All of our customers are supplied with detailed information about their holiday. We supply general advice relevant to all customers as well as more specific facts about your particular tour. These documents offer our customers lots of advice and guidance including how to obtain an Indian Visa, which immunisations are recommended, how much to tip people, how to dress appropriately and how to behave in National Parks. We support local charities and invite our customers to do so too (details are supplied with your travel documents).
Local Community All the accommodation used in the four elements is individually owned and staffed by local people. All the accommodation options are small hotels, guesthouses or homestays. By supporting locally owned properties we are helping to provide employment for local communities. Travelling independently means that our customers have the opportunity to interact with the locals. We encourage you to stop at the small chai (tea) shops as you travel and give business to the chai wallah (even if you do not like the idea of drinking the tea yourself, your driver will appreciate it).
The ground handling of this tour is provided by our local agent and we supply him with 90% of his turnover. All of the drivers and staff are local people. Thus we have fifteen local families that are directly financially reliant upon us. Our drivers have a contract and are paid a monthly wage. This is very unusual in South India where most drivers are normally employed on a commission-only basis (not easy for such seasonal work).
Environment Individual holidays have a lower impact on the environment as waste, power etc is minimal. The owners of the accommodation all have a commitment to environmental issues and as you travel between the properties you will find good practices, eg waste being recycled, low power light bulbs, water being heated by solar panels etc. A number of the homestays are working farms and you can expect a certain amount of your food to be home produced (and in many cases organic). A number of the properties are heritage buildings and tourism is helping to preserve what was previously considered ‘not worth saving’.
Diana and her husband Trevor first travelled to Kerala, South India in the late 80s and fell in love with the place and the people. They kept returning and couldn’t understand why so many people visiting India either went to the North for the culture or Goa for the beaches when South India had both. So in 1998 they set up a company specialising in tailor-made holidays to Kerala and South India – at that time no other UK operator did this. Working with local people, offering accommodation beyond the ‘brand’ hotels, taking their customers off the beaten track and a fair trade policy was their ethos from the start. This company is considered the pioneer of travel to Kerala and is much respected there.
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