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Experience Seekers - Is it me or do we have a problem?

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Does anybody else agree with me and support local tourist providers?
6 years ago, June 10th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #138092  
B Posts: 19
I have noticed that most travel services that are available when I travel to a first World country are not a real reflection of the actual culture. I have just got back from South East Asia and can't believe how false the tourism services that are available are? Is this a problem? Reply to this

6 years ago, June 10th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #138104  
Hello Adam 😊

I dont know if it is a problem or not, but I do believe that what is demanded will be supplied.

I personally welcome the available tourist sevices, when I visit SE Asia. It is nice to pick and choose from convenience, as well as what is not specifically for the tourists.

Those who really seek experience though, without the tourist services and the cushion of regular western English speaking company would be in places like Uzbekistan, Paraguay, Alaska... rather than in SE Asia, in my opinion.

Ill move this to the General Forum. I think it will get more viewers there. 😊

Mel

[Edited: 2011 Jun 10 11:44 - Mell:49612 ]
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6 years ago, June 10th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #138132  
B Posts: 19
Mel

I agree, the services that are not specifically available for the tourists usually for me are the best snapshot of the place/people and culture.

I would love to go to those places, they are on the to do list. I am extremely optimistic I believe there is a unique memorable experience everywhere, but some places it is hard to find because of the tourism services ability to get in the front of me through advertising, tripadvisor and local information centers.

Mel, I know I am not experienced as you. If you have any tips, sites that would be great.

I have transferred the conversation to the general forum
http://www.travelblog.org/Topics/29144-1.html

Thanks for the advice!

Adam
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6 years ago, June 10th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #138139  
A very good question, Adam. For a good portion of people, travelling to another country is a "risky" or "uncertain" experience, so the more familiar it is (in terms of the tour company, other people on the tour or travel service) the more likely they are to travel. This is the antithesis of my form of travel, because this effectively creates a travelling "foreign enclave", and it does distance yourself from the local culture. However, for some people, it is either this way of travel or none at all, so it is difficult to be too critical of this travel as there is a demand for it, but it is something I never do.

When travelling, I always try to utilise the services of a local provider, which is usually to hire a car and driver, day tours or for places I could not travel alone (i.e. African safari) the reasons being several:

First, they are cheaper - this is especially true of any tour provider in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Second, they usually inject more money back into the local economy as these businesses are locally owned.

Third, many foreign providers tend to place you with only other foreigners, but I much prefer being around local people instead. An excellent example of this was a river cruise I took in Bohol, Philippines a couple of months ago. It was very touristy, and usually I shun such things, but but over 90% of the people on the boat where Filipinos, so it still felt very cultural.

Fourthly, these local providers tend to take you to restaurants that the local people consider to be good, rather than a place which has good "Western" options - though these may be the same - they usually are not. Furthermore, these locally preferred options tend to have better value for money.

Overall, when travelling to another country, I avoid the "foreign enclave" as much as possible (though splurging on a nice hotel occasionally is always refreshing). Thus, local providers are always my choice as it ensures my best chance of fully experiencing the local culture whilst still having the convenience of my own transport or of a day tour to a place that I could not otherwise visit. Reply to this

6 years ago, June 11th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #138164  
B Posts: 19
Thanks Shane..

I could not agree more with injecting money into the local travel. Infact I see it as a real driving force that guides me.

I do think there should be more opportunities. You are quite experienced, I wish people shared your view. I was in an undeveloped Island in Fiji last year. I was having some Ca'va with locals, who were working for nothing at the local hotel - long hours.

I understand that the hotel has made it possible for them to work on their own land, but I do see a huge gap.

I have just thought about a few limits for these local providers

Local providers are harder to find when planning in advance before you enter the country. They do not have a flash website etc etc.

They need to spend time building trust, they don't have a big corporate sign and brand behind them.

Shane, I take it you think there are enough local providers? (I know that is a big vague question, but on the whole) You have just outlined such a great reason for this. Do you think their are many others who avoid this "foreign enclave" (I really like this term) or is it a small minority?

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6 years ago, June 11th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #138167  
It is really hard to find local providers in some countries - and as you rightly say - because they don't have any websites (let alone flashy ones). I tend to either listen to like minded travellers who have first hand knowledge, or scour websites such as Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet or Virtual Tourist for names, and then try to contact them directly. Many have an email even if they don't have a website.

I try a couple of different search techniques, first I use Google and find the local Google page (such as in Kenya) and then search for Kenyan pages only. If Google doesn't have a page for the relevant country, just put the country web code (i.e. .ke, .au, .vn) at the end, but it is usually not as effective.

I do believe that there are enough local providers in places such as Middle East, Africa and Asia. I'm sure Europe does too, but just haven't used any there. A good way to get in contact with a local provider is to ask the hotel or hostel you are staying in - however this tends to be more effective with budget and mid-range accommodation choices.

There is certainly a portion of like-minded travellers out there (avoiding the foreign enclave), but they are the minority. I think this group appear smaller in number than they are, because they are more likely to head off on their own instead of congregate with other travellers. Thus it is like a number of lone wolves roaming amongst tall grasses and passing close to each other but not knowing of the others presence.

Local people getting paid paltry wages in flashy hotels is a real issue, but at least they are getting a steady and secure job, which is better than some of the alternatives. Ensuring their conditions are good is an equally important consideration. Reply to this

6 years ago, June 13th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #138248  
B Posts: 19
Thanks Shane, you just gave me some really good advice, I never thought about the google thing.

It makes a lot of sense the majority usually book well in advance 3-4 months, through their domain to the most rated used services. This makes it harder for the locals to compete, and I do not think others will take as much initiative as you. I am thinking about doing a research assignment on this for University.

Because I think a lot of tourists would love these services - if they were able to access them. TripAdvisor and Virtual tourist must help these locals out tho I guess. Nice blog! Reply to this

6 years ago, July 23rd 2011 No: 8 Msg: #140841  

...but some places it is hard to find because of the tourism services ability to get in the front of me through advertising, tripadvisor and local information centers.

Mel, I know I am not experienced as you. If you have any tips, sites that would be great.


The following is the best advise I have heard to date on TravelBlog, about this question, so I will repeat it back to you.

To get off the beaten track, you often just have to walk for a half hour, away form the tourist spots. Tourists seem to congregate in specific spots in cities and towns. Few of them go beyond the centre or the well known tourist attractions. 😊
______________________________________


More of my own personal opinions:

Local providers are harder to find when planning in advance before you enter the country. They do not have a flash website etc etc.


I wouldnt book tours on the web. That is one way to find yourself in situations that are tarted up to appeal to mainstream tourists. Use a combination of guide books such as the Lonely Planet ones which are especially for independent travellers and advice from other independent travellers, so you can travel without tours, or only use them for parts of your trips. As well as that, when you are in the actual countries, you can check out some of the tours and services advertised in the guesthouses you are staying in, if you fancy having something more guided. Those tours are generally given by local providers. Sometimes, they might have some kind of office providing tours and experiences in the towns, which might be worth checking out, as these are often provided by locals.

Do you think their are many others who avoid this "foreign enclave" (I really like this term) or is it a small minority?


I dont avoid the tourist spots, and often enjoy them, but certainly wouldn't want to spend all my travel time in them.





[Edited: 2011 Jul 23 20:45 - Mell:49612 ]
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6 years ago, July 24th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #140856  

tarted up to appeal to mainstream tourists



Catchy phrase Mel.

I think there is a place in the world for the independent kind of travel that most of us prefer utilizing local guides.

I also think there is a place for the tourists tours. Just because that kind of travel is not what I would pick for myself I am always happy to see others out exploring.

I try not to be a snob when it comes to tourists. Maybe my perspective is a bit different being from the United States. Many from the US only get a couple of weeks vacation and taking a tour makes it much easier for them to get out and explore. They can see more in a short period of time.

I think each should travel to their comfort zone. If it makes them happy to have the trip planned out in advance---then so be it.

Happy travels everyone. Reply to this

9 weeks ago, October 6th 2017 No: 10 Msg: #202518  
Let's enjoy live tour everyday. <snip>
[Edited: 2017 Oct 06 20:19 - D MJ Binkley:42569 - Please do not post commercial links.]
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