British ethical tourism pioneers ResponsibleTravel.com has celebrated its tenth birthday by announcing its biggest ten sellers over the last decade – and Middle Eastern destinations top the list. Responsible Travel offers hundreds of holidays across the world and its birthday announcement also included the news that it has sold over £100 million in ethical tourism holidays via its website since 2001. But its most popular package of the last ten years has been the Egyptian family-oriented ‘feluccas and pharaohs’ ten-day tour, which includes train travel to Aswan, felucca boat travel on the Nile and snorkeling in the Red Sea. Also in the top ten is a beach guesthouse holiday in Turkey, near to a popular nesting site for Mediterranean turtles.
ResponsibleTravel.com spokesperson Krissy Roe commented that “It’s encouraging that despite recent upheavals, it is an Egypt-based holiday that tops our 10 year charts. This particular holiday remains a bestseller in the eyes of responsible travellers. Egypt as a destination has everything – fabulous culture, beaches, diving, history and hospitality. When done well, tourism in Egypt can celebrate all that the local cultures and environments has to offer.”
“Through thick and thin, Egypt consistently makes it into responsibletravel.com’s top destinations list. It is a credit to the fantastic tourism ventures that we work with there that it continues to bounce back,” Roe continued. She also emphasised that as well as the Egyptian and Turkish destinations which appeared in its top ten, ResponsibleTravel.com sells tours and accommodation in a range of other Middle Eastern countries including Yemen, Palestine, Oman, Iran and Syria.
ResponsibleTravel.com is a portal website which allows holidaymakers to choose from a wide range of small tourism operators around the world, with nearly 4,000 holidays offered by over 1,000 different suppliers. All are, according to the company required to “maximise the benefits to local communities and environments” and range from independent tour companies based in the West to individual eco-lodges run by local families or single-day tours offered by indigenous groups. Many of the trips offer local benefits, including income for schools and clinics, support for the preservation of local and indigenous cultures, or promotion for environmental projects.
As part of its ten-year celebrations, Responsible Travel founder Justin Francis announced that it would be offering a new service to local, ethical tourism providers around the world, allowing them to build and manage their own webpages on the larger ResponsibleTravel.com website. The service will, according to Francis, be available to “accommodations, day trip operators, guides, restaurants serving local or organic produce, craft markets, museums [and] parks” and will, the organisation hopes, grow the range on the site to over 10,000 tourism providers. The service will be available to providers within the growing Middle Eastern eco-tourism sector.
ResponsibleTravel.com also founded the Responsible Tourism Awards in 2004. Since then, the prizes have received over 10,000 nominations; entries for the eighth round open in late April.
Read more about ethical tourism in the Middle East:
Could all-inclusive holidays harm Middle Eastern small business?
A Whirlwind Guide to Palestinian Guesthouses
Bike tourism grows in Middle East