Specialist tailor made Asia tour operator Yonder has introduced three itineraries, specifically to help local communities and animals, that are reliant on tourism and have been affected badly as a result of the pandemic. This follows requests from clients, who are looking to support countries that have lost most during the pause in tourism.
“So many people around the world rely on tourism – not just the travel companies and airlines, but it is the more vulnerable individuals on the ground, who enrich your holiday – such as the safari guide, the street seller and the tour guide, who have all suffered from the instant loss of income,” says Nico Kostich, director of Yonder. “We have created these itineraries for when our clients are able to travel again, to help animal conservation projects, small family run hotels survive and locally run, authentic experiences keep going.”
Tigers in India
Much of the conservation in India is privately funded and a very significant proportion of the money is derived from tourism. Yonder offers clients the chance to stay In Ranthambore National Park and work alongside an NGO called Tiger Watch, which was set up by Fateh Singh Rahore, also known as the father of Ranthambore. He recognised the need to bridge the gap between government employed rangers patrolling the tiger reserve and the local communities, who see the national park as an area that they have used for grazing the livestock and foraging in for generations. Guests can join monitoring patrols, chart tiger movements and actively engage with the local community through schools and women’s cooperatives to help bring about an awareness of alternative livelihoods and the benefits of tourism.
Yonder can organise for their guests to go on safari to little visited sections of the park, which are wild and less well trodden and stay with Fateh’s late family in their boutique home stay called Fateh’s Retreat. They can also arrange meetings with some renowned naturalists to talk in detail about wildlife and conservation in India, including the well-known Latika Nath.
Based out of Delhi’s slums, Balaknama is a bi-monthly Indian newspaper run by children who live and work on Delhi’s streets. Guests can join the team for a day and learn about the issues that affect them and how they are trying to change people’s perception and create an identity. All proceeds from this experience go back into their foundation.
The price for a two-week holiday in India, including Delhi, Jaipur and Ranthambore, starts from £2,600 per person with flights, a private Yonder chauffeur guide throughout and all hotels on a bed and breakfast basis.
Wildlife and Indigenous Tribe in Sri Lanka
Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka is still relatively undiscovered by visitors and offers a great opportunity to see some of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife away from the crowds. It is also the only place in the country where you can see Asian elephants swimming between the islands that dot the lake and one of the last areas in Sri Lanka to be home to an indigenous tribe. Guests can join head naturalists, Anuradha and Manoj to learn about the park’s eco-systems and the animals’ behaviours, as well as helping to set up motion-sensor camera traps to record and monitor animals, including mongoose, wild boar, jackal and pangolin, in order to understand the steps that need to be taken to conserve them.
They will also meet the chief elder from the Vedda tribe who will take them on a hike through the jungle to learn about how the forest ecosystem can support their hunter gatherer lifestyle and the tribe’s use of medicinal plants.
The itinerary, staying in small family run hotels, will also include a cooking experience in Kandy with Ganga Akka in her 1950’s traditional Kandyan home to learn about local farming practices and Sinhalese cuisine and biking through villages near Galle with a local guide.
A 14 night itinerary starts from £2,990pp with flights, a private Yonder chauffeur guide throughout and all hotels on a bed and breakfast basis.
Elephants in Thailand
Khao Sok in Thailand is home to a vast number of animals that are all within a fragile biosphere. Clients would join rangers in setting up camera traps, reviewing footage, researching animals captured on camera and document their numbers and habits. Khao Sok has a healthy wild elephant population that is increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they push towards the edge of the national park and move between it and Kaeng Krung National Park 70kms to the north. There are a number of initiatives that clients would participate in to try to keep the elephants within each of the park boundaries including tree planting and fencing.
A 12 night itinerary in Thailand including Bangkok, Phuket and Khao Sok with local experiences starts from £2,800 with international and internal flights, private transfers and all hotels with breakfast.
For all trips booked going forward, Yonder is offering clients the option of deferral of holidays for up to 18 months. They are offering to change all components of their tailor-made itinerary including the hotels, locations and even the country if required. Furthermore, the total value of the holiday can even be split to result in a number of holidays rather than a single one as originally planned to provide extra reassurance.
For press enquiries and images, please contact:
Tiggy Dean and Emma Hill at Hill & Dean PR on 0208 875 9923
Yonder is a luxury tour operator specialising in experience-led, tailor made holidays in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Burma. Yonder’s portfolio features a collection of hand-picked hotels, as well as a range of creative and exclusive experiences. Yonder holidays are aimed at all ages, including families, solo travellers and small groups. Yonder was founded in 2017 by Nico Kostich, once named by TTG as one of the travel industry’s bright new talents to watch out for.