Who We Are

Our Story

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

We quickly realised that we had both travelled extensively and shared a passion for trying to go beyond the well-known tourist sights, to experience and learn from different ways of life. We knew that travel had hugely enriched our lives and that it has an enormous potential to improve the lives of the amazing people we met along the way. We believed that travel can be a unique way of opening people’s hearts and minds, both as hosts and guests and paving the way for sustainable long term change.

But we also knew that the way the tourist industry was being run was more often than not very unfair and actually harming the communities and places that it depends on, especially in some of the poorest countries in the world.

So we decided to start a company that would do things differently and better, where responsibility to people and the planet 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, spirited (and slightly tipsy) meetings in pubs across London later and The Beyond Tourism Co. was born!

Our Partners

Our aim is to bring you the best short experiences and bespoke holiday itineraries 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 smoothly. They are experts who not only grew up in the country and know it inside out, but also share our aims and ethos and always push us to be more responsible.

Creating fair supply chains is very important to us and we’ve always felt it’s missing from how most of the mainstream tourism industry operates. We’ve selected our partners very carefully and positively chosen to work with them on an equal basis, rather than opening our own local offices. Nearly all of them have been with us since the beginning, building strong relationships and trust in their amazing ideas.

To this we add our own travel knowledge and passion, our personal touch and individual attention to your needs and a commitment to create as much positive impact as we can. Together we’ll go the extra mile to take your ideas, introduce you to a few things you might not have thought of and turn them into truly unforgettable holidays.

Meet the Team

Dave

Director and 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 an anti-poverty campaigner and policy officer, specialising in fair trade and ethical supply chains. Working on big economic justice issues from Make Poverty History to the fallout of the 2008 banking crash was both rewarding and tough, but in the end I knew it was time to return to my passion for travel.

I use my knowledge and background to search out and evaluate experiences and hotels that claim to be responsibly run, to find those that are truly trying to make a difference and I love working with local partners who share our belief in the positive 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

Director and Co-Founder

About Simon

From as early as I can remember nature, wildlife and travel have played a huge part in my life. In my teenage years you could find me protesting against building the Newbury bypass road or on my local high street raising money for any number of endangered animals. Then as I travelled further around the world I realised that maybe I could combine my three great passions.

These feelings came to a head whilst I was working in community development for a National Park in Nicaragua in the early 2000's, when I realised that my future lay in travel that makes a positive difference. It was also there 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 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.