When it comes to running trips in foreign destinations, Detour does something very few international tour operators does: We tell you who actually operates your trip. The reality is that very few US and international tour operators operate their own trips in foreign destinations, often because it isn’t legal to do so, or because it is cost and logistically prohibitive. But most tour operator’s hide this fact because if the trip is really operated by a local company, why should you pay so much more to book with them? By buying the brand of the international tour operator, you end up overpaying for your trip while a great deal of the money you spend pays for the overhead and profits of the international tour operator selling the trip as their own rather than going into the local destination (See Leave a Positive Trace for why this is so important).
Every trip we sell is operated by a tour operator based in the country where they operate trips, thus ensuring that a majority of the money you spend on your trip stays in that destination’s economy to provide jobs, improve infrastructure, and protect the environment. Using our decades of experience in the adventure travel world, we hand-pick our local tour operators based on the quality of their trips; only top-quality local tour operators are listed in our travel marketplace. But high trip quality is not enough — we also only work with local tour operators who practice sustainable tourism, who give back to their local communities, and who actively protect the ecosystems where they live and operate trips.
So, why do we tell you who operates your trip? A number of reasons, including it is the truth, we are proud of our high-quality local operators, and because where the money goes, matters. Most of the money you spend on your trip through Detour goes straight to the local tour operator, as we sell the trip at the same price the local operator would, without jacking up the price to cover our brand’s market position. This money then goes to pay fair wages for guides and operations staff and it is used to purchase local goods and food items, contributing to the economic well-being of the local destination to improve living standards and encourage protection of natural resources.
Additionally, by telling you who actually operates your trip, we can let you know what is being done with your money by this local company. We work with local tour operators who care about their communities and the lands where they operate trips, and they work hard to be the most sustainable tour operators around. They invest in tree planting in deforested mountain areas, they invest in schools and provide employment for women in creating crafts, and spend their money to protect their natural ecosystems. Some of our local operators are actually communities, especially in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where the tour operator provides employment for community members and the profits go to improve education and healthcare for all community members.