From Egypt to the Balkans, G Adventures reveals where travellers can visit more affordably, and give back to local communities in the year ahead.
With strong bookings being reported across the industry for 2023, and small group tour operator G Adventures seeing very high demand from its UK customers, next year is set to be the first full year of recovery since the pandemic.
Mindful of the cost-of-living increases travellers are facing, along with the importance of tourism recovery for local communities around the world, G Adventures’ has highlighted the best adventures for 2023 that offer affordability and added value in-destination, while still giving back to the local communities that are trying to revive.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, says that while 2023 will be a year of full recovery for the travel industry, it’s still important that travel companies “keep their eye on the ball” when it comes to sustainability.
He says: “Our ‘Where to Travel’ list focuses on value and giving back to local communities. There’s still a lot of pent-up demand for travel, and people have discretionary income from not travelling for two years, but the economic uncertainty is still present.
“Travellers have changed what they are looking for – travel is building back differently, and better. It’s going to be so important to continue with that focus no matter what happens economically this year.”
Where to travel in 2023 – according to G Adventures…
1. SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has been rocked by crises over the past few years with the Easter attacks, Covid-19 and the recent economic crisis all having a devastating impact on tourism. Could 2023 finally be its year? We hope so, as much for the sake of the people impacted in the tourism industry, as the travellers who will come to see its culture and beauty. The devaluation of the currency has made it better value to travel to now, and Sri Lanka has set an ambitious target to attract tourists in 2023.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Sri Lanka Express trip is priced from just £999pp for an eight-day trip from Negombo return. It supports two G for Good projects; Sthree Craft Shop and Cafe, and AMBA Estate organic farm and guest house.
Poised for a strong comeback, Turkey has been impacted by recent events. But with many communities relying on tourism, with many affordable options available, strong airlift and over 140 per cent increase in UK bookings from G Adventures it’s still a great choice for travellers wanting to make their money go further – and to the right places.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Best of Turkey trip is priced from £799pp for an eight-day trip from Istanbul return, and visits the çöp(m)adam handicraft cooperation, which supports local women who make products out of recycled goods. Making a purchase directly benefits the local women who work in the workshop.
While not typically perceived as an affordable travel destination, the yen has dropped by 25 per cent making it one of the best times to head to Japan to save money on the ground. G Adventures has seen a 34 per cent increase in UK bookings for 2023, as the land of the rising sun finally opens up and has the opportunity to experience the halo effect of the Olympics. Hokkaido is likely to be a popular spot to learn about Ainu culture at ‘Upopoy’ – the new National Ainu Museum and Park complex, which opened in 2020.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Backroads of Japan trip is priced from £2,849pp for an 11-day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, and spends time at Hagi Community Homestay. This unique G for Good project helps to empower Hagi’s ageing population by hosting travellers in their homes, offering travellers the opportunity to live with an elder, learning about their history and customs and bringing much-needed income to the community.
With Machu Picchu still at only 60 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity, booking early to see this South American treasure is imperative. While many travellers focus on the Inca Trail, there’s plenty of other options for those seeking an alternative. The Lares Trek takes travellers along ancient Andean trails and supports local communities along the way. Plus, with a one-day Inca Trail add-on available, travellers can get the best of both worlds, and still enter Machu Picchu the way of the Incas. Or, for those seeking a more comfortable option while still giving back, National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures trips offer more inclusions, making them an excellent choice for people looking for adventure with a softer landing.
GET THERE: A National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures Explore Machu Picchu trip is priced from £1,599pp for an eight-day trip from Lima return. This trip also stops at the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Cooperative, a G for Good community tourism project that supports local women in the Sacred Valley, as well the Parwa Community Restaurant which helps boost the local economy in the Sacred Valley.
With Asia so late to open, Thailand has been slower to return meaning right now there are less tourists and crowds, and prices remain low as it’s not yet been affected by inflation. Thailand is heavily reliant on tourism for jobs and income, so all tourism is welcomed, especially as the all-important Chinese outbound market is yet to return. It is the perfect time for students and young people to hit up South East Asia, and support locally-owned hostels along the way with new Roamies trips launching this month, developed by G Adventures in partnership Hostelworld.
GET THERE: The Bangkok to Hanoi: Chiang Mai, Night Markets & Streetside Bars Roamies trip is priced from £699pp for a nine day trip from Bangkok to Hanoi. This trip includes a visit to Yimsoo Cafe in Bangkok that offers training and economic opportunities for people living with disabilities.
If you’re looking for cool accommodation to stay in Chiang Mai, there are plenty of options to choose from. From trendy boutique hotels to unique guesthouses, the city has something for every type of traveler.
Another destination offering excellent value on the ground – as well as trips at an excellent price point – is Morocco, which is seeing a over 150 per cent increase in booking from the UK for 2023. With coastal, desert, mountain and city landscapes on offer, forever photogenic Morocco is easily accessible from European hubs and is a popular choice for those seeking a closer-to-home adventure. G Adventures has launched seven new tours for 2023, ranging from short, weekend breaks to 12 day adventures.
GET THERE: The new Mt Toubkal Weekend Trek sees travellers passing through Berber villages, where they can buy handicrafts and textiles and are supported by Berber chefs who cook for the group along the trek. The four-day trip is priced from £399pp from Marrakech return.
Another country where G Adventures has expanded its offering this year is Mexico, with nine new trips for 2023. With a 91 per cent rise in UK bookings, Mexico has proven an increasingly popular option for travellers wanting to make the most of the activities, great food and fun vibe. G Adventures’ new trips get travellers away to more undiscovered locations, making them perfect for travellers who want a taste of the country but not the crowds.
GET THERE: A 14-day Viva Mexico: Ancient Ruins & the Mayan Riviera trip is priced from £1,299pp, travelling from Mexico City to Tulum. This trip also visits the Alebrijes Artisan Community to learn more about how Alebrijes figurines integrated themselves into Oaxacan/Mexican folklore.
We’re hopeful the long-awaitied Grand Egyptian Museum will open in 2023 as currently indicated on its website, encouraging even more travellers to this classic destination where prices remain very affordable. G Adventures’ UK sales are also up over 100 per cent on previous years as Brits look to tick off their bucket list destinations, and Egyptians are eager to welcome travellers back. Get there before the crowds return.
GET THERE: An eight-day Best of Egypt includes Cairo and a visit to an inhabited island on the Nile, where travellers will meet the Nubian community, enjoy a dinner at a local home and learn about their way of life. The tour is priced from £879pp.
9. SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is home to some of Africa’s most spectacular parks and wildlife, but the misconception around the high costs of safaris can often put travellers off. G Adventures, however, offers affordable safaris, without the low costs being at the expense of the local communities, meaning travellers can tick off their long-awaited dream safari trip for a fraction of the regular price, as well as enjoying the great prices on the ground.
GET THERE: An eight-day Kruger in Depth takes in the diverse wildlife of Kruger National Park as well as a local dance activity, which helps to support local communities and schools. Visiting the north of the park, which is often overlooked by other operators, G Adventures brings much needed income to the communities, with travellers staying in a lodge which only employs local people. The trip is priced from £1,099pp departing and returning to Johannesburg.
10. THE BALKANS
With overtourism and crowding catching the headlines for many European destinations this summer, travellers seeking an alternative option can head to the Balkans (including countries such as Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro) for a European feel at a fraction of the cost.
GET THERE: An eight-day Montenegro Sailing trip from Dubrovnik return is priced from £1,299pp. Travellers will support local communities in small villages on the islands, spreading wealth as they go, and sailing is a low-impact means of travel.
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