As Travel Talk, we have been working with local ground operators/destination management companies in all our destinations for 16 years. All parts of our operation employ local residents totalling up to 150, supporting local economies, especially where other industries are undeveloped.
For instance, one of our most popular tours, Adventure Morocco takes route on one of the most underdeveloped parts of the country, where tourism is the driving force behind progress. In most major sites, local guides, beside the tour leader (who are locals in all our destinations, 95%), are also used to enhance the experience. The same policy is applied to our local partners, whereas local guides, visits to local houses, workshops and attractions are especially requested. On the same Morocco tour e.g., a few of the stops consist of a local pottery workshop in a Saharan Oasis, an Argan oil workshop, a local house in Ait Ben Haddou for a cup of tea.
However, we are very selective of our guides, and organise a training week where all meet together each year. Moreover, Travel Talk has been a sponsor for events supporting Actionaid and The Willow Foundation in 2015, and Alone in London in 2016 ( http://galaonthegreen.co.uk/ ). In addition, our operation in India supports the Shaping Lives charity initiative by our partners, supporting childrenís education and healthcare.
At Travel Talk we operate on a lean management basis, reducing costs through recycling and reusing paper and printer cartridges, reduce energy waste, and less use of printed brochures. Following the last several years, we have grown a stronger online presence, where we obtain most of our sales directly, and send e-mail confirmations and vouchers. Our guides also tell the travellers of the natural ecosystem, how it has developed, and how to maintain it. Besides these efforts, through charities, and local workshop and household visits, we support the underdeveloped areas economically and socially.
In some tours, especially in India, it is offered to all our travellers to use a personalized water thermos, which they can fill up as much as they want from a large can, and not use any plastic bottles. In Morocco, plastic bags are replaced by paper bags, a practice we support in the destination by warning our responsible travellers. In Egypt, to preserve the Nile river, Felucca Odyssey, one of our most popular tours, runs on traditional Feluccas with no engine. For all our tours in Turkey, including the year-round Essential Turkey, we prefer buses with lower environmental impact as well. In Greece, we had stopped operating the major sailing tours in 2014, and use the public ferries with lower gas emission for island hopping tours instead. Especially at natural sites and parks, all trash is collected by the guide before the bus is left, and warnings given to preserve the nature and be responsible. For instance, in summer months in South Turkey, travellers are specifically warned about the risk of forest fires originating from cigarettes.
Travel Talk sponsorships in support of Shaping Lives, Actionaid, Willow Foundation and Alone in London are focused on social development across different scales. Actionaid is a South African organisation operating in 45 countries against poverty and injustice. Willow Foundation organises special, uplifting days for the seriously ill in the UK, aged between 16 and 40. Alone in London supports young people, preventing homelessness http://galaonthegreen.co.uk/ . All these charities reflect our view, uniting on social awareness and responsibility.
To support and give a taste of the local culture, in most major sites, local guides, beside the tour leader (who is a local as well), are also used to enhance the experience. The same policy is applied to our local partners, whereas local guides, visits to local houses, workshops and attractions are especially requested. On the same Morocco tour e.g., a few of the stops consist of a local pottery workshop in a Saharan Oasis, an Argan oil workshop, a local house in Ait Ben Haddou for a cup of tea.
We provide each traveller with Destination Crucial Guide (an approx. 15 page file in accordance with Travellerís Code of Conduct, can be provided upon request) prior to their travel and upon arrival at the destination, where they can learn all about their destinationís culture: customs, food & drinking, clothing, traditions, regions; and how to preserve it. Furthermore, whereas there is a political or social situation, our guides are obliged to inform the clients.