It is all too easy to rush to a destination with the cheapest flight or vacation package, but what if we were to stop and think about exactly where we want to go and what it is we want to do? We consider ourselves purveyors of exotic destinations, yet when we choose to offer a particularly country or region, we do so with a lot of consideration.
We believe that there is a difference between a tourist and a traveler.
The tourist simply does what everyone else does, and follows the crowds and travels to escape. The traveler, however travels to learn, think, embrace a place and to seek. We appreciate the role of travel in our society, and believe that everyone has the right to explore the world. However, as explorers, we also have a responsibility: every time we move we are venturing into someone else’s habitat, culture and all that it entails.
We see travel as a force for good, and Enchanting Travels was founded with the intention of providing learning and growth opportunities and to ensure a positive impact on the societies within which we operate. As many of our destinations are economically emerging, we believe that tourism is a tool for development. When executed thoughtfully and with care, tourism can grow local economies. We are not in the business of challenging local people’s livelihoods.
We believe the money you pay for your holiday should reach the local people.
The UNTWO estimates that in some developing countries, tourism can account for over 25% of their GDP. With the benefit of having ground presence in our destinations, we aim to promote locally owned businesses, and encourage you to be discerning and respectful guests. We also encourage you to live by the old adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and experience the destination as much as possible with the perspective of what it is like as a local.
We understand that every country has its challenges and we respect guests who may not wish to travel to a particular destination that we offer. While we occasionally take decisions to stop offering particular accommodation options or experiences, we generally don’t believe in boycotting an entire country, unless it is not considered safe.
We take the safety and security of our guests incredibly seriously.
The reason for this is simple: no country is perfect, and at times, calling a boycott can do more harm than good to the individuals whose livelihoods depend on it. To boycott an entire country is to paint every individual with the same brush, and this is unjustifiable. Likewise, the success of destination boycotts does not necessarily create positive behavioral or policy change. Moreover, we believe that even if a country’s politics might have questions raised about it, we can still do much to support the community and the positive side of a culture.
In times of hardship or crisis, we take extra time to promote a destination. One example is Nepal after the 2005 earthquake.
Every situation is different and as a responsible tour operator, we will always consider every case on an individual basis.
When we travel, we will always leave a footprint. How we travel will decide whether we are treading lightly and respectfully. We are aware that ‘overtourism’ is becoming an issue, particularly when governments and the travel industry do not consider the flip side of a booming economy and how it can negatively impact the community or environment. The share economy and cheap, no-frills airlines all come with their own set of challenges, and in recent years the inhabitants of a few European cities have even put publicly rallied against tourism.
Overtourism in our definition occurs when the local infrastructure and environment is negatively impacted and tourism comes at the cost of the local people or wildlife being able to go about their daily lives in the manner they are used to, and being resentful of the attention.
Did you know that when on vacation we usually tend to eat more than when we’re at home? Do you find yourself wanting to shower more when you’re visiting a hotter destination? Just think about how that impacts local food supply and water consumption. We also depend on airports, roads and railways get from A to B. Tourism has a tendency to be intensive on natural resources. Naturally, when we open up door to a new destination, things do inevitably change, yet it doesn’t have to be a change that is detrimental. Across the world there are many destinations that actually want and need tourists, and so will welcome you with open arms.
We make efforts to steer our guests to lesser known destinations.
For example, if you wish to go to the Galapagos Islands, we may recommend you travel out with the peak season, or explore on a smaller boat instead of a mass cruise ship. We might even recommend an entirely different destination that is just as spectacular when it comes to biodiversity but is little known (such as Bahia Bustamante in Argentina!) We frequently recommend alternatives to the most popular tourist destinations in our collection.
There is much to be said for off-the-beaten-path destinations, but even they will have their limit. Some of our destinations choose to limit or smartly segregate guests, which we believe makes a lot of sense – whether it is the accommodation limit of Rubundo Island in Tanzania, the number of visitors who can join the gorilla treks in the forest of Bwindi, Uganda, the lottery system of the jeep routes for tiger tours in Ranthambore, or the number of trekking permits given on the Inca Trail in Peru!
The benefits of travel should always exceed the challenges for the host community, as much as it does for you.
We are also all too aware that the picture-perfect postcards in some of the world’s tourist hotspots are becoming a thing of the past. Certainly, there are still secluded white sandy beaches without a single soul in some of our hidden travel gems, but having a photo without any crowd in the background on the “Princess Diana bench” at India’s great monument of love, the Taj Mahal, will be unlikely – even if you get up before dawn! For us, we prefer to be honest with you so that you go with the correct expectations.
If you are thinking of creating a travel bucket list, we recommend you make it as unique are you!
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