G Adventures says it is experiencing its best November on record for Canadian bookings as 2023 is set to be the first full year of recovery since the pandemic.
Mindful of the cost of living increases travellers are facing, along with the importance of tourism recovery for local communities around the world, G Adventures’ ‘Where to Travel’ list highlights the best adventures for 2023 that offer affordability and added value in-destination, while still giving back to the local communities that are trying to revive - and ultimately thrive - following the impact of the pandemic.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, says while 2023 is set to be the year of full recovery for travel businesses, it’s important travel companies still keep their eye on the ball when it comes to sustainability.
“Our ‘Where to Travel’ list this year focuses on value and giving back to local communities. There’s still a lot of pent-up demand in the market, and people have discretionary income saved from not travelling for two years, but economic uncertainty is still present. Travel restrictions have relaxed a lot however, so it’s become much easier for people to get away.
“Travellers have changed what they are looking for in terms of meaningful experiences supporting local people and the environment - travel is building back differently, and better. It’s going to be so important to continue with that focus no matter what happens economically this year,” said Poon Tip.
Added value & social impact
Packed with the best destinations travellers can enjoy in 2023, the Where To Travel List focuses not just on affordability, but also added value and life-changing experiences that come as part of a small-group trip with G Adventures, all which have strong social impact for local communities in the destination.
1. SRI LANKA - Sri Lanka has been rocked by crises over the past few years with the Easter attacks, COVID-19 and the recent economic crisis all having a devastating impact on tourism. Could 2023 finally be its year? We hope so, as much for the sake of the people impacted in the tourism industry, as the travellers who come to see its culture and beauty. The devaluation of the currency has also made it better value to travel to now, and Sri Lanka has set an ambitious target to attract tourists in 2023.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Sri Lanka Express trip is priced from just $1,499 for an eight-day trip from Negombo return. It supports two G for Good projects; Sthree Craft Shop and Cafe, and AMBA Estate organic farm and guest house.
2. TURKEY - Turkey has also been impacted by recent events, but is still poised for a strong comeback with a 139 per cent increase in bookings for 2023 travel*. Affordable, always a crowd-pleaser, and with multiple airlift options, it’s still a great choice for travellers wanting to make their money go further - and to the right places. There is plenty to see and do in Turkey with its incredible scenery and fascinating history, plus opportunities for interaction with local people away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul with its plethora of bazaars, mosques and tea houses. The food is fantastic and - best of all - it comes at very low prices.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Best of Turkey trip is priced from $1,349pp for an eight-day trip from Istanbul return, and visits the çöp(m)adam handicraft cooperation, where all products are made out of recycled goods. Making a purchase directly benefits the local women who work in the workshop.
3. JAPAN - While not typically perceived as an affordable travel destination, the yen has dropped by 25 per cent making it one of the best times to head to Japan to save money on the ground. G Adventures has seen a 65 per cent increase in bookings for 2023, as the land of the rising sun finally opens up and has the opportunity to experience the halo effect of the Olympics. Hokkaido is likely to be a popular spot to learn about Ainu culture at ‘Upopoy’ - the new National Ainu Museum and Park complex, which opened in 2020.
GET THERE: G Adventures’ Backroads of Japan trip is priced from $4,799pp for an 11-day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, and spends time at Hagi Community Homestay. This G for Good project connects Hagi’s ageing population with travellers to share local history and customs, and enjoy a home-cooked meal with their hosts.
4. PERU - With Machu Picchu still at only 60 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity, booking early to see this South American treasure is imperative. While many travellers focus on the Inca Trail, there’s plenty of other options for those seeking an alternative. The Lares Trek takes travellers along ancient Andean trails and supports local communities along the way. Plus, with a one-day Inca Trail add-on available, travellers can get the best of both worlds, and still enter Machu Picchu the way of the Incas. Or, for those seeking a more comfortable option while still giving back, National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures trips offer more inclusions, making them an excellent choice for people looking for adventure with a softer landing.
GET THERE: A National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures Explore Machu Picchu trip is priced from $2,649pp for an eight-day trip from Lima return. This trip also stops at the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Cooperative, a G for Good community tourism project that supports local women in the Sacred Valley, as well the Parwa Community Restaurant which helps boost the local economy in the Sacred Valley.
5. THAILAND - With Asia being late to open following the COVID19 Pandemic, Thailand has been slower to return meaning right now there are less tourists and crowds, and prices remain low as it’s not yet been affected by inflation. Thailand is heavily reliant on tourism for jobs and income, so all visitors are welcomed, especially as the all-important Chinese outbound market is yet to return. It is the perfect time for students and young people to hit up Southeast Asia, and support locally-owned hostels along the way on a ‘Roamies’ trip, G Adventures partnership with Hostelworld. This new trip launches this month.
GET THERE: The Bangkok to Hanoi: Chiang Mai, Night Markets & Streetside Bars Roamies trip is priced from $1,279pp for a nine day trip from Bangkok to Hanoi. This trip includes a visit to Yimsoo Cafe in Bangkok that offers training and economic opportunities for people living with disabilities.
6. MOROCCO - Another destination offering excellent value on the ground - as well as trips at an excellent price point - is Morocco, which is seeing a 29 per cent increase in bookings globally for 2023. Forever photogenic and with easy access from European hubs, G Adventures’ has launched seven new tours for 2023, making it a great add on when visiting other hubs in the region, or to simply enjoy a long weekend packed with experiences.
GET THERE: A four-day Mt Toubkal Weekend Trek is priced from $549pp from Marrakech return. During this trip, travellers pass through Berber villages, where they can buy handicrafts and textiles and are supported by Berber chefs who cook for the group along the trek.
7. MEXICO - Another country where G Adventures has expanded its offering this year is Mexico with nine new trips visiting the central american haven, which has proven an increasingly popular spot following the pandemic with bookings rising by 46 per cent. With Mexico’s mix of activities, great food and fun vibe, it’s perfect for young people who want a taste of the country but not the crowds. G Adventures’ new trips get travellers away to more undiscovered locations.
GET THERE: A 14-day Viva Mexico: Ancient Ruins & the Mayan Riviera trip is priced from $1,899pp, travelling from Mexico City to Tulum. This trip also visits the Alebrijes Artisan Community to learn more about how Alebrijes figurines integrated themselves into Oaxacan/Mexican folklore.
8. EGYPT - We’re hopeful the long-awaitied Grand Egyptian Museum will open in 2023 as currently indicated on its website, encouraging even more travellers to this classic destination where prices remain very affordable. G Adventures’ sales are also up 52 per cent on previous years as people look to tick off their bucket list destinations, and Egyptians are eager to welcome travellers back. Get there before the crowds return!
GET THERE: An eight-day Best of Egypt trip travelling from Cairo return is priced from $1,499pp, which includes a visit to an inhabited island on the Nile, where travellers will meet the Nubian community, enjoy a dinner at a local home and learn about their way of life.
9. SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa is home to some of Africa's most spectacular parks and wildlife, but the misconception around the high costs of safaris can often put travellers off. G Adventures, however, has a particularly affordable safari offer that means travellers can tick off their long-awaited dream safari trip for a fraction of the regular price, as well as enjoying the great prices on the ground, while still giving back to local communities.
GET THERE: An eight-day Kruger in Depth trip is priced from $1,799pp departing and returning to Johannesburg. This trip takes in the diverse wildlife of Kruger National Park as well as a local dance activity, which helps to support local communities and schools. Visiting the north of the park, which is often overlooked by other operators, G Adventures brings much needed income to the communities, with travellers staying in a lodge which only employs local people.
10. THE BALKANS - For travellers looking to head to Europe but avoid the usual go-to sights, The Balkans provide a European feel at a fraction of the cost. G Adventures’ Montenegro Sailing trip takes people to remote island villages to explore the islands off the coast and spread wealth into these local communities.
GET THERE: An eight-day Montenegro Sailing trip from Dubrovnik return is priced from $2,249pp. Travellers will support local communities in small villages on the islands, contributing to their economic prosperity, with sailing being a low-impact means of travel.
11. COSTA RICA - Costa Rica has continued to be a popular choice after being one of the first countries to reopen during the pandemic, and with no signs of slowing down it’s bound to continue to be a popular choice in 2023, with its mix of nature, activities and beaches there is something for everyone, especially digital nomads who can benefit from its digital nomad visa, which launched this year, those who want to completely unplug and focus on their wellbeing following the impact of the pandemic.
GET THERE: An eight-day Costa Rica Wellness trip travelling from San Jose return is priced from $1,879pp, and also visits the Mi Cafecito coffee cooperative in San Miguel de Sarapiqui, where travellers learn about everything from harvesting, to husking, drying, and roasting the beans before enjoying the best part – a fresh cup. They will also enjoy a typical lunch of plantains, beans, and freshly caught tilapia fish, hile supporting a G Adventures for Good project that helps 200 farmers and their families.
12. VIETNAM - Another country that was late to reopen but is quickly picking up speed is Vietnam, which is also a great value choice for families looking for adventure on their next trip. With great food, beautiful sights and friendly people, it makes a great choice for children to learn about la different culture in a fun and engaging way.
GET THERE: A 12-day Vietnam Family Adventure is priced from $1,499 per adult and $1,299 per child, travelling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. This trip also visits Oodles of Noodles, a G for Good project supporting former street youth where travellers help you prepare and cook a number of different types of noodles.
For more on G Adventures, visit www.gadventures.com.