It’s cold outside (for most of you!). If you dream of the sun on your face then we’re absolutely with you. Luckily, in many countries the good weather is just starting to roll in - Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Oman, southern Morocco, Colombia, Senegal - it’s a long list.
Talking of Indonesia, watching Blue Planet II (coming to BBC America and, apparently, Netflix soon as well) has helped us cope with the cold in the UK. The first coral reef in Episode 3 is in Raja Ampat in Indonesia. It's no ordinary reef, being the most pristine in the world, and Indonesia is no ordinary country - depending on what you read, it has around 15% of all the world’s islands.
We had a record month for recommendations in November - where our name has been passed on to a friend or family member that has then booked a trip with us. It seems word is getting around! Thanks to all of you who have passed on our details. Gradually word is spreading that “buy local” is the way to travel. Do let us know when you recommend us - we would like to thank you each time you do.
An update is due on Mandari Panga, the tourism project in the Ecuadorian rainforest that we (and Adrian Philips from Bradt Guides) nominated for a British Guild Of Travel Writers Award. David, our local expert from Ecuador, flew over to London for the ceremony with the two founders of the project - Fredy Gualinga and Katty Balladares. It’s a long way from the Amazon rainforest to the Savoy. To cut a long story short - they won! A tribute to Mandari Panga’s pioneer ethos and its commitment to local community impact. For one night only, a slice of authentic Amazonia was in the heart of London - and stole the show.
Many of you will know we have launched Japan as our newest destination. This is big news - as we can already see, many of you want to go! But, more importantly, working with our local experts makes a big difference to the quality of the trip. They are true experts on walking (this was their founding specialism many years ago). They can cover everything you might wish to do, but for the walkers amongst you this is the company you need to speak to. The consultants there are based in Kyoto, in the heart of Japanese culture, and know exactly where and how you should travel in the country. Any rugby fans may also know that the next world cup is based there in 2019.
Our ethical charter will be coming shortly. Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far. If you feel strongly about a specific issue relating to the impact of tourism worldwide that you think should be addressed do get in touch directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read all correspondence and will engage with any issues raised. One oft-raised issue is the working conditions of guides and drivers. We would welcome any further input on this, to ensure we are having a positive impact.
Best wishes and happy travels,
Huw & Tom
TravelLocal Managing Directors and Founders