What is a Conversation Partner and Responsible Travel?
Each of our tours are escorted with by a Conversation Partner, so what is a Conversation Partner exactly?
A Conversation Partner is someone who will enjoy the adventure with you, the Conversation Partner may not have been to the destination before (which is why we use expert local guides), but adds another dimension to the trip, as our mottos says “Travel for Thinking People” our Conversation Partner will challenge some of your thoughts, open up discussions about Responsible travel, is this part of the trip considered to be responsible, what effects is this having on the community good or bad? Our Conversation Partners and our tours look at ways we can engage with the community is a positive way, not just looking on but joining in and building meaningful relationships, whether it be, just in the moment, temporary or life long. Conversations Partners will work with our local guides to seek out places where we can buy locally made souvenirs or eat locally where funds are going back into the community.
The Conversation Partner is from Australia and will generally escort the group from Australia to your destination.
We create opportunities to meet up before we depart, so we’re able to have discussions and create relationships before we head off on our journey. We also meet up after the trip to talk about what we learnt, how we felt, what we could do better and also reflect on our experiences.
What is responsible travel in this context?
Responsible travel considers the effect of travel on destination communities.
It seeks to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive. With a little thought, it is almost always possible to create a more responsible journey, and this grant and mentoring program supports and rewards that thinking.
Often solutions are simple – for example supporting worthwhile community projects, staying in locally owned accommodation and buying locally produced souvenirs, riding a bicycle for part of the journey instead of travelling in a bus.
However, the one essential element of a Uniting Journey is to aim for mutual respect and cultural understanding. ‘One-on-one’ dialogue with people in the host country, where all parties are considered equals, is often a feature. These conversations may also identify specific needs of a community that future groups may be able to assist in meeting.
Many of our trips change and develop overtime, we have had a group go before and explain that we need to do this better, or that hotel wasn’t so “responsible”. We make changes, we listen and take on board your feedback. Our tours aren’t perfect in responsible travel, sometimes because we haven’t been given the right information, some of the regions we travel to make seeking our responsible travel options difficult, as safety of you our travellers is our number one priority, however we make sure other things we do are responsible, or once again come back and say ‘let’s change this to this’, or did you know a new hotel or restaurant opened up, we went and had a look and we think you need to look into it for the next group.” We love this!
If you have any questions or feedback please email firstname.lastname@example.org