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Buying Local in the Travel Industry

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The ‘buy local’ movement has really grown in the UK over the last few years - we all love supporting small businesses and feeling proud of local independents. They become our go-to places and their owners become our friends. While it’s simple enough to visit a local coffee shop or buy fairtrade foods, it’s tougher to know how to buy responsibly in the travel industry. One of the most effective ways is by working with local companies in your country of choice. TravelLocal brings the best of these companies onto a single platform, allowing you to work with a locally based operator to craft your bespoke itinerary.

While the benefits are huge, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the positive impact of the buy local movement. With this in mind, we thought we’d chat to some of our local operators about what the model does for them and for their customers...

  • Authenticity

This is definitely something that applies to buying local no matter where you are. No-one knows a place better than the people who live there and, whether it’s where to get coffee or how to see a city’s highlights, going direct to the people on-the-ground means access to more up-to-date and in-depth knowledge of the local area. When travelling with a local company, you can be more confident to venture away from the average tourist path. Their knowledge and understanding can help you get to know the culture and way of life. From touring villages with local authors to creative rural retreats, unforgettable local experiences can take your itinerary to the next level.

  • Value

It’s easy to think that buying local, at home or abroad, raises costs. In general though, for the savvy traveller, it can actually save you money while also giving you a better experience. Local companies know the best restaurants, excursions and accommodation options (and how to secure them at the best rate). They can give you incredible, unique experiences, a million miles from the average itinerary, and not break the bank in the process. Plus, dodging middlemen cuts down costs and means that more money ends up in the destination. Profits fuel local economies and help our operators to flourish and grow.

  • Making a real connection

Moving away from big faceless companies means real conversations and connections. When you get to personally meet the people behind a business, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Independent business owners love what they do and love to share it with people. In terms of travel experiences, all of our operators agreed that travellers want more from destinations than the classic highlights. They are passionate about sharing their country with you and giving you a snapshot into their cultures. There is always room for engagement and interaction; whether it’s a tearoom in Vietnam or a market stall in bustling Marrakech.

  • Doing good

Buying local, and supporting independent businesses, is also (to put it simply) a good thing to do. When you buy local, more of that money stays in the community rather than being funneled through various pipelines. Local business owners, and the profits they make, support their surrounding community and contribute to local projects. They have a personal interest and involvement which is not seen in larger businesses, as well as a genuine love for the destinations they represent. Locally-sourced travel can be a real opportunity to help local economies - especially in far-flung or less developed destinations.

Buying local is not the norm in the travel industry and that’s something we would like to change! Local operators understand their destinations and can create unique and unforgettable itineraries. From Ugandan street art to Guatemalan chocolate, there are so many incredible experiences on offer.

Make it happen

Make buying local a part of your travel plans. Your money will go further, you’ll get a better experience and you’ll be supporting the local economy. With these combined efforts, we can move towards a fairer and more sustainable kind of tourism - appreciating and recognising the companies that make it possible.

 
 

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