It´s not so easy to make Holiday package by your own.
I have been working in Tourism business for more than twenty years altogether, ten of them in Travel Agencies in Finland and in Spain. So I somehow know how to package travel services. I am also very used to look for information on internet and my Spanish language skills are excellent.
Even with this background it was not easy to plan our holidays in Andalusia- in responsible way. What I want to say, is that we should appreciate the work done for us in Travel Agencies and in the other hand – it´s not easy to be responsible traveller – there is not much on offer or it´s difficult to find such services.
Hint for entrepreuners: Make your responsible strategy visible for customers, tell them what responsibility means to you and how you implement responsibility in action.
Travelling in responsible way – what does it mean?
For me responsibility in Tourism means making responsible and sustainable choices; taking into consideration the environment, ethics, local culture and people. I also want to support local economy as much as possible.
Transport and Responsible choices.
It would have been great to travel all the way from Finland to Andalusia by train but unfortunately we didn´t have time enough and we travelled by plane.
First (1) responsible choice: We booked direct flights from Helsinki to Malaga as according to researches airplanes cause most emissions during the take off and landing.
First I planned to hire a car to reach the best hiking tours. It was challenging to understand how much time it would take to move from one place to another in mountainous area but it was the most important part to start. At the end I had it clear – we wanted to stay outdoors and hike as much as possible instead of sitting in car… so I decided to keep our tour as simple as possible.
Second (2) responsible choice: Use public transport instead of hiring the car.
After this choice many of the idyllic accomodations were excluded of our selection because of the impossibility to reach them without a car
Hint for entrepreuners: Make sure it´s easy to reach your place – also with public transport!
Easy Access to outdoor activities had to be easy for us. I also wanted our accomodation to have a story to tell us, to be family-run or/and owned by locals. With this criteria there were not so many options left and made it easier to choose.
Third (3) responsible choice: Book accomodation with easy access by public transport or walking instead of hiring the car. Encourage accomodation owned by locals.
Our choise was Complejo Turistico La Garganta in the village of El Chorro:
- there are two daily trains to this village from Malaga
- it takes less than one hour to get there
- the hotel is in 2 minutes´ walk from the station
- there are several hiking tours to reach directly from hotel
- there are busses running every 20 minutes to the starting point of ” El Caminito del Rey” – the most famous route in Andalusia
- it has got a story to tell: the building used to be a flour mill and was built more than 120 years ago
Hint for entrepreuners: Tell the story of your enterprise and make it visible
We wanted to hike and spend time outdoors. We also wanted to know Malaga for one day – so we were combining urban and nature activities. We were seeking activities without using motorized equipment wanting to respsect nature, animals and Ethical code.
This means for example, that we are not interested in playing golf in the areas with lack of water (well..we don´t play golf anyway), we are not interested in activities based on having animals out of their natural environment or using them for something not natural for them.We want to hike in marked routes and respect the environment. In urban area we walk and use public transport.
We also wanted to have easygoing holidays without stressing too much. In some cases it would have ment spontanius travel without any plans but in our case we had only 7 days to explore it all and it was worth of making plans.
Fourth (4) responsible choice: Activities based on local culture and environment. We travelled out of season and supported the enterprises in low season. We were hiking in marked routes.
Hint for entrepreuners: Authentic activities based on nature are interesting choices for many tourists globally. Make it easy for tourists to have such activities – they are ready to pay for them.
I joined the local hikers´ Facebook- group before our trip and got some good hints and information. I tryed to find local groups to join for hiking excursions, but didn´t find any during our stay.
I would have liked to have local guide in village to join us for our hiking tours, paying for this service, of course, but there were none. Or it would have been possible with reservation many days in advance and the guide would have come from Malaga. It was too much planning for us.
We connected with very helpfull locals in our hotel and its surroundings and got some good information. The hiking routes were not very well marked and we got lost, but always found the way back home. Next time I take proper map and compass with me.
Fifth (5) responsible choice: Obtain information about the place before you travel. Connect with locals.
Hint for entrepreuners: There are all the time more and more individual travellers interested in Guided services. Make it easy to book and pay!
Food and beverage
We had little kitchen in our apartment, but we wanted to support the local restaurants and had all the meals, including the breakfast, in restaurants.
Sixth (6) responsible choice: respect the local culture including the gastronomy and support local restaurants.
We wanted to eat local specialities and we also took our picnic for hiking tour from our hotel´s restaurant.
Seventh (7) responsible choice: Local food and beverage are best souvenirs to take home; I bought local cheese, almonds, wine and Christmas sweets (Turron).
Hint for entrepreuners: Provide travelers the opportunity to buy local products – most of the visitors want to buy something in all the places they stop and stay.
We had beautifull, perfect holidays and all expectations fulfilled! It doesn´t mean we didn´t have surprises or problems, but they are just part of perfect holidays – as they are part of life itself.
Thank you for following my blog. I am happy to answer any further questions!