The importance of “Going local”
Sustainable travel starts with “Going local”
“Going local” – that’s to say, working with local people and investing in local communities – has been an integral part of the H+I Adventures sustainable travel philosophy since the very beginning.
The immense value that local people bring to an adventure has never been a question for us. By working with people who have an intimate knowledge of, and real passion for an area, borne from many years of living, working and playing there, we can craft amazing all-round experiences, that make an adventure much more than ‘just’ a mountain bike tour.
More importantly, there is a direct link between income generation in a small community and the long term sustainability of that community. Bringing in local expertise not only creates a better experience for you as a traveller, but also supports high quality jobs in communities that are often rural and/or remote and rely heavily on tourism.
From the very first adventures that we ran in the Highlands of Scotland (from our base in Inverness), we sought to work with local people – like our inimitable guide, Alex Glasgow, from Plockton – and keep as much of the income as possible in the local communities we passed through. For example, staying in family-run hotels and guest houses (Kinlochewe Hotel is still one of our favourites), and eating in small local cafés, even where the accommodation has its own restaurant. This means that the income generated from your tour with us is being spread amongst different businesses in the community, benefitting more local people.
As we started to look beyond Scotland and expand our tours worldwide, it was essential for us to apply our “going local” strategy to these other destinations. Building strong relationships with ‘Local Heroes’ in each region is absolutely key. Mountain bike guides, logistics experts, bike shops, fixers, accommodation providers, local food producers… their knowledge and expertise is what makes a good adventure into an unforgettable one.
The value of an exceptional local mountain bike guide is often in the things you don’t see. Both on- and off-trail they are constantly assessing, re-assessing and making decisions to ensure that you have the very best possible experience in their backyard. Yes, they can show you the best lines to take on a trail – especially when they’re a downhill champion like Rajesh Magar in Nepal! – and recommend the tastiest dishes on the menu. But they’re also watching the weather closely, whilst at the same time carefully watching each rider and the group as a whole to assess energy levels and mood to decide whether to push on or change plans without making anyone feel under pressure or under-sold in their experience.
They’re continually thinking a step ahead, orchestrating your experience, and aiming to mitigate any potential incidents. And if an incident does occur, which they do in mountain biking, it’s part of the game, they know exactly how best to look after you when you need it most. They are kings and queens of group dynamics, micro-adjustments, and calm-under-pressure.
We have been crafting mountain bike and e-mountain bike adventures for almost 15 years now. We know what’s required to make an MTB adventure really special, and have an in-house guide training and exchange programme that enables our international family of guides to deliver this standard of experience. But it’s these Local Heroes who add the memorable moments, the little details, and the personality that make your adventure truly unforgettable.
Our commitment to “going local” means that you have the best all-round experience we can give you and, importantly, around 70% of your tour price stays in the local area, ensuring that all our Local Heroes can continue to make a sustainable living in the places they love and call home.