Since the launch of our 5-year How We Tread Right sustainability strategy in September 2020, The Travel Corporation, including Trafalgar, has made great progress in achieving the strategic goals. Some of our progress to date includes becoming the first global tour company to introduce verified net zero targets validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) and achieving our Make Travel Matter goal. We’ve introduced 13 itineraries that visit developing regions, reduced print brochures by 49%, and ensured all wildlife experiences adhere to our Animal Welfare Policy. As a company, in 2021 we completed 6,517 volunteer hours worldwide.
RELATED CONTENT: Introducing our 5 year strategy for How We Tread Right
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® (MTM) Experiences goal
We also committed to the goal of including a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® (MTM) Experience on at least 50% of all itineraries by 2024 and have smashed that already, with MTM Experiences now included on 63% of itineraries. By the end of 2023, we’re aiming to have an MTM Experience on every single itinerary.
To celebrate, we look at some of our fantastic MTM Experiences and three ways these experiences allow you to deeply connect with a destination.
RELATED CONTENT: The Travel Corporation Impact Report 2021: The results that matter to you
What are Trafalgar’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences?
Trafalgar believes responsible travel should leave a positive impact on the people and places we visit. We introduced our signature MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences to highlight responsible travel experiences that benefit the communities close to our hearts while bringing our guests closer to the local culture. Our MTM Experiences are developed in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and are backed by industry experts. They allow guests to learn about sustainable development issues and how local communities are taking action to address them.
Here are three ways you’ll connect to a destination through Trafalgar’s MTM Experiences, plus some of our favourite MTM Experiences.
1. You’ll get to know different cultures and communities
Every destination is made up of different cultures, and we help you learn more about these diverse communities.
Meet the Temiar community in Malaysia
You get off Malaysia’s tourist trails and head into the rainforest to visit the Orang Asli Pos Raya village, home to the Temiar community. The group is part of the Orang Asli population, one the largest of Malaysia’s 18 indigenous groups. A tribal representative and Local Specialist will show you around the village, sharing traditions like bamboo cooking, piping, weaving, bamboo flute music, and Sewang dancing. You can also try traditional foods like tapioca and lemang, sticky white rice made with coconut inside a bamboo tube. The Temiars, or ‘Bumiputera’ meaning children of the earth, also have a strong connection to nature, and you’ll learn about their belief in animism that plants and other living things have a soul.
EXPERIENCE IT: Highlights of Singapore and Malaysia
Meet the people of Peak Sneng village in Cambodia
Take a journey to rural Cambodia and meet the people of Peak Sneng village. Located outside Siem Reap, you’ll get to know the locals and learn about their daily lives and ancient traditions. Try your hand at artistic Lotus flower folding or weaving palm leaves into the national hats of Cambodia. Your visit will help contribute funds to buy water filters and other essentials, along with helping to sustain the livelihoods of the local artisans and their families.
EXPERIENCE IT: Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered
Visit a Himba Tribe village in Namibia
Head to Namibia where you’ll visit a Himba Tribe village in remote northern Namibia’s Kunene Region (or ‘Kaokoland’). You’ll meet a tribal representative and get an amazing insight into their culture and local life. Learn about their hunter-gatherer traditions and how the community sustainably lives in such a remote region. Discover ‘okoruwo’ (sacred fire) rituals, which celebrate the connection between the living and dead, and admire their unique patterned clothing, jewellery and leather skirts, along with the red ochre paste they use on their hair and skin for cleansing and protection.
Through Trafalgar’s Make Travel Matter partnership with the Himba Tribe, the village has established a community fund to assist the tribe during difficult times like drought and illness and to buy essentials like food and medicine.
EXPERIENCE IT: Namibia Adventure
Visit the Thanh Dong Organic Village in Vietnam
In Hoi An, Vietnam, we’ll visit one of the first organic agricultural villages. This small farming community provides certified organic vegetables to the region and teaches people about organic farming, sustainable agriculture and Vietnamese cuisine. Your visit will help the community maintain its income and farming practices, and you’ll meet the local farmers as you wander the gorgeous gardens and learn about their farming methods.
EXPERIENCE IT: Highlights of Vietnam
2. You’ll discover incredible traditions and arts
With a world full of important arts, crafts and traditions, we’ll help you get up close and explore some of the most ancient and beautiful traditions.
Learn about traditional rug-making in Verishen, Armenia
We’ll take you to Verishen, a little village in the Syunik province of southern Armenia, home to 2,110 residents. The locals preserve the ancient tradition of Armenian wool rug-making and continue to pass the craft down to their children. Made from sheep and goat wool, these stunning rugs and carpets are important cultural symbols of Armenian homes. It’s believed the rugs protect homes from evil and family members lie on them to help heal when they are sick. Even when the Soviet Union forbid carpet and rug making after their invasion in 1920, many continued the art in secret.
EXPERIENCE IT: Georgia and Armenia Uncovered
Discover indigenous weaving traditions in Cusco, Peru
You’ll support the traditional crafts and communities of Peru through this special Make Travel Matter experience. We’ll visit the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco), a non-profit organisation founded by Andean weavers to preserve the 10,000-year-old weaving traditions. Watch the Peruvian women using ancient spinning, dyeing and weaving techniques and see the master weavers work their magic.
EXPERIENCE IT: Highlights of Peru
Support the Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot School in Quebec, Canada
Head to the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec where you’ll watch traditional Pow Wow dancing by native Algonquin people and explore the Indigenous village. Here you’ll learn about the diverse indigenous cultures of Canada, and enjoy a traditional beading workshop. Next, you’ll visit the TreadRight-supported Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot Project, which aims to preserve traditional indigenous arts. Elders and artisans teach and learn how to handcraft mukluks and moccasins and your visit will support this incredible program.
EXPERIENCE IT: Best of Eastern Canada
Get to know the washi paper craft in Gokayama, Japan
Dating back to the 7th century, washi paper is one of the most ancient and important traditional crafts in Japan. We’ll learn about this craft in the beautiful mountain town of Gokayama, where you’ll meet a family who runs a washi paper-making business. You’ll learn how the family make the washi paper, which is used for bookbinding, writing, artwork, origami and more. You’ll even get to make your own washi paper with the family and help preserve this ancient craft and family business.
EXPERIENCE IT: Splendours of Japan
3. You’ll meet incredible locals and residents
One of the best parts of travelling is the people. We’ll meet some remarkable people, from Local Specialists to local families, and learn about their daily lives, culture, and history.
Meet Jon Ghahate at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, United States
Jon Ghahate is from the Pueblos of Laguna and Zuni, of the Turkey and Badger Clans. As a Pueblo guide and scholar, he considers Chaco his ancestral homeland. We’ll meet Jon and join him for a guided tour around Chaco Canyon in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This is one of the most important centres of Ancestral Puebloan culture and history. Hear ancient stories and get special insight as you explore the pre-Columbian architecture of the Ancient Pueblo peoples, built between CE 900 and 1150.
EXPERIENCE IT: Southwest Native Trails
Meet the Quintana family at their ranch in Costa Rica
Near Sarapiquí, we’ll meet Don Alberto and Doña Ana Quintana at their Hacienda Pozo Azul, a 2,000-acre working ranch. You’ll explore the sustainable hacienda and learn how the Quintana family developed a stable income for many families in their community. See their crops like vanilla, pepper, fruits and medicinal plants and discover the history of coffee and sugarcane growing. You’ll also find out how Costa Rica became the biggest exporter of pineapple. While you get to know more about ranch life, your Make Travel Matter experience will directly support the community of Sarapiquí.
EXPERIENCE IT: Costa Rica Eco Adventure
Meet Stephen Yellowhawk and help to preserve Native American traditions
The son of the Lakota and Iroquois Nations and a performer for over 20 years, Stephen Yellowhawk is passionate about sharing his heritage through music and dance. You’ll join Stephen to learn about the traditions and history of Stephen’s tribe in Rapid City. Listen to soul-stirring music and hear traditional stories while enjoying a delicious dinner. Your visit will also support Stephen’s amazing work with Native American diabetic patients.
EXPERIENCE IT: Scenic Parks Explorer
What are your favourite Make Travel Matter Experiences with Trafalgar? Let us know in the comments below…