YOUR SAFE PLANET vs TRAVEL AGENTS
posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 09:37 AM
Planning a trip away in conjunction with a travel agent or tour operator will always add a commission to your final spend to pay for the time and assistance they give you. What if instead of being a high street shop front or an internet portal this agent was an independent person, locally based in the destination you’re travelling to? If we can be in direct contact with a local person in the places that we are planning to visit, not only are the financial benefits of tourism far less diluted for the local population, but there is the added opportunity for interaction and communication of independent information on all that a country has to offer - perhaps the biggest asset to this level of service.
Information will go out of date, new places will open, old places will close, new scams are conjured up to target tourist dollars, customs and etiquette can be hard to understand; all these aspects of travel can mean that it takes a long time to ‘get in touch’ with a place. If we could talk to a trusted and independent local source before we go and during our time away, the opportunities to channel our spending into worthy causes and to save time trying to strip back the layers that shroud a city and people from tourists are all of a sudden made available to us. We are fast-tracked to the experience we came for and travelling responsibly without thinking too much about it.
It is true that tour agencies and operators can offer a sustained flow of visitors to certain places and perhaps a guaranteed income for a select few businesses, but with such diversity and availability of places to go and stay, competition and consumer choice is an important tool in the successful development of a tourist industry. There is a desperate need to raise our awareness of community based tourism projects, small ventures and responsible travel practices but trying to tie that in with a profit making venture seems to be incompatible and contradictory. Make Travel Fair has been setup to work in conjunction with Your Safe Planet as non-profit making body to promote these types of projects by giving them web space and supporting their work through fundraising schemes. Areas that are often not considered by tourists can be rich with community based initiatives of interest to the traveller and a population desperate to interact.
Independent travel is the only way to truly engage with a local community and maximise the benefits you can bring to them. Your Safe Planet has a global network of trusted local contacts just waiting to connect you with their land and people, like only they know how.
Fund the lives of local people and the development of this service.