We all know about the cost saving benefits of traveling off season however what about the more intangible benefits such as the ability to positively impact the local economy while avoiding some of the pitfalls of overtourism during high season to popular and ecologically sensitive destinations? Meet Off Season Adventures, a sustainable adventure travel company that curates immersive experiences designed to delight and empower both the traveler and the destination. I learned about Off Season Adventures in my research to create an ever-growing list of amazing sustainable travel organizations that are working to change not only the way we travel but the world.
As the United Nations estimates that nearly 2 billion people will be traveling worldwide by 2030, it is more important than ever to seek sustainable travel options that make the world a better place not worse. To conserve and protect our planet, it is critical to try to mitigate the damage especially when traveling to popular destinations or environmentally-fragile ecosystems. Traveling off season is yet another way to fight overtourism and protect wildlife, culture and landscapes of some of the world’s most beloved places.
I had the opportunity to interview Tanner Knorr, the founder of Off Season Adventures and learn more about their sustainable tours. Here is what he had to say.
When was Off Season Adventures launched and Why?
I launched Off Season Adventures in 2017 after completing my master’s degree in Administrative Studies (with a focus on Economic Development and Tourism Management) at Boston University. I was inspired to start my travel company after a trip to Tanzania through my university and by the sustainable tourism research of Megan Epler Wood who published the book “Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet: Environmental, Business and Policy Solutions“. I was one of her teaching assistants for a Harvard Extension class which covered her book. Off Season Adventures partners with tour operators to showcase some of the incredible destinations around the world in a sustainable way.
What is your mission and vision?
We are dedicated to providing memorable experiences to travelers while respecting the local communities and environments of each destination we visit. We aim to encourage a different kind of adventure – starting with our focus on traveling during the off season. Our experiences are unique, off-the-beaten-path, and immersive opportunities that steer travelers away from the ordinary tourist drags.
We strive for complete sustainability in our endeavors, taking into account the long-term effects of travel on a destination. Our goal is to provide lasting, positive impact on the environment, culture, and economy of the destinations we visit. We work to make destinations more accessible in a responsible way, and our vision is rooted in the belief that we can improve our world through tourism.
Tell me more about your tours?
To date, all of our tours have been custom itineraries. While we are moving towards the pre-packaged tours, I’d like to highlight 5 amazing activities that we offer on our tours with Off Season Adventures.
First, no Tanzania safari can be complete without the Serengeti National Park. This park is roughly the size of Connecticut and is home to nearly all the sub-Saharan Africa you’d want to see on its endless plains. Overcrowding has been big issue in the Serengeti and by going off season, we can not only protect the incredible wildlife there, we can help employ the local economy. In Nepal, Pokhara is one of the most beautiful destinations with its stunning views of the Himalayas, especially if you take a boat out Phewa Lake. On the island of Zanzibar, you can take a traditional dhow boat around the island, snorkel in the coastal waters, and explore the history of the spice market. For the archaeology and ancient history buffs, the ruins of Carthage in Tunisia are sure to amaze from the sheer amount of beautiful mosaics and well-preserved ruins. Finally, probably my favorite place in the world, Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania offers a tangible representation of the “circle of life”. As you drive down the largest unbroken caldera in the world, you begin to see the plethora of wildlife immerge before your eyes- from lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, and even rhinos, if you’re lucky! (To read more about our tours to Tanzania, Nepal and Tunisia, click here.)
What makes you unique in the field?
What makes you a sustainable tour company?
Sustainability is at the core of Off Season Adventures. We are a sustainable and responsible tour organization for several reasons. By traveling during the off season, not only is it a better experience for the traveler because of the fewer amount of tourists and often the more affordable prices, but travel during this time is beneficial for the local economy and environment. Our tours infuse the local economies with income that would otherwise not be spent in this time. This leads to economic stability throughout the year for the communities in each destination. Because there are fewer tourists during this time, there are fewer people in need of resources like water and waste management systems, therefore putting less strain on the local environmental processes and systems. We also carbon offset all emissions from our tours’ ground operations, accommodations, and local and international flights. Our goal is to become a sustainable, net-positive travel company by replacing and building up all resources used by our clients during their tours.
Do you give back to the community or charity? If so, how?
Five percent of our tour packages is donated to our partnering 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Second Look Worldwide. This organization invests in infrastructure improvements around tourism destinations. We are currently working together to install a solar paneled water pump system and other improvements to bring running water and more hygienic conditions to about 15,500 people outside of the northern gate of Tarangire National Park. We are thrilled to be using our tourist dollars to make a difference in this way.
Want to learn more about Off Season Adventures?
Check out their website at www.offseasonadventures.com
Help Me Build My Sustainable Travel List
Do you know of any amazing travel organizations and/or nonprofits that are doing good and giving back to the local community? If so, please let me know. I’m building a growing list of these amazing organizations as a resource for my readers on sustainable, responsible travel companies. Thank you!
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