SONDOR TRAVEL

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SONDOR came to life in 1991, but officially in 1994 and Sadik Malaj, founded this Agency with the belief that other travelers would share his desire to experience authentic adventures and holidays in a responsible and sustainable manner.

He named his newly business by uniting his children names Sonja and Dorien in one beautiful name, SONDOR.

In the last 20 years, SONDOR has managed to satisfy more than 40,000 tourists who turned to become SONDOR's loyal happy clients and that have trusted SONDOR Travel Agency to to lead them in discovering Albania and Balkans.

There are more than 150 professional local guides who are involved in SONDOR activities and tours.

We proudly will keep offering travel pakages, day tours and activities, spread in several different themes, cultural discovery tours, walking, cycling, winter holidays, special interest tours,
in Albania and Balkans.

At SONDOR, we start every day by bearing in mind that WE LOVE PEOPLE, WE DO THE BEST FOR THEM, in other words, WE SONDOR !
Member since: 28 Jul 2017

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

We are very interested in economic providing or responsibility, for e.g.:
-We have employed local people and guides who know everything about the area.
-We have helped on the construction of different guesthouses.
-We have employed local people to help us mark new trails so indirectly we contribute on the economy of the area.

Environmental responsibility

We have encouraged several initiatives such as:
• Advising group members to take shorter showers (sometime cold showers) so that we preserve the water and reduce the heat consumption.
• Advising group members to use aluminium bottles instead of using single usage plastic bottles as water containers.
• In all our groups we provide paper bags to wrap up the food we eat on our way to the next guesthouse or hut so that we don’t use plastic containers of any kind.
• When it comes to carbon consumption at our office we have many green flowers so they help by providing for us oxygen and make us feel close to the nature even though we are working inside four walls.
• Also when we are on a tour we try to limit the carbon consumption by reducing the usage of cars and instead of them, having with us horses who carry the bags.
• We always advice our groups to take back to the urban centres different forms of waste (toiletry etc) where the waste management is recycled. We don’t tolerate leaving toilet paper in the nature
• Graffiti on rocks is another problem in National Parks. We had a case where irresponsible people (from Belgium) would write their names on a big rock near Valbona Pass 1800m. Of course this doesn’t happen in our groups because the tourleader is already instructed about this matter.
• Taking rocks from caves or artefacts at National Parks. We discourage this as well.

For the environmental groups we have done a donation to the “TOKA.org” an organisation to conserve the Albanian Alps, and “Journey to Valbona”. We are helping them as we speak to build their new website.













Social responsibility

• It is common in our groups to receive a briefing from the local tourleader about the political, cultural, social aspects of the Albanian society before they go to a specific place or area. We are doing that for companies such as EXODUS Travels too.

• We have a tipping-oriented culture, so in this way to minimise the negative impact on local cultures we always advice the guides to advice the members of the groups to do the right tipping so in this way the locals will not take advantage of the group members. And many times we advise the group members to have an appropriate clothing in the Alps, and respect the local culture, traditions, beliefs etc. For example, showing too much of one’s body is considered inappropriate in the local shepherd’s culture of Northern Albania. And we take this in consideration.
• When it comes leading groups through local guides so that the benefits stay in the area we do this all the time. But not without challenges though. Sometime the local guides don’t have enough language skills to manage groups. Even in this situation we have solution such as using our General Manager to guide specific groups to Northern Albania since he is native to that region.
We believe that we have a very beautiful country with amazing people and a great potential in adventure tour-ism, so in this way we as a company try to always bring out its best. For example in the city of Gjirokastra in 2007, an Artisan Center was created by Gjirokastra Foundation, to provide a setting for the local artisans (wood and stone carving, tailoring, embroidery, textile) to showcase their products and invigorate this lost ac-tivity in Gjirokastra. Nowadays, the Association of the Artisan Women called “GjiroArt” is functioning in that space providing local made souvenirs for tourists, and therefore conserve the traditional craft skills. And so this is, one of our biggest suggestions that we do to the groups, which brings benefits to the host community as well. Another local initiative is: opening the local houses only for tourists with a max. of 4 members visiting it at once.

This is another suggestion of a local house that we do and It is called “Konaku Guesthouse” where it has a yard that has space for about 24 people to sit and enjoy a conversation with the locals drinking something from the house and enjoy the amazing sightseeing that the place provides.




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