's commitment to sustainability includes for example its membership of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in order to invest in carbon neutrality strategies and compensate emissions.
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