Best Experiential

Gold Winner: Journeys with Meaning

They offer earth friendly-travel which they claim is “one of the most beautiful ways to take us from theory to practice, from reading to experiencing, and from watching to doing.” All their journeys are designed with local communities and with organisations like the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh and the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives. The guests stay in homestays and guesthouses and eat local food. The judges were impressed by their engagement of their clients in conversations about the challenges of climate change, unbridled consumption and the consequences of irresponsible travel. As they say “we use the time we get with our groups to educate them about inspiring environmental solutions that they can adopt in their lives.” The judges wanted to recognise their commitment to transformative travel and to encourage others to consider adopting a similar approach to achieve change through travel experiences.

Silver Winner: Open Eyes Project

In August 2014 they started a vocational tourism training course for young people with limited access to education and with a lack of employment opportunities. They offer cultural immersion tours in rural areas of Rajasthan and Tibet, and they have developed an ethical fashion project as part of a two day cultural immersion tour, in a rural area close to Jaipur. The judges wanted to recognise their Women in Tourism initiative which has, over seven years, created employment for twelve guides, thirteen artisans and two visually impaired women. This initiative has significantly increased the earnings of artisans, taxi drivers, guides and the blind female massage therapists.