Becoming a Partner for Responsible Travel

Photography by Dianna Snape

Socially Responsible Tourism is important to the tourism industry and increasingly valued by consumers. The climbing public is becoming more aware and concerned about exploitation and mistreatment of mountain crew within the climbing industry. In response, companies will easily claim that they provide fair and ethical treatment of their crew in order to secure business.

KPAP advocates that it is the duty of every climber, local tour operator, foreign travel agent, and charity group to take the steps needed to ensure that climbing companies provide fair and ethical treatment of their crew. IMEC’s Partner for Responsible Travel Program provides an assessment by a third party, based on objective measurements, to determine if a climbing company is meeting the proper treatment standards. All climbing companies are welcome to participate with IMEC’s Partner for Responsible Travel Program and there is no cost to join. In order to qualify as a Partner for Responsible Travel, climbing companies must meet the following standards.

Partner Company Qualifications

  • The company voluntarily participates with KPAP’s monitoring of the treatment practices related to the crew. All KPAP monitoring activities are performed at no charge to the climbing company.
  • The company undergoes extensive review and assessment by placing a KPAP porter on every climb during the initial climbing season after their partnership application is received.
  • Data from the monitoring activities is compiled at the end of each climbing season and each Partner Company receives a Scorecard documenting their treatment of the crew.
  • A company qualifies as a Partner if attaining a minimum of an 85% performance level on the Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment Scorecard.
  • The Partner company’s practices are monitored every season to determine if the company continues to qualify in meeting the minimum 85% performance level.
  • Companies who fail to meet the 85% performance level in any season are immediately suspended until they demonstrate an 85% performance level in the following climbing season.

All Partner Companies must agree to and implement the following actions

  • Pay at least the following minimum wages for the crew:
    Porters: 20,000 Tsh per day
    Cooks and Assistant Guides: 30,000 Tsh per day
    Guides: 40,000 Tsh per day
  • Provide salary payments within 2 days after the descent of a climb.
  • Implement a transparent tipping procedure to ensure that the porters receive the full amount of tip intended for them.
  • Provide tipping recommendations to climbers so that porters receive a proper living wage from the combined salary and tip.
  • Provide the appropriate number of porters per climb so that each porter carries only 20kg of company gear.  The minimum number of porters per climber on the camping routes is at least 3 porters per climber and 2 porters per climber on the Marangu route.
  • Provide 3 meals a day and cover all costs for food while on the mountain.
  • Provide proper tents, ground sheet, and appropriate sleeping space for crew. Regular porters are not to sleep in the mess tent.
  • Offer equal climbing opportunities to all porters registered with the company.
  • Inform crew of company’s requirements regarding gear and equipment and ensure proper kit prior to the climb.
  • Assist with the descent of an ill porter and provide for medical treatment as necessary.
  • Provide transportation to Londorossi and Rongai gates.
  • Participate in a biannual review of Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment Scorecards with KPAP.
  • Meet with porters, company Director/s and KPAP once per year to review and discuss crew welfare.
  • Attend annual Partner Company general meeting.
  • Adhere to all local and National Government standards and regulations.

Please see the current list of IMEC Partners for Responsible Travel here. Kindly contact [email protected] for verification of a Partner company.

Benefits of Becoming a Partner for Responsible Travel

As a Partner for Responsible Travel Company you will be demonstrating that you are ensuring fair and ethical treatment of mountain crew monitored by an independent and objective organization. Your clients will be guaranteed that the company is meeting the proper treatment guidelines related to the crew. In so doing, you will be reinforcing your company’s reputation for fair labor practices and as a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Being a Partner Company can be a major marketing advantage proving that your company is dedicated to responsible tourism and ethical travel.  It will also provide your business with greater market exposure as many clients specifically seek ethical and responsible travel companies. Once your company meets the 85% performance level, your company’s name will appear on the Partner for Responsible Travel Program’s list on IMEC and KPAP’s websites.

Travel Industry Experts Agree:

According to’s Sustainable Travel Report for 2020, 82 per cent of global travelers have identified sustainable travel as being important to them while 58 per cent say they are looking to make more sustainable choices once we can travel again.

Now is the time for destinations to take charge and demand that tourism be helpful to their environmental efforts and supportive of locals instead of harmful or exploitative” says Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

Travelers are also increasingly aware of human rights and working conditions, demanding forms of responsible tourism that protect people and give back to communities.  Sustainability Leaders Project

A 2016 study by Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research found 86% of the 2,292 travelers surveyed agreed that making a concerted effort to ensure the local community will benefit from its presence would positively increase the brand perception of a corporation.

Please join us in our work to advocate for and safeguard the fair and ethical treatment of all porters.