We talked to Tony Carne from Urban Adventures, one of our highly reviewed suppliers, to find out more about their business and the unique experiences they provide through their local experts.
We asked Tony to give us some background information on the company:
Urban Adventures covers 68 countries, 160 cities and has a whopping 1685 local guides! The company is devoted to making sure the benefits of tourism are felt by both the travelers and the local guides. Urban Adventures operates on a franchise business model, which means each destination is 100% locally owned and operated. They are able to provide the tools for local people to build and scale a local tourism business and as a result, travelers are provided with a bona fide experience from the people who are passionate about the city they call their home.
Pictured to the left is the Small Group Venice Food Tour: Cicchetti and Wine
The Local Experience
Urban Adventures tours aim to change the way travelers see the world. Their tour guides are local people, which means they have the ability to bring travelers to local spots that are not the traditional touristy parts of a destination. Because of this, travelers are provided with a different story of the city and its inhabitants because they are immersed in the local culture by having the chance to interact with the community. This presents travelers with the opportunity to understand how to effectively connect with a place and the people that reside there. This includes many different types of tours including food, beverage, active tourism and shopping.
Pictured above is the Clay Making and Culture Fiji Tour which gives travelers the chance to experience Fiji’s local artisan crafts.
What types of perks come with an Urban Adventures tour?
More and more travelers are looking to travel responsibly and are actively seeking out unique experiences with a smaller tour group. Urban Adventures’ goal is to create this type of experience for its travelers with its many local guides, non-traditional sightseeing and small group sizes.
Perk #1: Local Tour Guides
The tour guides are not only local, but they are also passionate and committed to providing the most engaging experience possible. Each prospective tour guide has to complete many interviews with different members of the company to guarantee that they have the right values and mindset. Tony told us that, “Urban Adventures is looking to hire great storytellers and people who are willing to share their own experiences, anecdotes and life stories as part of that city experience.” He also added that there is a sense of trust between the tour guides and the people running the greater business.
Tours featured left to right include: San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Coastal Small -Group Walking Tour , Prague Beer and Czech Tapas Evening Walking Tour, Miami: Evening Hidden South Beach and Happy Hour Small Group Tour
Perk #2: Small Tour Group Size
The group size for all tours is restricted to 12, which benefits both the traveler and the local people. This size insures that the group does not impinge on the locals, but it also provides an intimate experience for the traveler. Tony explains “with a group of that size, we can go into a tiny vendor and ensure that everyone gets served quickly so the actual experience is good. We like to make sure travelers hear other voices than just the guides, and a small group provides the perfect opportunity for guests to hear from vendors.”
Tours featured left to right include: Dana Point: Kayaking and Hiking Adventure, Bowling, Bites and Boat Ride Small Group Tour, DC: Springtime Cherry Blossom Viewing Tour
Perk #3: Responsible Travel
The idea of responsible travel is central to Urban Adventures values: it is a part of how they design their tours, who they employ and how they grow their business. Each tour tells a different story of both the city itself and the local people. Urban Adventures helps local economies to flourish since many of the tour destinations are local restaurants and shops.
“We’re looking from the very beginning for people who match our values and responsible travel is a huge part of that.”
Best Selling Tours
Some of Urban Adventures best tours include the Prague Beer tour and the Czech Tapas tour, the Tokyo After 5 Tour, and the Cicchetti bar-hopping tour in Venice. These experiences showcase cool, hip neighborhoods with amazing food and locals. Tony told us “these tours are consistently our best selling tours which means that our presence is welcomed by the locals and they enjoy having a rapport with travelers in-destination.”
Tours not to miss out on
One of the traditional flop-and-drop destinations is Fiji. It’s the type of place where you stay on the beach and almost everything is taken care of for you. But, Urban Adventures delivers many outside-of-resort experiences including Neighborhoods of Nadi, Fiji on Foot and Clay-Making and Culture.
The historic city of Annapolis is home to a plethora of little businesses that are centered around local seafood and tasty desserts with lots of friendly locals to enhance the experience. Although the city is small, it has a lot to offer including electric carts that are environmentally friendly and help travelers get from one destination to another.
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