Ukraine small group tour
Description of Ukraine small group tour
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Small group tour:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetOur tour leaders do not use single use plastic bottles and also encourage our customers to use their reusable water bottles. Guides are trained in the locations safe drinking water fountains and refill stations through towns and cities and will factor these into itineraries. We also encourage our customers to purchase Water-to-Go bottles, which allow their users to drink water straight from the tap.
As most of the accommodation that we use on this trip are locally owned properties, our tour leader recommends to our customers to be conscious of their water use when showering and encourages them not to have towels changed on a daily basis.
We use a public overnight train from Odesa to Lviv on day five, which reduces our carbon emissions and allows us the opportunity to meet more people from the local community. When in Kyiv we use the metro to explore and our tour leaders encourage our clients to do this during their free time as well.
On this trip we visit Gemba Mountain in the Carpathians and here there is the opportunity to dine in a unique cafe at the top of the mountain where they use no electricity in order to be more environmentally friendly
We also spend two days exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Interestingly in 2015 a major scientific study found that the mammal population in the zone was thriving, despite land contamination, which was contrary to what experts had believed would be the case. The Przewalski's horse was close to extinction, but in areas around Chernobyl their population is increasing. Moose, deer, beavers, owls, brown bear, lynx and wolves have also all been spotted and appear to be prospering. The area around the power plant has inadvertently become a wildlife reserve where the animals are protected from much in the way of human interaction. There are also a number of dogs that are descended from the pets that were left behind in the Exclusion Zone after the evacuation. These stray dogs are fed by the workers at the power plant and there are also charities setup such as the Clean Futures Fund who want to help save the lives of these dogs.
As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.
PeopleThe majority of accommodation used on this trip is locally owned. This not only provides direct employment within the hotel, but also has the effect of percolating money beyond to small businesses that supply the hotel and in this way money is spread throughout the region we visit. Other people benefit too from our visit including drivers and local guides. On this trip we use local guides in every city visited except in Kyiv, where our tour leaders conduct the tour as it is their home city.
We use tour leaders, who know the country very well and who will help to give us a unique insight into its history, customs and culture and get us that bit closer to the local people. They also ensure that our customers are aware of the cultural norms that should be observed, dress code, gestures, etc. Our tour leaders are trained by us in the importance of responsible tourism with guidance given on how they can make a difference.
Our tour leaders will make recommendations to clients to use locally owned restaurants, bars and shops. When dining in restaurants our tour leaders also offer advice about what to order based on what’s in season and what has been produced locally. We also visit local markets in Kyiv, Lutsk and Lviv.
On this trip we also visit Izky eco village where they aim to be as self-sufficient as possible and so they produce most things themselves including their food and even the tableware that they serve it on. We'll be given a masterclass on how the make cheese and get to sample a number of different cheeses accompanied by wine and Carpathian tea.
After the invasion of Crimea and the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, tourism to Ukraine was hit hard and is only starting to recover a few years ago; obviously our priority is always the safety of our groups and that is why we always follow UK foreign Office Travel Advice and are in constant contact with our local suppliers to ensure we know what conditions are like on the ground.
However we also strongly believe that is important that we continue to send groups to Ukraine to help support the local businesses and our local tour leaders. Ukraine is a fabulous country and the capital city, Kyiv, is full of history, stunning architecture, mouth-watering food, and it’s affordable with cost of public transport, food and drinks being some of the lowest in Europe. We will also visit the unique site of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and now is the time to go. It’s been over 30 years since the accident and with each passing year the site further decays and eventually it will become inaccessible. In Chernobyl our groups visit the self-settlers that live alone inside the Exclusion Zone which helps to give them companionship and much needed food supplies.
As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.