In all our destinations we make use of local guides. In a country such as Egypt where we have a partnership to Encounters Travel, we use local peopleís shops for selling perfumes, papyrus and other Egyptian hand made goods. The facilities boat that we make use of in Aswan and Luxor is exclusively used by us, which provides a direct stream of income to the boat owner and his staff. We encourage our guests to buy local products and make use of services that people in the local community offer. We help indirectly through capacity building projects we implement with our employees and through the experiences and culture exchanges that take place between the locals and the travelers during our tours.
We have decided that the environment is a major component of any local community and any negative effect on the environment would directly have an impact on the lives of the inhabitants of the local community. Therefore, we have drawn up a strict environmental protection policy that all our employees and travellers have to abide by. In Egypt we have implemented a facilities boat which is used for all passengers travelling on the felucca sailboat. This boat ensures that everyone who needs to take a toilet break can use a proper toilet. They donít need to stop on the banks of the Nile River any longer to make a toilet stop in one of the farmlands. This boat also has a kitchen which means food is prepared on the facilities boat. That means the waste of food being prepared on the banks of the Nile river is now eliminated. At our offices in London we have a local print shop collect all used ink cartridges and they dispose of it in the appropriate manner.
Encounters Travel has also considered the social aspect of the local community and how to respect the customs and traditions of the inhabitants helping us operate our tours. We always provide our guests with all the information needed to understand the community they are visiting and we create valuable opportunities for the travellers and the locals to mingle and exchange ideas and thoughts. In Egypt, we were able to create valuable relationships with many communities including the Bedouins of Sinai, the community of the Red Sea, and the Nubians who live in the South of Egypt. These communities and their leaders in particular understand that Encounters Travel is different than any other travel company. In most of our tours we have implemented a walking tour. During these walking tours we offer our passengers the opportunity to see how the local culture lives and operates during their daily lives. We also allow them to speak to any of the locals during the walking tour and as far as possible, we ask the locals to join us in the walking tours.