Our Story

The idea for The Beyond Tourism Co. was hatched in 2011, when Dave and Simon met after both worked at Tourism Concern, a UK charity campaigning for human rights and environmental protection in the tourist industry.

We were convinced that tourism has a huge potential for good and that the way it was being run was more often than not actually harming the communities and places that depend on tourism, especially in some of the poorest countries in the world. We also believe that as well as delivering financial, social and environmental benefits to the people whose home we visit, travel can open people’s hearts and minds, both as hosts and guests.

So we decided to start a company that would do things differently, where responsibility would not be an afterthought or addition but would be absolutely centre stage in everything that we do, from the hotels to the guides to the experiences we offer. Several inspirational meetings in pubs across London later and The Beyond Tourism Co. was born!

What We Do For You

With over ten years’ experience of creating tailor-made holidays, Dave and Simon became increasingly sceptical of the assumption that ethical travel has to mean compromising on standards or comfort. We know our customers want to enjoy their hard-earned holiday, so we take care of you every step of the way, from expert advice before your trip to 24-hour support while you are away.  A holiday with the Beyond Tourism Co. brings you:

Unique Experiences: that will help you get under the skin of the country and connect you with the people that live there. We've worked hard to uncover lots of activities that would be difficult to find yourself and the connections we have built with communities enable us to offer you something very special.

In Depth Knowledge: we specifically chose not to simply offer the whole world, but to concentrate on countries we know extremely well and are absolutely passionate about. As an example Simon has been to Thailand 7 times (including getting married there) and he is still not even considered the Thai expert!

Personalised Service: we completely understand what a big decision choosing the right holiday is for you. We will not ever rush you into a decision, instead we will take the time to ensure you get the very best holiday that meets all of your requirements.

Flexible Budgets: tailor-made travel can be expensive, however it doesn't have to be anywhere near as expensive as some companies will lead you to believe. Whilst we can't promise to make every budget work, we will certainly try to provide you with an amazing holiday, tailored to your specific interests, regardless of whether you are looking for a luxury holiday or a trip of a lifetime on a tight budget. 

Our Partners

Our aim is to bring you the best experiences and tours that we can, delivered in the most responsible way possible, always looking beyond the obvious to find the really unique things about each country – the things that will stay in your memory long after you get back home.

To do this we work with our local partners, who will take care of you when you're there and ensure that everything runs super smoothly. We’ve taken the time to search out some fantastic travel companies staffed by experts who not only grew up in the country and know it inside out, but also share our aims and ethos always push us to be more responsible.

Meet the Team

Dave - Co Founder

About Dave

Working in responsible travel was something I always had in the back (often the front) of my mind since travelling and teaching around Southeast Asia in the late 1990s. I was privileged to meet some inspirational people and visit stunning and remote places with great local travel businesses, but I also saw too many areas that had already suffered from inappropriate tourism. That was when I decided to try to harness the potential of tourism to protect these unique places for the future.

After a postgraduate degree in international development, I went on to a career in several charities as a campaigner and policy officer, specialising in fair trade and ethical supply chains, before starting The Beyond Tourism Co. in 2012.

I use my knowledge and background to sort through the experiences and hotels that claim to be responsibly run and those that are truly trying to make a difference and I love working with local partners who share our belief in the environmental, personal and social impact of travel. 

My favourite travel memory

On a long bus journey we were told about these beautiful islands off the coast of Malaysia that were still almost untouched. What we found after a boat trip into the unknown was pretty much as close to paradise as I've seen then or since. The Perhentian islands at the time had just a few family-run beach huts, the white sand beaches were pristine and a daily morning swim in the crystal clear waters would often be shared by an incredible array of marine life, including numerous turtles. There are lots of incredible islands and beaches in the world but the Perhentians will always have a soft spot in my heart.

My top travel tip

Guide books are great to get your bearings but make sure they are not your only source of information. The people who live there (especially our amazing guides) know far more than any book can tell you and are often the key to finding things that are unexpected, joyous and will stay with you forever. So keep an open mind, ask questions and be prepared to try something new!

Simon Forster - Co Founder

About Simon

Travelling has always been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, but it was when I was working with a local community in Nicaragua in the early 2000's that I first fell in love with Latin America. The variety of ancient and modern culture, wonderful people, incredible landscapes and thriving wildlife still blows me away today.

After completing a masters degree in responsible tourism management, I dived head first into the Latin America travel industry as responsible tourism manager and country specialist and stayed there until I met Dave and we set up The Beyond Tourism Co.

Having worked for both large group travel and small tailor-made companies, luxury travel companies as well as ones aimed at backpackers, I know what makes for a great holiday, whatever type of travel you are after. Just let me know what makes you happy and I will find the right experiences for you!

My favourite travel memory

On a recent trip to Guatemala I visited the Yaxha Mayan site in the mid afternoon, when it was completely deserted - just me, the guide and all of the wildlife that lived in and around the ancient ruins. Sitting on top of one of the jaw-dropping temples watching the sun sink over the jungle, it seemed for a moment like I had the entire country to myself. It felt otherworldly, totally unexpected and I very much doubt I will experience another sunset like it.

My top travel tip

Try not to go on any trip with lots of preconceived ideas or expectations. Do your research and feel prepared, however if your main aim is bucket list items or getting the best selfies, you are bound to miss what really makes your holiday destination special and the many other amazing experiences that occur every day.

CONNECT WITH US

0203 475 4799      Info@beyondtourism.co.uk