General Manager and Fearless Leader @ Urban Adventures. Global citizen, traveller, travel dreamer, travel talker, Melbourne lover.
At Urban Adventures, we firmly believe local travel is one of the best ways we can support responsible tourism. In fact, we believe it so strongly that we’ve made it our entire business. All our tours are run by local experts, not some faceless corporate team located halfway around the world with no sense of the local vibe. All our tours are designed, built, and run by locals — the very people who know a city best.
How it all works
We find passionate and dedicated locals who have an infectious love of their destination that they want to share with travellers. To that, we add our commercial knowledge of how the broader travel industry works, bring them distribution, and provide them with marketing support. We give them the tools and training to run a small tourism business, and continually monitor their progress to ensure safety and quality is at the forefront of every Best. Day. Ever. they lead.
Our overarching aim is to make their local business a sustainable, profitable enterprise that can hopefully springboard into creating even more employment for other passionate locals, thereby feeding tourism dollars directly back into the local economy and community.
The locals we work with can be individual guides, small tourism-based businesses, or even local indigenous or grassroots organisations that have a wonderfully unique local story to tell, and to whom we want to help give a voice and revenue stream.
One current example of this is our Home Cooked series, which has enabled destinations that may not be large enough to support full tour operations to benefit from a tourism business opportunity with a connected, global network.
What it all means for travellers
We craft our tours to ensure every traveller has authentic interactions with local people, businesses, transportation, and food and drink, to ensure the entire local community benefits from having you there. Local travel gives you the opportunity to experience a destination as locals do, and has the potential to impact you in ways you never imagined. In short: local is awesome.
Where it’s all taken us
We’ve been doing what we do for nearly seven years, and in that time we’ve grown to more than 150 destinations, aiding local economies not through handouts, but by supplying the tools and support needed to grow local businesses and encourage local entrepreneurs.
Last year, we launched In Focus, a series of tours run in partnership with local NGOs, non-profits, and social enterprises, designed to show travellers the work that is being done at a local level to make each city a better place.
We’ve also welcomed more and more partners from under-the-radar destinations (or perhaps even off-the-radar entirely) such as Tbilisi, Varna, Dili, Shiraz, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Bagan, and Samarkand. We’re excited and honoured to have helped local entrepreneurs in these cities to launch their own tourism businesses, keeping tourism dollars exactly where they belong: in the local economy.
While our number-one commitment is to always bring the best tours possible to our travellers, what’s just as important to us is ensuring that we’re giving back to the communities we visit.
Like what you’re hearing? Want to spend some time with us? Check out our full list of tours around the globe at urbanadventures.com.