There are numerous factors for an unforgettable travel experience and most of these are unique to each traveller. Whether it is adventure or relaxation that your client is looking for, there is almost always a single factor that can transcend their experience: authenticity. Travellers, now more than ever, aren’t just looking for any type of vacation. They are looking for authentic experiences that pave the way for a connection to the local destination – travel that is transformative and meaningful. Lucky for us, that is exactly what we specialize in at Royal Mountain Travel.
So, how does a tour operator achieve authenticity? By practising sustainable travel initiatives that work with local stakeholders to ensure that profits stay within the communities, culture is preserved and the environment is taken care of. That’s why we chose to work with Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit aimed at improving our world through tourism, to host a FAM trip that showcases the best of our sustainable practices to conscious travel agents. Attendees included representatives from The Nature Conservancy, Borderfree Travels, Off Season Adventures, Lokal Travel and more.
Throughout the 11-day adventure, there was one activity that stood out the most to our travel agents as an authentic, transformative experience and that is our integration of the Community Homestay Network into the trip. Community Homestay connects travelers to host families that open their homes to show visitors their daily life, from cooking lessons to partaking in local festivities, the traveler becomes a part of the family. Not only does this enhance the traveler’s experience through connection, but it also uplifts the local community by supporting the women who run each homestay.
Eytan Elterman of Lokal Travels shares his experience:
“The trip to Nepal was truly an amazing adventure! We visited a monastery and watched a beautiful monk chanting ceremony at sunrise; we had several homestay experiences where we got to spend a few nights with families and learn about their way of life, and spent a day at Chitwan National Park and had incredible luck spotting several rhinos. It was interesting to be in a country bordering China and India, which was evident culturally in many ways, but one of the most prominent was the food, which spanned the likes of traditional Indian Dal plates, to a fusion food like a momo; a dumpling filled with chicken, pork, or veggies, or more traditional Chinese foods like noodles or fried rice. One of my favorite experiences of the trip was participating in a welcome dance with members of the Panauti community, it was our first of three homestays and I was really excited to see what community tourism was going to be like in Nepal. The women led tourism project was great to see firsthand, and also great to know that the trip we were on was helping empower women entrepreneurs all over Nepal. I have nothing but great memories from my first trip to Nepal, and look forward to returning for a second adventure sometime soon!”
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