Ashley Woodford review 23 Aug 2019
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Istanbul. It was worth taking the extra day in Istanbul and I'm sure we could have spent more time there.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Beware that as well as the archaeological sites visited, which is what we chose the vacation for, there are visits to 'traditional' leather and carpet manufacturers
and a wine tasting which are of course just opportunities to sell us things.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Not very much. On the good side, we ate at many small independent restaurants while traveling as a group but on the bad side I felt that the ethos of
Responsible Travel had been lost by the time the arrangements got as far as the local travel company involved. To be fair I don't think the vacation we booked
is listed on the Responsible Travel website but it was available from the company that we were put in touch with when we inquired about another.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
We did what we went to do and saw what we went to see. There were too many early starts and we would have liked more time at some of the sites, time which
instead was spent in carpet and leather salesrooms.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for taking the time to get back to us with your tour feedback, this is very much appreciated.
We agree totally with your comments about Istanbul, it's a fascinating city with lots to see and do. On the tour we aim to visit the most famous highlights, but you could easily spend a few extra days here and still only scratch the surface. We're happy to add extra nights either in the same tour hotel or in somewhere different if people prefer. I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed the city.
I am sorry however that you weren't happy with some of the other stops which were included on the tour. The tour is designed to try to provide an overall view of the country, and so including things like wine tastings and visits to local crafts is there intentionally so we are not just doing classical or historic sightseeing all the time. It's always a tricky balance to strike with stops where shopping is available though, and we do make a conscious effort to include less of these stops than others. We don't remove them completely though as we know some of our travelers do appreciate being able to shop in a reputable store with good quality produce. Equally, we know that some people aren't as keen, so we're sorry if these stops affected your enjoyment of those days.
I'm also sorry that you felt the trip didn't benefit local people that much. To provide some more info on that, firstly when operating our tours in Turkey, we only employ local staff members, both to provide employment and as we feel that local guides can provide much better inside knowledge of both modern Turkish life and culture as well as the historic information, than foreign guides can. We also tend to recommend local restaurants for our groups to dine within, work with local tour operators for additional options (such as hot air balloon flights) and also support a number of independent craft producers in Turkey which we visit as mentioned above.
Thanks once again for choosing to travel with us and for taking the time to post your feedback.