Thames Travel Column

There are hundreds of ways to explore the planet.

Ben Murtagh, Sales Manager at Thames Travel wants to help you discover some of the best experiences available.

Eco Tourism

Eco-tourism is rapidly becoming the hot ticket item.

Ben Murtagh of Thames Travel explains why a journey to an area of iconic, natural beauty needs to be undertaken with care and respect.

 

Few spots on the face of the Earth merit more consideration than a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

 

Since 1835, when the world’s most famous naturalist Charles Darwin visited the Islands, little about its unique eco-system has changed. Numerous species, many of which cannot be found in any other part of the world, roam the islands in complete freedom. The island’s landscapes are just as unique and varied as the wildlife. Barren coastlines characterized by volcanic rock formations alternate with lush green highlands, sunken craters and stunning, white sand beaches.

 

Tourism is the main economic activity in the Galapagos and while it is vitally important to reduce the impact it has on this fragile and unspoilt environment, visitors bring great economic benefit to Ecuador. Tourism remains the only practical way of supporting the Galápagos National Park. The model of low-impact tourism developed in the Galápagos is working well. Income from visitors, controlling numbers at protected sites and ships that can visit the archipelago, environmental approaches to accommodation and food, as well as education and research are all ways that the human footprint has been kept light.

 

Income generated by visitors contributes greatly to the conservation of the islands and the habitat.

 

Revenue is generated from the Galapagos entrance fee and taxes are allocated for protecting and managing areas. Funds are also used to cover park ranger salaries and park maintenance. By visiting the Galapagos, tourists make a significant contribution to Ecuador’s economy by boosting employment both in the Galapagos and on the mainland.

 

Our recommendation is an adventure style Galapagos Cruise on board the Isabella 2, which is an intimate cruise ship for just 40 passengers. Great emphasis is placed on conducting an expedition with expert naturalist guides on hand to enrich the experience. While on board, guests can visit the observation deck or relax in the Jacuzzi or gym. Kayaks are available and there is an excellent restaurant and bar. A trip to this extraordinary destination inspires most visitors to see The Big 15. Top of this list are some of the more iconic and captivating species; the Galapagos Albatross, the Blue Footed Booby, the Galapagos Sea Lion and the Galapagos Giant Tortoise.

 

Ultimately, seeing the Galapagos is not so much an experience; it’s a privilege.

Call of the wild

Powerful documentaries like Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth and his 2015 BBC series The Hunt, have opened our eyes to landscapes and wildlife in a way unheard even fifty years ago. If you add social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook into the mix and it is easy to see that the Global village has become a reality and not just a clever advertising slogan.

 

It is impossible to showcase so many different destinations and types of travel. Trying to choose where to go on your next holiday can be a mammoth task. That’s why my colleagues and I work tirelessly to ensure that the destinations and experiences we recommend to our clients are relevant, exciting and most importantly, create everlasting memories.

 

Canada is one such place. It has so many fascinating experiences to offer and has quite rightfully been listed as the number one country to visit in 2017 by the Lonely Planet, New York Times and Wanderlust. With more than 200 National Parks to explore and complimentary admission for all International visitors, this vast country spans more than 9.5 million square miles and has some of the most awe-inspiring and relatively undiscovered regions of wilderness in the world.

 

Combining the splendour of a remote location with luxury tented accommodation, one unique place to add to your bucket list is Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island. This UNESCO protected Biosphere reserve, is home to a huge range of wildlife both on and off the land and offers its guests an exceptional exposure to an amazingly diverse landscape.

 

Clayoquot has reshaped luxury adventure. With six categories of adventure ranging from Heli–ventures and Equestrian-venture to Restorative adventure, which encourages absolute surrender to the tranquillity of the forest, the emptiness of the beach or simply sitting back taking in the sound of a crackling campfire.

 

I think one of the biggest draws to the region is the opportunity to see up to 3 different species of whales which call Clayoquat Sound their home. During my visit here, I was fortunate enough to see a giant Grey Whale and I can still remember the feeling of excitement when it first appeared on the surface of the calm waters, it’s a moment I’ll never forget. Grey and Killer Whales often migrate, but several pods make these waters their home all year round and Humpback Whales can be seen during the warm summer months. Guests can also enjoy hiking, fishing, horse riding, kayaking and other wildlife-watching with the hope of glimpsing a magnificent black bear.

 

They say that re-connecting with the natural world is the ultimate key to well-being. Canada offers not just the chance to do this on a grand scale but it is a chance to build those memories that can be cherished for a lifetime.

 

Click on the logo to visit Thames Travel at www.thamestravel.net

 

As Canada looks toward its 150th anniversary of Independence, it has become known for its wilderness holidays.

Thames Travel’s Sales Manager, Ben Murtagh tells us how walking on the wild side is good for the soul and restorative for the mind.

©RiverTribe Magazine 2017