Context Travel offers tours for intellectually curious travelers. Their guides include scholars, experts and professionals who lead both private and small group tours of cities around the globe.
Tour scholars–referred to by Context as “docents”–balance research, teaching, writing and personal lives through this rewarding profession that allows them to share their passion with others.
Context Travel is an international tour company offering personalized learning experiences for travelers who value knowledge. Their private walking tours are led by PhD scholars, professionals and journalists in fields from archaeology to high culture and food – hosted by PhD scholars who host tours themselves or on behalf of travel agents who book on behalf of clients. As part of a comprehensive digital brand experience strategy implemented to their website in 2017, both travelers and travel agents booking on behalf of clients can enjoy this immersive digital brand experience.
Paul Bennett and Lani Bevacqua launched the company during a two-year sailing voyage from New York City to Rome that helped them recognize the vital importance of local expertise for life-altering travel experiences. On this voyage they realized it was possible to go beyond touristy attractions by connecting travelers with multi-degreed local guides known as docents that possess extensive knowledge about their city and cultural heritage.
Our global network of experts leads small-group experiences for groups of 10 or fewer in cities and regions around the globe. Each tour is led by a local historian, art expert or scholar who will lead groups through its cultural history with special attention paid to key moments and figures who shaped its identity.
Docents may receive a percentage of the cost associated with each walking seminar as payment for their services. Seminars provide travelers an invaluable opportunity to connect with local guides and discuss a specific topic before their trip begins.
Context Travel connects intellectually curious travelers with local scholars and specialists for walking seminars at cultural destinations. Instead of offering just another “storytelling session”, tours aim to reveal layers of history and culture often overlooked by visitors, prompting insightful questions, debate, and stimulating thought processes.
Tour guides at this company are among the highest educated and accomplished in their respective fields, with 80% holding PhDs or equivalent degrees and all being professionals – historians, archaeologists, chefs, architects or others who specialize in specific cities or subjects; in addition they are trained to engage with travellers naturally during tours rather than providing scripted narration.
As part of its efforts, the company employs a dedicated team of researchers who develop content for both its website and blog. Their findings are used to inform marketing campaigns as well as decisions regarding what should be highlighted on the website.
The firm also supports artists and cultural institutions through donations to local communities through its Cultural Insights program, providing grants to groups producing educational programs or events for public consumption. This effort has reached over 1,000 local community members as well as helping maintain historical sites such as Delhi National Museum. Furthermore, they have adopted a Carbon Reduction Commitment which pledges them to reduce energy and water usage while purchasing locally-sourced products to minimize their impact on the environment.
Context Travel’s goal is to connect travelers to some of the world’s most incredible spots. Furthermore, Context strives to operate responsibly by taking steps to minimize its effect on local communities that host its travelers.
At Travelsmith, they focus on low-impact tourism with high value-add. This involves cultural immersion experiences, community projects and carbon reduction efforts; such as using locally owned hotels as well as restaurants run by local people to ensure as much money stays within the local economy as possible rather than going back into tour operators’s pockets or bank accounts.
At the same time, this company supports community projects and works to empower women through tourism. Furthermore, through the Km0 Food Initiative it aims to reduce carbon emissions across each destination as well as encourage sustainable development initiatives preserving local ecosystems.
Additionally, it offers off-peak dates and times to limit the number of tourists at once visiting any one location. It encourages guests to reduce water usage as well as opting out of daily room cleaning to lower waste (the greatest part of a flight’s carbon footprint comes from takeoff). Furthermore, this company plans to launch new tours while hiring additional staff in order to expand its business operations.
In-Depth Cultural Immersion
Many travelers embark on cultural immersion travel hoping to gain more global perspective and understanding, yet are often amazed at what they learn about themselves and their culture while abroad. Study abroad programs like GSL and SAP allow students to experience cultural dissonance situations which challenge their views about themselves and others – this experience can lead to transformative learning; provided students remain open-minded enough to accept new realities they encounter.
These new perspectives arise as a result of the various stages of cultural awareness that students undergo during their travels abroad (Anderson et al. 2006; Pedersen 2010). These stages include the reversal and minimization stages; respectively these may lead a student to believe their culture is superior and see similarities among cultures respectively – this may occur due to challenges presented during cultural immersion experiences.
At Context Travel, our aim is to offer travelers an authentic cultural immersion by taking them beyond tourist-traps in their destinations and connecting them with local guides and artisans – providing our clients with an in-depth perspective of sites such as Incan ruins in Peru or ancient temples in Japan.
Context Travel emphasizes community projects as an essential aspect of its mission. Through them, traveler curiosity about a destination is channeled into ways that foster shared tolerance and two-way understanding – this type of socially responsible travel they refer to as Deep Travel.
Approach: Our approach brings together scholars and specialists in fields like archaeology, art history, cuisine, architecture, urban planning, history, environmental science, classics to organize walking seminars tailored towards small groups of intellectually curious travelers. Each seminar can accommodate up to six participants per seminar and more often serves as informal conversations than scripted lectures.
Context is committed to safeguarding cultural heritage in overly-tourist areas, such as Berlin. Through a new initiative with an organization supporting refugees there, Context will collaborate on an experiential tour through Berlin that gives both local guides and tourists alike an intimate look at an evolving culture.
Creative Repute provided Context Travel with local style guides that combined global brand elements with elements unique to Philadelphia. This included creating new logos, websites, social media posts and printed materials tailored specifically for Context Travel audiences – leading to significant increases in both online and offline conversion rates.
Traveler Responsibility & Awareness
Travel can be an amazing vehicle for cultural exchange, global awareness and personal humility – but when managed irresponsibly it can have adverse impacts on destinations visited, their peoples, natural resources and the global ecosystem. Thankfully, more destinations, tour operators and tourism businesses are focusing on becoming more sustainable – seeking to minimise and reverse adverse impacts caused by overtourism, depletion of heritage/environmental sites/spaces visited; globalisation/globalisation impacts; as well as unintended social change from their tourism activities.
But there remains a disconnect between most companies’ sustainability vision and that of casual travelers, which needs to be closed. In most cases, this requires changing mindset and communication style: using less jargon when communicating responsible travel messages that appeal to casual travellers rather than emphasizing environmental aspects alone. For instance, if carbon emissions or environmental impact is an issue then focus on people and communities affected rather than ecological ramifications when discussing travel as the solution.
Reach out to your community and educate people on how they can become more responsible travellers. This could involve teaching schools about sustainable travel practices and helping incorporate them into their curriculum; or holding workshops for community members about how they can do more to support sustainable tourism in their area – helping the economy as well as giving volunteers an avenue for making a difference!
Context Travel is a tour company that offers intellectually curious travelers a unique and immersive way to experience a destination. Their expert-led tours are designed to reveal layers of history and culture that are often overlooked by visitors, providing travelers with an in-depth perspective of sites such as Incan ruins in Peru or ancient temples in Japan. Context Travel’s commitment to low-impact, high-value tourism allows travelers to explore a destination while minimizing their effect on local communities and the environment. They also support community projects and work to empower women through tourism. Through their Deep Travel approach, they channel traveler curiosity into ways that foster shared tolerance and two-way understanding.
As more destinations and tourism businesses focus on becoming more sustainable, it is important for travelers to be responsible and aware of their impact while traveling. Context Travel encourages travelers to become more responsible travelers by changing their mindset and communication style and using less jargon when communicating responsible travel messages that appeal to casual travelers. They also suggest reaching out to the community and educating people on how they can become more responsible travelers. By doing so, travelers can help support sustainable tourism in their area, help the economy, and make a difference.