Welcome to our new member – Latin Roots Travel
Interview with Maria Fernanda Pareja, General Manager
Tell us your story. How did Latin Roots Travel Company get started?
Latin Roots Travel started with the aim of offering truly educational travel experiences. Ecuador is a wonderful destination due to its cultural diversity and amazing biodiversity; we knew it was the perfect place to take the classroom to the field! We had the advice from good friends and family who are top educators and they agreed with us that Ecuador is a great student and field trip destination.What makes Latin Roots Travel Company different from your competitors?
We not only focus on great and authentic educational experiences that allow our participants to experience our culture and nature first-hand, we also focus on offering high quality standards of service and safety. Student travel is usually limited by budget, but we knew this doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. We take special care in selecting our suppliers and we are proud to say we work with the best and most experienced Tour Leaders in the country.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Part of our goal is to benefit local communities through cultural exchange. We strongly believe Cultural Exchange is for mutual benefit. We seek that both locals and foreigners benefit from their experience. Usually indigenous communities in Ecuador are formed of low income families and we have managed to create a program that allows foreign students to help community schools to improve their conditions. With these programs we have seen some success stories. For example, when students from an Academic Institution returned home after one of their trips, they decided to make a garage sale to raise money to send to one of the schools in order to buy school supplies for the next academic year. We helped them through this process by buying and delivering the supplies the school needed . It was amazing to see the happiness on the kid’s faces when they saw the supplies! And it was also so moving to see that foreign students where so impacted by local conditions that they decided TO DO SOMETHING! When we received many Thank you letters from the kids at the school, we realized that we were adding a small grain of salt to help this world become more empathetic (see photos).
What can we expect to see from Latin Roots Travel Company in the future?
We know seeing new things is part of learning and we love to be constantly seeking new experiences to share with travellers.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
Young people now live in a world almost without barriers! Everything is so close to them through technology; therefore, conventional travel is not enough for them anymore. It is necessary that travel becomes a life experience, something authentic that will add to your life and be remembered forever. We know the mission of travel now is to create global citizens who are aware of and understand the wider world where they live and the importance of their role in the community.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Latin Roots Travel Company?
As I mentioned already, since we started the company, we have been careful to set high safety standards and consistent quality controls at all levels of our operation in order to minimize as many risks as possible. Our Tour Leaders, Drivers and office staff have been trained in First Aid certification in order to provide an accurate first response in the case of emergencies.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We believe in the importance of unity and in joining efforts to become better. Learning is in our company DNA and we know through WYSE we will have the opportunity to learn more about this fascinating market.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? (WYSTC, STAY WYSE, WYSE Exchange Australia, WETM-IAC) If so, what was your experience with the event?
Not Yet. We are planning to attend in October.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
Informality in tourism operations is still a big issue in certain countries. We would like people to understand how important it is to let your operation be handled by tourism professionals and experienced certified tourism companies. Seeking a low budget trip for students can sometimes lead to paying much more later on.
We are a tour operator based in Ecuador and founded by Ecuadorian tourism and hospitality professionals with many years of experience in the travel industry. Our passion for Ecuador is our best business card; we love this country, its people and traditions and we want to share them with our clients.
From its beginnings Latin Roots Travel focused in new and different travel adventures. Great places to visit but also great moments to share. Our trips provide you with opportunities to have an insider’s view of our culture, ancestral ways of living, language, lifestyle and traditions, making the travel experience also educational.
We specialise in student / academic trips, language & travel programs and special interest travel (birding, biology trips, nature expeditions, cultural exchange trips, volunteer activities) in Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Associate Member
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