Rough Guide to India described our tours as “The most original, hands-on and ethical itineraries on the market” – we’re proud of this and like to think that the quote sums up our ethos neatly. When you take a tour with us, around 70% of your money stays in India – supporting the social/environmental work of our partners and the projects they support.
We feel particularly strong that guides should be local, giving you the opportunity to spend time with people local to the country, supporting their livelihoods and assimilating the local culture. All tour partners, tour guides and hosts come from the host country. In most cases, your guide is from the specific village in which you are staying. This may mean that your host has imperfect English – in some cases they are specifically recruited and trained from the local village – but we like to think that the benefits are worthwhile.
An example is the guides at Periyar Reserve. Not long ago most of these guides were poachers. Now, with the security of income offered, they have become the forest protectors.
Likewise, we choose locally owned hotels rather than international chains. Many of our guest houses – such as Philip Kutty’s Farm and Aanavilasam - are extensions of peoples’ homes and farms. In such places the whole family – and many of the villagers - are involved in caring for you.
In terms of transport – you’ll see from the itinerary that we’re keen to cut the driving and encourage guests to stay several days in any one place with a local guide (rather than continuously driving from one place to another), guests will participate in lifestyles that are themselves sustainable – you'll eat locally produced food (often growing in the fields adjacent to you), use local transport, cook dinner with your host, and visit local environmental projects. Our tours are listed in the Ethical Travel Guide, published by Tourism Concern and Rough Guide.