Rustik Travel is quite simply, a travel company for the environmentally aware, trying to ensure that you have a holiday that is not a drag on the environment. This is not as obvious as it sounds, when you consider the fact that our holidays typically are the time when we tend to have the largest carbon footprint, thanks to all the travel, the indulgences, and more. The A/C not being turned off in the hotel, the extended bath in the hotel room, eating exotic meals, it all adds up. For Rustik Travel, its all about being responsible
In his own words, Hemant Soreng, the founder of Rustik, describes it as a two and a half year old self-funded travel venture that is building a sustainable experiential travel ecosystem for travellers, while engaging the local community. Sustainability, in terms of creating livelihoods, protecting environment and preserving culture.
Driven by the core philosophy and values around sustainability, the team at Rustik comprises of passionate travellers and industry professionals with years of experience.
The Founding Team
Hemant founded Rustik Travels in 2016. An IIM Bengaluru alumni, Hemant finds his calling as a social entrepreneur, digital professional, author, blogger, diver, documentary filmmaker, and guest faculty at top business schools, mountaineer, cyclist and a wilderness medicine first responder.
As an early entrepreneur, he founded and ran eDeltaC communications in 2000, until it was bought by global advertising agency Ogilvy after two successful and profitable years. He then moved on to take a working ‘sabbatical’ as he describes his experience of working for various firms in leadership positions.
The quintessential definition of an outdoor enthusiast, Tapas is a dedicated high-altitude mountaineer since age 10, an outdoor learning and adventure entrepreneur. Goes around as the ‘Himalayan Kid’.
With over two decades of Digital advertising and Marketing experience, Unny built from scratch a top digital agency in Maxus (now Wavemaker) as their Chief Digital Officer. But he always wanted to do more and be more. Post his role as CDO at Maxus, Unny finds his calling in Academics, non-profit sector and of course, traveling.
The Rustik Experience :
Rustik provides everything for the avid traveller- Trekking, Biking, Cycling, Diving, etc events to Cultural, Culinary, Volunteer events across multiple destinations across India and abroad. But they are not just a travel agency, with initiatives like UnTag and Sustainable treks they are working to combine one of the biggest Industries in the world with sustainability.
They prepare curated travel itineraries, which incorporate all their key initiatives but still deliver a flawless and long lasting travel experience.
As Unny says, “At Rustik Travel, our idea is to inspire people to experience the richness that travel offers – in terms of nature, culture and adventure. At the same time, be a conscious and responsible traveller. UN’s Sustainable Development Goals highlights the potential of tourism in improving employment opportunities for local people. We hope to meaningfully contribute to this agenda.”
And it seems to be working.
“First trek of my life- Straight to Everest Base Camp. A very well organised Trek by Rustik Travel, which has one of the finest and experienced trekkers. Thanks for making this trek the most memorable one.” says Pankaj Malhotra, a satisfied traveller who says Rustik met each and every one of his expectations.
Most of their initiatives are non-commercial, reflecting the company’s underlying ethos of sustainable traveling for its own sake. Some are:
1. Documentaries and Short Films
The team often make short films/documentaries to create awareness about unique stories from their travel destinations. Highlighting issues about a place or bringing a positive local initiative into our knowledge.
Check out their documentary, ‘Wayanad: In a Quest for Sustainability’ here.
Often while sharing a photo of a wild animal in its natural habitat that we come across on a trip, we don’t realise that by posting it online with the geo tag, we are also placing the animal at risk from poachers.
Rustik supports the UnTag initiative created by the Digital Street which helps users to remove the geo tags from their photos via their app before they post it online.
3. Walking Tours
Free walking tours are arranged by the team in an attempt to get likeminded people together, to create meaningful content and to help preserve the culture and ethos of the city. Currently only operating in Bangalore, the initiative has been well received according to Rustik.
Rustik is always working towards promoting the livelihoods of all the local staffs that help in the trips. They arrange for workshops to teach necessary skills and then employ them permanently. A new strategy involves promoting home stays in local households during camping trips, in an attempt to increase the income of the people. And yes, possibly decrease the carbon footprint from hotel stays.