I spent the day at the BBC Good Food Show with Travelsphere, and discovered how the Travelsphere Cares scheme gives back to good causes around the world.
Travel rewards the traveller in so many ways, whether it’s taking in new sights, sampling the local food or trying out new experiences. But wouldn’t it be great if you could give something back to the areas you visit?
I recently spent a day at the BBC Good Food Show as a guest of Travelsphere, the escorted tour specialists. And while I was there, I discovered how the Travelsphere Cares initiative supports good causes and people in need in the communities they visit.
Read on to find out more!
Travelsphere at the Good Food Show
Travelsphere are escorted tour specialists who have been providing amazing travel experiences for over 50 years.
They know how travel can make a lasting impression on your life. That’s why they take great care to make sure every detail on your Travelsphere holiday is taken care of.
A Travelsphere holiday includes everything from flights and transfers to accommodation and meals. Meals and local excursions are also included to give you a taste of the local area, but with the flexibility to explore for yourself as well.
Travelsphere have been sponsoring the Big Kitchen at the BBC Good Food Shows this year. And I was invited along to spend the day as their guest at the Winter show in Birmingham.
I watched cooking demonstrations from top chefs Tom Kerridge and José Pisarro, enjoyed a delicious meal in the Good Food restaurant, and spent time exploring the fabulous stands at the show.
I even had chance to meet Tom Kerridge, and get some advice for cooking Christmas lunch. His top tips? Get all your ingredients organised up-front and write a step by step list of things to do on the big day!
While I was at the show, I also learned about Travelsphere Cares from Josh, one of Travelsphere’s Product Managers.
What is Travelsphere Cares?
The Travelsphere Cares initiative has been running for several years. It’s a fantastic way for Travelsphere to be able to give back to the communities who provide such a fantastic welcome.
Travelsphere Destination specialists spend a long time getting to know the people and locations that you will be visiting. And this means that they often get to hear about local good causes and people in need.
So Travelsphere donates a percentage from each holiday you book to a relevant good cause. This might be something like helping with wildlife conservation or providing vital supplies and equipment for a local school.
By choosing to travel with Travelsphere, you are helping to contribute to Travelsphere Cares without it affecting the price of your holiday at all. And on some tours, you may even have chance to see where your money is being spent and meet some of the people involved with the scheme.
Here are some of the projects which Travelsphere Cares has supported over the past few years.
Oodles of Noodles in Vietnam
Oodles of Noodles is a project run by STREETS International. It was established in 2007 to help some of the estimated 20,000 children living on the streets of Vietnam.
It provides disadvantaged young people with training for a career in the hospitality industry. The scheme provides instruction and work experience, plus supervised housing, meals, clothing, medical care and a monthly allowance.
So far the scheme has had 9 intakes, each training around 30 students at their training HQ in Hoi An. Many of their previous graduates have gone on to successful careers in 5-star hotels.
Oodles of Noodles offers a chance to transition from life on the streets to economic independence and a career in hospitality. It transforms the lives of disadvantaged children and their families.
See for Yourself
When you book on the ‘Invitation to Vietnam & Temples of Angkor’ and ‘A Journey through South East Asia’ holidays , you will have chance to visit the Oodles of Noodles project. You’ll meet the students, have a good at making noodles, and enjoy a delicious lunch of Mi Quang noodles!
Clean Cookstoves with the Maasai
Smoke from cooking in confined spaces can have a huge impact on health, it’s a major problem in the developing world. Millions people are affected and many deaths are caused each year by this issue.
The Maasai Clean Cookstoves scheme trains local women to construct and install safe stoves in family homes and community buildings across the Serengeti.
A new stove can remove 90% of indoor smoke pollution from a family home, and only uses 40% of the firewood used by the traditional cooking methods. This helps to slow down deforestation, and also reduces the time spent on collecting firewood.
The Clean Cookstoves project works closely with Maasai women to design the stoves. They are also put through a 10 day training course which teaches them how to install the stoves. After completing the course, they can become stove distributors in their village and those nearby.
So far the scheme has installed over 750 stoves in more than 60 villages.
See for Yourself
On Travelsphere’s ‘Tanzania Serengeti Safari’ and ‘Kenya & Tanzania Grand Safari’ holidays, you’ll have chance to visit two homesteads.
First you’ll see a boma (homestead) with an open fire, and learn about how this can impact on health.
After that, you’ll meet some of the all-women engineer team who are constructing the new cookstoves. Together you’ll visit a boma with a clean cookstove, and you’ll see the difference that the new stoves can make.
The cost of the tour will pay towards providing a stove for a home that doesn’t have one yet.
Chansar Village in Cambodia
Travelsphere have been supporting the development of Chansar village in Cambodia for several years.
In 2013, they joined a project at Chansar High School, to build a library and help improve the pupils’ education. Following that success, the next project added a teachers’ dormitory to the school. This has helped to attract teachers from neighbouring districts to work at the school.
The current project is building new classrooms for the school. It hopes to reduce overcrowding and improve the facilities at the school, to offer a healthier learning environment.
See for Yourself
You can see the work taking place in Chansar village when you book onto Travelsphere’s ‘A Journey through South East Asia’, ‘Invitation to Cambodia, Laos & Thailand’ and ‘Invitation to Vietnam & Temples of Angkor’ tours.
You’ll travel to a location just outside the village of Chansar. There you’ll hop onto an ox cart for a ride to the home of a Khmer family who specialise in making brooms. You’ll see the brooms being made, and be given a chance to have a go yourself.
After that, you’ll take a guided walking tour around the village and see the results of the projects work for yourself. You’ll also be able to participate in fishing, farming or animal husbandry activities, depending on theseason.
Funds from these tours go directly to the community, helping to improve the lives of the people in the village.
I was really impressed by the stories I heard of the Travelsphere Cares scheme. It’s a fantastic way of giving back to the communities we visit when we travel. And some of Travelsphere’s customers have continued to raise money for the projects they have visited once they return home.
The Travelsphere Cares scheme is making a real difference to people’s lives, while also enhancing and enriching our own travel experiences.