We sat down with Peter Worthing, v.p. of sales for G Adventures, to gain insight on the current state of tourism and to learn more about how G Adventures is changing the world via travel and its social enterprise philosophy.
As a company that prides itself on social enterprise, I wanted to ask Worthing if he thought that we could get to a point where there is too much tourism in the world and how G Adventures is finding the right balance.
“I think it’s absolutely a problem in the world. Look at places like Venice and Barcelona, where the general population is sort of rising up and saying enough is enough. I understand that very well because, quite frankly, personally, I love those cities, but I won’t go there in the high season. I would choose to go on the off season. And that is part of G Adventures’ strategy—off-season travel.
“Another thing that we do quite well is look beyond the normal destinations. We look at destinations that just aren’t on the radar. We find those new places and try to help them; a big part of our company mission is to help the places that we visit, to use tourism as good. We are going to find destinations that perhaps people don’t know, but which are as equally amazing as some of these places that everybody has on their bucket list, and help those regions grow into something sustainable.”
When asked what destinations are still off-the-radar, Worthing points immediately to Uzbekistan. “We have a couple of trips that go there. One of our colleagues just went and said it was pretty incredible. We are also seeing massive growth in places like Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, Sri Lanka and Rwanda.
“Even places in Peru, which is our bestseller, taking visitors out of Lima and Cusco, and going into parts of Peru that are not as explored as others.” In fact, Worthing notes that the tour operator continues to expand its reach in South & Central America, adding new off-the-beaten track destinations in Colombia, Bolivia, etc.
“We are committed to our belief that travel can change the world and exposing more travelers to more diverse and incredible destinations is a great start,” Worthing says.
Beyond exploring under-the-radar destinations, G Adventures embraces social enterprise—it’s at the core of the company’s philosophy. “I’ll reference Recommend’s Millennial & Gen Z article—Millennial travelers are more interested in doing good and providing good for the world than just acquiring material things, and that ties well into the G Adventures message, which has always been a social enterprise model where we really want to help those destinations that we go to.
“In fact,” adds Worthing, “I don’t think purpose and profit are counterintuitive. They can live in the same space. And quite honestly forward-thinking businesspeople get that. Many of the advisors—you see the spark in their eyes when we start talking about our social enterprise programs. They say that’s exactly what I’m looking for and you can see their mind is thinking, ‘I know the right client for this.’ This isn’t just for Millennials. It’s also for people who have been everywhere and are looking for something a bit off the beaten path.
“I want to be very clear about what we do. Social enterprise is a very different model than voluntourism; we don’t do voluntourism. We use the money that is spent in that location and make sure it’s spent in the right place, which means locally, and we make sure that the money is put to good use. When our advisors catch on to that, they really do get it.”
3 Journeys to Under-the-Radar Destinations
- The 14-day Best of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan itinerary takes your more adventurous clients to Central Asia on a journey through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. They’ll trek through the gorgeous landscapes of Jeti-Oguz, go horseback riding through the breathtaking valley at Chong-Kemin, and stay a night in a traditional yurt.
- The 5-day Bolivia Salt Flats Express tour for 18-to-Thirtysomethings includes a 2-night excursion through the Uyuni Salt Flats in 4×4 vehicles, accommodations in a G Adventures-supported community salt-brick bungalow, complete with salt floors and furniture, a guided walking tour up to the sacred Jukil mountaintop for sweeping valley views, and a dinner of local ingredients prepared by ladies from the community. There’s also a new trip to Bolivia, the 8-day Highlights of Bolivia, that’s one of the operator’s National Geographic Journeys adventures, and includes time in the Uyuni Salt Flats.
- The 7-day Local Living Italy—Amalfi Coast Winter might take your clients to a popular destination, but it does so on the off-season. Visitors will get to explore the destination’s hilltop towns and vineyards, experience local customs and view the ruins of Pompeii in the morning. Homebase is a converted 17th century monastery.
For more information, visit gadventures.com.