Accommodation and Meals:
We spend the trip in smaller, locally staffed hotels on a B&B basis and use local restaurants for the rest of our meals. The most popular dishes in Turkey are kebabs, stewed meat, grilled aubergine, stuffed seafood and sweets like baklava. Alongside supporting small businesses with our commerce daily, this trip also offers two optional eating opportunities which give an additional benefit to the community. In Cappadocia, clients can eat in the home of a Turkish family- giving a unique insight into regional life and putting money directly into the pocket of local people. Clients can also dine at a Womens Cooperative restaurant if they choose.
Funds are donated on line and matched by our Intrepid Foundation for a local NGO called Mavi Kalem. The organisation supports women and children with a variety of educational and social support programmes in Istanbul. For example, they are running Turkish classes for Syrian women and children at the moment in order to help refugees assimilate themselves. Last year during our Intrepid Foundation fundraising month we held a charity auction of locally produced art and souvenirs to raise funds for this project.
A Fair Deal:
We only hire local, licensed guides in order to create employment opportunities in the area. This not only has a positive effect on the economy, but our clients benefit from the vast local knowledge which our guides have. Often, we also offer jobs to local graduates who have obtained a Tour Guidance degree, which is a career boost for young people in the community. Staff training is a large and ongoing part of our company and mentoring and refresher courses in several topics are available to local guides. This includes responsible tourism issues, which should be conveyed to clients over the trip.
Local Craft and Culture:
We visit an extensive number of historical and cultural sites including Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, the ancient city of Troy, ruins of Pergamon, Ephesus, Antalya Museum, Mevlana’s Mausoleum, Cappadocia’s Open Air Museum and the Museum of Civilisations. By spending on entrance fees and souvenirs here we support the upkeep of these important cultural establishments and the jobs they create. There are many opportunities to go through the markets and see local crafts and delicacies being made and sold. Cappadocia is famed for its colourful and intricately painted pottery, whilst at the Spice Market in Istanbul clients can buy spices, dried fruits, nuts and seeds and Turkish delight.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.