From grand palaces to historic temples, hot desert plains to snowy mountain peaks, cosmopolitan high rise to safaris at sunrise; On The Go Tours has been offering travelers world over with the finest sights and adventures on offer for over 20 years now. Promising to take you through the richness of local cultural experiences, the experienced team at On The Go Tours carefully plans personalized tailor-made trips.
We caught up with Carl Cross, CEO at On The Go Tours reminiscing on the years gone by, the changing landscape of the travel sector and the impact green travel is having.
How On The Go Tours came about
A chance encounter in Egypt back in 1998 led to On the Go Tour’s inaugural trip to the land of the Pyramids over Christmas and New Year that year. Propelled by a passion for authentic travel experiences, a lot of hard work and that essential ingredient – a bit of good luck – along the way, we’ve since grown into a medium-sized global company, head-quartered in London (UK) with offices in Brisbane (Australia) and Johannesburg (South Africa), and represented in Canada, New Zealand and the USA.
Celebrating our 20th birthday this year, we have entered a new, exciting and more mature phase, alongside our loyal customers. From humble roots taking intrepid travellers budget-style to Egypt, we now enjoy the privilege of taking tens of thousands of customers to over 60 exciting countries around the world. One thing remains, however, and that is our commitment to authentic and accessible cultural experiences in the very heart of our destinations.
In addition, ensuring our footprint is light and that the benefits of travelling reach the local communities visited is paramount. We’re proud to say that when travelling with us, the large majority of your holiday funds remain within the countries you visit, supporting local economies at a grass roots level with our sustainable travel policies.
How we ensure the trips planned are centered around sustainable tourism
We have a number of initiatives to ensure that many of our tours are focused on sustainable travel. We believe travel should be a rewarding experience for travellers, as well as the local communities and their natural environment. We care about the countries we visit and give back employing only local guides, dining in local eateries and staying in locally owned hotels wherever possible.
On our tours, on average over 70% of travellers’ holiday funds remain within the local economies and we are proud to say that this approach has led to very successful and close partnerships around the world.
We also have an initiative in India called Change for Children. We provide passengers with an envelope to donate their unwanted local currency to purchase clothes, educational supplies and other much needed items for underprivileged children. One project the funds have contributed towards is building a second toilet block in the Abhaneri Primary School for the girl students. Previously the one toilet block was used by both the boys and girls and this new separate toilet will have a positive impact on the children’s educational experience.
Moreover, in 2016 we reconsidered our responsible travel charter and the welfare of elephants in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, and made the decision to remove elephant rides and visits to elephant orphanages from all relevant destinations and tours. We strongly believed that in order to minimize any unnecessary suffering that these elephants may have experienced due to a lack of income for the businesses that own them, a gradual and sustainable withdrawal was required. Over the course of several months we worked closely with the local communities to explore new income revenues and ensure these animals were well-looked after. The elephant rides and camp visits originally included on our tours have been replaced with free time and other activities.
Finally, another one of our key sustainable travel initiatives is a tree planting initiative in Cambodia. This is run in the village of Preak Dak, located 8km from Siem Reap. On our tours to Cambodia, travellers spend time at this village planting mango and jack fruit trees with saplings purchased from local growers. The majority of villagers here are on low incomes and by providing them with trees that bear fruit, they are able to feed their families and make an income by selling the fruit. It’s also a way of offsetting carbon emissions – a win all round. And it means our travellers get to experience rural life in Cambodia and participate in a local community project. We’re hoping to plant some 3,000 trees and cover an area of 15-20 hectares, providing the village of 200 with a sustainable source of income.
Featured trip most popular amongst our users
- India = Taj Traveller
- SE Asia = Journey to Angkor Wat
- Africa = Falls to Cape – in Africa we launched a Balls 4 Africa community project, whereby our passengers distribute soccer balls to children from disadvantaged communities. Not only will the soccer balls act as a form of entertainment, but they will also help cement the fundamentals of sport, improving gross motor skills, teaching teamwork, discipline, and boosting children’s self esteem. Sport also helps to promote social inclusion and develops leadership skills.
A recommended travel destination, we’d suggest to OPR users
India is probably comes out top. Not only do we operate numerous award-winning tours here that are extremely popular, we also have two major sustainability initiatives in the country that we are really proud of.
Three promising travel trends that emerged this year
There has been a huge emphasis on responsible tourism over the last year, which refers to both travel that respects and enriches local communities, as well as travel that is environmentally conscious and focused on animal welfare. On The Go Tours is clearly on top of these trends with initiatives such as Change for Children in India, tree planting in Cambodia and removing elephant rides and camps from itineraries in all relevant tour locations.
There is no doubt that another key trend of 2018 was the rise of solo travel. More and more people are wanting to experience the world on their own and On The Go Tours caters to their needs with a range of trips perfect for solo travellers, as well as selected tours that offer solos their own room at no extra cost.
Finally, it is clear that health conscious travel is becoming increasingly popular, with people wanting to combine their holidays with some sort of health benefit. This has led to an increase in bookings for more active adventures such as trekking, cycling and walking trips. On The Go Tours has their finger on the pulse when it comes to this trend, with a range of active tours to a wide variety of destinations such as Vietnam, Morocco and Bhutan.
Image courtesy: On The Go Tours
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