Algeria tour, Algerian Odyssey

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2019: 6 Apr
2020: 4 Apr
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Algeria tour, Algerian Odyssey

Environment

Most of the time on this tour is spent in towns and cities, but we do spend a significant proportion of the trip exploring the desert regions of Algeria. When exploring these areas on foot we take care to stick to the trails (where they exist!) and not to damage any of the flora, as some parts of the region are quite a fragile environment.

We operate a strict no litter policy on our tours, and work to educate our drivers and other service providers so as to avoid contributing to this problem.

Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off – small things but Algeria, especially outside of Algiers is not as used to tourism as countries in western Europe.

We visit a number of sites and monuments on this tour that do not necessarily receive much funding from other sources; the entrance fees that we include help to maintain the heritage of this country for future generations – not just western travellers but more importantly to local people to whom they have far more cultural and historical significance.

Community

On all of tours we strive to include a strong focus on local communities and we are firm believers that tourism should have a positive impact on the places visited. On this tour we try to allow our travellers to gain a real insight into the traditional customs of the country; a good example of this is when we stop in Sidi El Abbes en route to Tlemcen, where we have drinks and snacks in a village house. Not only is this a great experience for travellers but it means that small scale community based tourism projects, often ignored by mainstream tourism, are able to benefit from our visit.

We also spend time visiting the Mozabite people in and around Ghardaia. We only visit communities that are pleased to receive us – it is important that we do not treat such communities just as ‘exhibits’, and we recognise that some traditional groups prefer to be left alone.

These are very traditional areas with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities. This also applies to any religious sites that we visit on this trip; Algeria is a deeply religious country and it is important that we respect these traditions.

We use locally owned suppliers and our partners here are deeply involved with the preservation of the culture and heritage of the country. Many of Algeria’s sites have been poorly maintained in the past and the entrance fees we pay to visit historic sites play an important part in their restoration and conservation.

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