micro excursions

The real Saint Lucia

This week we launched our Saint Lucia local lowdown quiz for travel agents. I think I must be the luckiest person in the world as it was me who got to meet and talk to the local people who helped us put the content together for this training.

Talking to local people

Julie Middleton with guide Valance James

Julie Middleton with guide Valance James (aka Visions)

As I toured around the island chatting with Mr Charles the taxi driver, trying tropical juices with Chef Robby, learning about the flora and fauna of the island with Visions and admiring the fantastic wood sculptures at Eudovic Art Studio, it struck me that I could not be enjoying myself more if I were on holiday.

“The art of the people is an expression of the people – if you take something back made by their hands you will have something of your holiday forever.”    – Jallim, Eudovic Art Studio

Saint Lucia is a beautiful island with much to see and do and for it to stay that way it’s really important that holidaymakers’ discretionary spend benefits the Saint Lucian economy.

The best way to do that is to favour local attractions, restaurants and bars. But in doing so holidaymakers experience so much more from their trip; sitting at a roadside shack and eating rotis; perhaps seeing a Saint Lucian parrot with the help of a local guide or visiting one of the many community based attractions and learning about Creole heritage.

Take the Local Lowdown Quizst lucia quiz

By taking this local lowdown quiz agents can help their customers to gain so much more from their holiday when they are visit.

The beauty of this is that it helps to keep the island’s heritage alive, local people get a fair share of the tourism dollar and there is more of an incentive for the destination to protect the environment because it’s this special environment that make people want to visit. It’s a virtuous circle. It’s as simple as that.

– Julie Middleton, Industry Programmes Manager


***Win a Fam Trip***

Agents who take the training quiz before Friday 26 June will be entered into a draw to win a place on a fam trip to Saint Lucia in December. Agents who sell Saint Lucia should register for the quiz at http://travelfoundationtraining.com/saint-lucia-local-lowdown

Voice of the people 2

Gone Fishin’

Back to the Sea projectIf fishing is your business, what can you do when the local waters become a No Take Zone?

The answer is… set up a fishing excursion. A new Turkish government law will allow tourists to take excursions on operational fishing boats. We are pleased to announce that the first excursion, as a result of the Back to the Sea project, took place on the 31st August 2014.

Back to the Sea - fishing boatsThe first excursion, which was filmed by a German TV crew from Deutsche Welle, welcomed 9 German and 2 Turkish holidaymakers on board the boat. Visitors saw local fishers at work, dropping and hauling long lines; they learned about the local area, the underwater landscape and the importance of the No Take Zone. Later they snorkeled in the beautiful turquoise waters and enjoyed a fresh-fish lunch at the fishing cooperative cafe.

The excursion received excellent feedback, especially from the children who were really excited about meeting local fishers and asked lots of questions about the marine life they encountered while snorkeling.

We look forward to bringing your further updates as the excursions gain momentum…

How can our Micro Excursions Manual help you?

Kirk Elliot – Photo Safari

Our Micro Excursions Manual helps local people strengthen their business and provide the kinds of excursions that will be bought by UK tour operators.

Kirk Elliott runs a popular Photo Safari in St Lucia. After working with the manual, he found there were many areas of health and safety that needed to be addressed. He has now checked out all of the restaurants he is working with to make sure they comply with hygiene standards.

He has also planned for an emergency situation and has doctors he can contact in case of illness or accidents. His team now have a drill on what to do in case of emergency.

The manual has made him think ahead for what he wants from his business – training new staff and planning his own exit from the business in 5 years time.

In Kirk’s words: “This manual helped me develop a laser-sharp focus”.

Have a look at our Micro Excursions Manual for yourself.

Saint Lucia cooking school embraces micro excursions manual

Jo-Anne Schultz and Herbert C Evans at The Little Lucian Cooking School

Jo-Anne Schultz and Herbert C Evans at The Little Lucian Cooking School

The Little Lucian Cooking School in Saint Lucia is reaping the benefits after staff attended a workshop based around the Travel Foundation’s manual for micro excursion providers.

Canadian chef Jo-Anne Schultz set up the school with local cook Herbert C Evans in 2012.

The Little Lucian 056 smaller“I am professionally trained in culinary arts with a human service background,” says Jo-Anne, “whereas Herbert is a true ambassador for Saint Lucia with his charming ways and vast knowledge of herbs, spices, customs and traditional food and its preparation.”

“From a young age, Herbert earned money for himself and his poor family cooking on the streets and selling his preparations by thrilling customers with his cooking and sales skills. Herbert is functionally illiterate so has learned all of his techniques and recipes through oral traditions.”

Herbert and Jo-Anne attended the Travel Foundation’s recent micro excursions workshop in St Lucia.

“Everything had such a huge impact on Herbert and really brought together many of the concepts towards developing a sustainable tour here in Saint Lucia,” says Jo-Anne.

“It was wonderful for Herbert to be greeted and engaged with by the presentation staff, the tourist board and all attendees as a valuable and welcomed player in the tourism industry. He left with a sense of pride and place as well as having a newly formed code of conduct that will forever change his approach to not just food handling and safety but also as a business owner.”

The Travel Foundation’s micro excursions manual helps small tourism enterprises and community groups around the world sell their excursions to outbound tour operators. The step-by-step guide gives practical advice on how to design an excursion, ensure that it is safe, set prices, start working with tour operators and provide excellent customer service.

Attendees from the Saint Lucia workshop will now be entered into a Dragon’s Den-style challenge, with a chance to win a trip to the Saint Lucia Showcase in London in September.

Download the free manual: Are you ready for business? How to sell excursions to UK tour operators