Why should conscious travellers use international travel agencies at all? | Fair Voyage

Log In

Sign Up

After creating an account, you'll be able to track your inquiries, payment status and booking confirmations. You will also be able to communicate with our local partners directly, and keep us updated about your personal travel details & requirements.
Username*
Password*
Confirm Password*
First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Phone*
Nationality*
I've read and agree with your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Already have an account?

Log In

Log In

Sign Up

After creating an account, you'll be able to track your inquiries, payment status and booking confirmations. You will also be able to communicate with our local partners directly, and keep us updated about your personal travel details & requirements.
Username*
Password*
Confirm Password*
First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Phone*
Nationality*
I've read and agree with your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Already have an account?

Log In

Why should conscious travellers use international travel agencies at all?

Ever since the explosion of the internet, being an agent or international has received a bad connotation amongst the conscious travel community. After all, online platforms have made it possible for us to book directly with local guides. So why do we still need international agents? Here are five reasons why local tour guides cannot replace the role of international agents to provide responsible and safe practices for conscious travellers and local communities:

1. Limitations of individual guides

Independent guides are often not legally allowed to provide tour arrangement services for you (read about legal requirements to operate tours here). You might think that’s unnecessary bureaucracy and the legacy of an outdated system. While that might be true in some cases, there’s often very valid reasons for such regulations. They may exist to protect us as travellers, for example from financial scams or fraudulent activities, or when undertaking inherently more dangerous activities or travelling to remote regions. They may also exist to protect conservation areas, national parks or other places of natural or cultural significance. An independent guide, no matter how well intended, often simply doesn’t have the education or resources to take care of your physical and financial safety, or the sustainability of our planet. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to provide conscious travel services.

2. Benefits of specialization

Division of labor is a commonly accepted principle in modern economics. It suggests that we’re all better off if everyone does what we’re best at, if each companies focuses on its core strength. That’s become standard for almost any industry. Car companies don’t manufacture motors, banks don’t mine gold, and hospital don’t produce pharmaceuticals. However, car companies, banks and hospitals all provide very important services to you, and so do travel agents: They educate and advice you, they can speak your language, and – ideally – they are duly registered and regulated to protect you as consumer. Even if a local operator could be providing all of those services to you, it simply doesn’t make sense for people who are good at guiding and logistics to hire specialists for marketing, client service and sales.

3. Skill gaps take time to fill

It will take a long time until all the functions traditionally provided by international agencies can be provided locally in lower income countries. Certainly, our goal should be for local people no matter where in the world to have all the education and training they need. However, such a fundamental shift cannot happen overnight. It’s taken China decades to re-position from a low-cost manufacturing hub into a high-tech power house. Similarly, we expect that it will also take many, many years to fill the skill gap for digital, marketing and other experts in lower income countries to directly serve international travellers.

4. Cultural differences

Even when the above skill gap has been filled, and assuming all countries have well-functioning legal systems that make it easy for travellers to obtain any due compensation or assistance when required directly from local companies, cultural differences remain. For a high-end advisory service, do you prefer to be served by someone like you who fully understands your needs and speaks your language, or someone who can only second-guess your requirements and doesn’t communicate well in your language?

5. International sustainability leaders

Last but not least, travelling ethically and sustainably is an international trend that’s predominantly driven by organizations and consumers from higher income regions, such as Europe and North America. People in lower income countries who are still struggling to catch up and provide decent education, health care and housing for their own families don’t have the luxury to worry about the sustainability of our planet, or social justice. When local operators have adopted responsible tourism practices, it’s more often than not due to the demand and educational efforts undertaken by international agents.

Unfortunately, online platforms have played a major role in creating confusion and promoting the exploitation of human labor. Read more about digitalization & the exploitation of human life here.

Fair Voyage is a hybrid between an agency and a platform. We hope to combine the best of both models for your benefit as traveller, and to sustainably promote responsible travel practices. Read more about our business model here.

About the author

Alex is our Founder, Strategist and Business Developer. She is also our Kilimanjaro expert and personally in charge of all our Kilimanjaro content and offers.

Our Traveller Reviews

  • 5 star ratingProfessional, Kind, and Seamless Coordination Fair Voyage coordinated our Kilimanjaro trek and safari, and we... read more

    Sarah M. Avatar
    Sarah M.
    Couple Traveller, Switzerland
    1 month ago
  • I know the founder personally and she brings so much... read more

    Johanna H. Avatar
    Johanna H.
    2 months ago
  • 5 star ratingA great company to help find responsible tour operators Choosing a Kilimanjaro tour company is no easy task. Fair... read more

    Ed A. Avatar
    Ed A.
    Solo Traveller, US
    3 months ago
  • 5 star ratingGreat Kili Climb with Responsible Operator Alexandra helped me plan a successful tour and summit of... read more

    Davegetsitdone Avatar
    Davegetsitdone
    Solo Traveller, US
    3 months ago
  • 5 star ratingGreat experience with Fair Voyage! I came across Fair Voyage in my search for an... read more

    GrandTour41009690679 Avatar
    GrandTour41009690679
    Solo Traveller, US
    4 months ago
  • Highly recommended for finding and booking sustainable trips with local... read more

    Justyna K. Avatar
    Justyna K.
    4 months ago
  • Highly recommended for finding and booking sustainable trips with local... read more

    Justyna T. Avatar
    Justyna T.
    4 months ago
  • 5 star ratingAmazing Staff & Service! My friend and I had been planning to climb Kili... read more

    Shimul S. Avatar
    Shimul S.
    Small Group Traveller, US
    4 months ago
  • Tourism is a great way to learn, stay open minded... read more

    Chiara R. Avatar
    Chiara R.
    4 months ago
  • I love Africa and I know that if I were... read more

    Maria C. Avatar
    Maria C.
    4 months ago
  • The best travel agency for Africa I came across offering... read more

    Katharina v. Avatar
    Katharina v.
    4 months ago
  • I would highly recommend Fair Voyage, this is because I... read more

    Kamata N. Avatar
    Kamata N.
    4 months ago
  • I had a wonderful experience and I very much enjoyed... read more

    S.S. Avatar
    S.S.
    Solo Traveller, Canada
    5 months ago
  • The team was very professional. The daily briefings were informative... read more

    L. Z. Avatar
    L. Z.
    Couple Traveller, US
    5 months ago
  • Better than expected . . . experienced team . .... read more

    Nick C. Avatar
    Nick C.
    Solo Traveller, US
    5 months ago
  • Having met Alex on a bicycle trip across Africa, I... read more

    Elizabeth A. Avatar
    Elizabeth A.
    UK
    5 months ago
  • Can highly recommend Fair Voyage!! It is one of the... read more

    Claire C. Avatar
    Claire C.
    Switzerland
    6 months ago
  • Very well organised, great local partnership [translated from German: “Sehr... read more

    Likang Z. Avatar
    Likang Z.
    Solo Traveller, Germany
    8 months ago
  • Everything was perfect. Great patient guide

    Erin C. Avatar
    Erin C.
    Solo Traveller, US
    9 months ago
  • The climb was fantastic, and I made it to the... read more

    Sophie M. Avatar
    Sophie M.
    Solo Traveller, Austria
    1 year ago

All You Need To Know To Climb Kilimanjaro

Join A Group To Climb Kilimanjaro

Why Fair Voyage?
#1 platform for 100% ethical climbs—KPAP verified
Choose from over 300 scheduled Kilimanjaro treks
Get independent expert advice—100% free service
Book directly with locals at best prices—guaranteed!
Only top-rated guide companies as per TripAdvisor
Rest assured that your payments are fully insured
error: