The Sri Lanka Island Explorer tour introduces travellers to the culturally rich and environmentally diverse island state of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on contributing to the local economy and community projects while respecting local traditions and the natural environment. Sri Lankan guides are at the heart of the tour, whether driving visitors around the island, taking treks at Horton Plains or leading safaris in Yala West National Park.
Some of the guides come from community-led projects such as the Woodlands Network, which helps local people gain access to education and employment. Visits to the Turtle Conservation Project at Rekawa are also encouraged. The tour stays in family-run guesthouses and eats at local restaurants, which not only enables visitors to meet local people and enjoy authentic home cooking, but also contributes directly to the local economy and provides much needed employment. Travellers are also encouraged to be aware at all times how to create a positive impact on the environment and local people.
Information: Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices
Group sizes: By limiting groups to small sizes we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.
Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.
Local products: As much as possible we aim to employ local personnel, (guides, drivers, agents etc), use local restaurants and smaller privately owned accommodation. Customers are also encouraged to buy and use local products and services as much as possible in order to support and stimulate the local economy.
Instruction: By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.
This family-run company started in 1999 after the director, Mark, spent many years researching guide books in Asia and decided he could put together more exciting itineraries. His passion for the diversity and character of Asia is reflected in the unique, locally-owned places that the tours visit and travel groups are kept small so that closer interaction with their hosts is possible. Although Mark could happily survive for weeks on jam sandwiches while sleeping under the stars, he realises not all customers want this and goes out of his way to ensure all facilities used are pleasantly comfortable, clean, warm and welcoming.
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