Australian travel company, Active Travel, has launched a new Community Experience program which enables travellers to help local communities when they travel in countries like Nepal, Cambodia and Zimbabwe.
The new program feeds into the increasing trend of ‘voluntourism’, where travellers searching for a more meaningful and valuable holiday experience give back to the communities they visit. Active Travel’s new Community Experience tours aim to minimise the impact of tourism on the destinations while maximising the time spent in local cultures.
As part of the new ‘Community Experiences’, Active Travel has partnered with the Buddha Odyssey, a family owned business specialising in trips to Nepal. The Buddha Odyssey aims to encourage people to visit Nepal so that their dollars help the country rebuild after the 2015 earthquake.
Keen runners can travel to Nepal and take part in a 100km or 50km trail race in the Himalyas, trek in the Annapurna region, visit heritage sites in Kathmandu and importantly, help raise funds to assist Nepal’s earthquake recovery efforts. The 14-day “Nepal Trekking and Annapurna Trail Race” trip will incorporate the two-day trail race, which will take competitors through forest trails, villages and past spectacular mountain views, as well as the opportunity to explore the country’s natural and cultural wonders at a more relaxed pace. A day will also be spent visiting a mountain school, distributing educational and sporting goods to students, and in some cases, announcing scholarships for students most affected by earthquake devastation.
Departing October 16, 2016, the trip costs $2490 per person, twin-share, which includes accommodation throughout, meals while camping and trekking, race registration fee, domestic flights and airport transfers. In addition, travellers are asked to raise A$250 for the Reach for Nepal Foundation, which aims to provide practical and financial assistance to rural communities affected by the 2015 earthquake.
For those who would like to explore Nepal at a more leisurely pace, the ‘Nepal Photography Tour’, also offered by Active Travel and the Buddha Odyssey, is an ideal opportunity to photograph the country’s vibrant culture and stunning scenery, with the country benefitting from the extra tourist dollars. Led by Australian photographer Travis Longmore, the 12-day tour will take place from October 28, 2016, when the air in the mountains is crisp, clear and cool – the best time for photography. Highlights of the trip includes a Kathmandu World Heritage Site tour, a jungle safari and the chance to photograph crocodiles, rhinos and more than 300 species of birds. The tour costs from $2990 per person, twin-share.