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  • Sun, September 04, 2022 8:42 AM | Anonymous


    Where are you located? 

    We are based in Melbourne as our hub here in Australia but have representatives across the country.  We are part of the larger Camps International Group of companies which has offices in UK and Dubai, and our on the ground operations around the globe.

    Brief summary of your business? 

    Camps is a tour operator that delivers life enhancing and educational travel experiences for thousands of young people across the world.  We build camps with local people on land that we buy or lease from communities. Our camps are located in spectacular areas of cultural and environmental diversity.  We employ and train hundreds of people in rural areas where there is little or no employment and shape all our experiences to contribute to community development, wildlife and environmental conservation. 

    Which destinations do you specialise in?

    We have 3 main geographical regions in which we operate – SE Asia, East Africa and Latin America. 

    What are the advantages to your business as a SETO member?

    Being an organisation that deals almost predominantly with schools, we are quite a niche market.  We operate between the lines of education and tourism, and up to now have always felt on the margins of both areas.  SETO brings together all similar operators, enabling us to have a presence at a higher level hopefully helping with policy development and travel guidelines, helping schools to make informed decisions towards working with reputable providers.

    What have been the greatest challenges to your business in 2022?

    The main challenge for 2022 has been gauging when to kick start our activity, and hence our cost base, post covid.  We have had to hunker down for the past 2 years to get through covid, and like many other tourism industries, we are only now starting to see a re-bound.  Schools are generally risk averse and so there remains a reticence to travel and commit.

    Consumer travel forecasts, where are your customers enquiring to travel?

    For those that are starting to think about future plans, it's mainly our Asia experiences and not until travel in late 2023 and beyond.  Schools are literally just starting to consider their options now and there remains a lot of confusion within schools as to whether they are permitted to travel yet. 

    How has your business changed and adapted since the global pandemic hit?

    We have definitely shrunk in size like every other tourism operation, and our systems have become more flexible.  In particular, we are more focused on remote meetings with clients as opposed to face to face.  This was something we were considering in any case to reduce our carbon footprint, so covid has accelerated us to a more flexible and less travel heavy operation for our sales team.  This has coincided with a general acceptance globally of the benefit of video calls, of course. 

    Looking forward what are you excited about over the next 12 months?

    It's really about getting back to normal business, welcoming new clients and teams to the benefits of travel.  We have already had our first post covid teams in our camps around the globe in July this year, so now it’s a case of filling the order book to be able to sustain the activity.  But being able to start to grow the team again and sell is what we really hanker for. 

    Rory Hall - Director Asia Pacific at Camps International Limited

  • Thu, August 25, 2022 7:35 AM | Anonymous

    Impact on Communities

    Transforming lives through volunteer travel

    By: Camps International

    Over the past few years, life has been disrupted for everyone in ways that were unimaginable However, as the world opens up there are many reasons to be optimistic that we can start making plans for our next long-awaited adventure and learn to adapt to our new normal.

    The ripple effects of Covid-19 have reached every corner of the world, but nowhere is this more keenly felt than in developing countries, where employment is the only pathway out of poverty and sustainable tourism provides essential opportunities for cultural preservation and conservation. Previously struggling communities that rely on the physical presence and support of international volunteers, as well as the economic benefits that come with them are now facing the added burden of extended periods of unemployment, lack of essential project progress such as school builds and sanitation, and the interaction, exchange of ideas and wellbeing derived from working with a diverse team of young volunteers. This has inevitably resulted in driving some people deeper into poverty and globally there has been an increase in dangerous and environmentally damaging practices like logging and poaching.

    “This is why volunteering, if done in the right way, has never been more needed or meaningful.”

    Travelling overseas, living and working alongside local communities, building equitable relationships based on mutual respect and trust, sharing ideas and building a strong global community are just some of the incredible benefits that empower volunteers and their host partners. But volunteering should provide even more than that. It’s an opportunity for individuals to really create lasting positive change, by working together to develop capacity and protect the environment according to local needs for generations to come.

    Thinking of volunteer travel with your school?

    If you are thinking about offering your students the opportunity to play their part, or you yourself want to make a difference, here are some tips for finding the right volunteering provider:

    •     Research - make sure that you thoroughly research potential organisations and ensure that they are operating in an ethical and sustainable way.
    •     Impact - ensure that they have a strategic, long-term plan in place for creating positive change and that this is designed to deliver maximum benefits to the host communities and not just their commercial endeavours.
    •     Collaboration - do they work in an equitable way with their host communities or do they simply offer ‘help’?
    •    Evidence - many companies claim to be ethical but struggle to back up their statements. Make sure that there are proper procedures in place for measuring their positive (and negative) impact and that they can provide information on this. Check for external accreditations and endorsements.
    •     Ask questions - Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something you are unsure about or would like further clarification. Ethical companies should always be forthcoming with information so you can make an informed decision.

  • Fri, July 15, 2022 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    It’s a rare privilege in this digital world to take a break from social media and online communications.

    Many young people have not known a time without the pressure of constantly being present online. So, when phones are down, eyes should be up, allowing them to disconnect from devices and connect to the world around them and themselves – it’s truly a gift.

    To maximise the benefits of their school trip abroad, students need to be free to be fully in the moment, engaging in the activities on offer and focusing on the people they are travelling with. For this reason, World Expeditions Schools strongly advises against the use of mobile phones during all school trips abroad.

    Below we would like to list four reasons why we think students should refrain from using their mobile phone while on an experiential learning experience.  

    • 1.      Gain more opportunities

    Students embarking on a travel experience with World Expeditions Schools are being given the opportunity to learn important values of teamwork, to build their self-confidence and to develop an understanding of other cultures and ways of doing things.

    In most cases, your students are travelling to a destination they have not travelled to before and are taking part in new and different activities. It’s an incredible opportunity to make long-lasting friendships with travel companions, learn new skills and understand themselves a little better. It’s no wonder that the experience often has profound, life-changing effects on students.

    • 2.       Get them more engaged

    Without the distraction of technology and the urge to scroll on screens, students are more free to look around and notice things. Without mobile phones, students are open to receive information from all their senses. This allows them to fully engage in the travel experience, to maximise the potential for learning and growth.

    At the same time, it gives them the chance to top up their creative fuel by being in tune to their own thoughts and responses in a way that is not possible when they are beholden to the phone.

    • 3.      Build their resilience

    Being reliant on themselves and overcoming challenges they encounter during the school trip will help build resilience. By encouraging your student to step away from online communication, you are giving them the space to grow their confidence and build independence.

    • 4.      You can find alternative ways to connect without phones

    Your school may wish to make arrangements to keep parents and friends in touch with how the journey is going. Alternative, more structured ways to do this are via blogs on your school’s website or via Facebook groups. This information can be updated on rest days in major towns or cities, where access to the internet is commonplace. The added benefit is that this allows for very clear lines of communication between the group, school and parents.

    This article was written by Scott Pinnegar, General Manager of World Expeditions Schools. 

  • Thu, June 23, 2022 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    Planning overseas educational travel for your students? Consider these five things so that their return to the world is a smooth and safe one.

    As the world welcomes back travellers, knowing the ins and out of visiting certain destinations in a new post-pandemic climate can be tricky to navigate. There are things like what requirements are necessary and what happens when there’s a Covid case on tour?

    We list five key things to consider so your student’s return to overseas travel is a smooth and safe one.

    While it is a completely different travel landscape from what it was pre-pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of consulting with those in the know. The expertise of educational travel professionals and travelling with financially sound organisations is more critical now than it has ever been to ensure you offer your students not only a rewarding experience but a safe and well managed one.

    If you are planning a return to overseas educational experiences for your school, or perhaps looking to venture on your first foray into this exciting world, here are some top tips to take into account.

    1. Where can my students go? 

    Which countries are open? Which countries require testing? What is their testing procedure?

    As we’ve all learned during the pandemic, the goalposts keep moving, and they can move quickly. It’s a cumbersome task for most people to stay up to date with the rules and regulations of their own country let alone those overseas. 

    Choosing a destination is often the first step for most school travel organisers. This is where you would benefit from dealing with an organisation, such as World Expeditions Schools, who have experts to monitor such things daily and can utilise their extensive network of overseas contacts.

    2. What happens when there’s a Covid case on tour?

    Risk management strategies need to be updated to cater for Covid cases. 

    School travel organisations that have carefully navigated through the pandemic should have updated and strengthened risk management plans to deal with a potential Covid case before and during a trip.

    World Expeditions Schools have been fortunate enough to assist some schools with educational experiences within Australia during 2021 and 2022 where they have successfully managed Covid cases that occurred. 

    3. How to protect your communities’ funds

    Some of the largest school trip providers were not able to financially manage their way through Covid. When researching who to use, it is important that you query any provider about how they plan to keep your monies safe. What is their policy? 

    Pre-pandemic, some experienced school travel organisers felt comfortable dealing directly with smaller local companies in their destination to save some money. Such a scenario offers zero financial protection and the pandemic highlighted what a risky move it is.

    Working with an established organisation within your own country, that has a transparent policy on how they will protect your funds, removes several key obstacles, reduces stress and gives you peace of mind that you are providing the best possible scenario for your students and their families.


    4. Be ready to be flexible with services

    Many service providers (hotels, transfer services etc) are not as resourced as they were pre-pandemic. It will take time for the world to build up capacity again, especially in some developing countries.

    There is a large staff shortage in many areas and last-minute changes may occur. Flights can be cancelled at short notice, baggage lost, and hotels overbooked.

    Expert travel companies have back up plans for their back up plans as per their risk management. Having an experienced guide and team behind you plus 24-hour support in your destination of choice is incredibly important in the current environment. Be sure you organise your school program through a reputable company that offers all the support you need.

    For the best chance of a smooth experience, it is important to start planning now to ensure the program and service you want to provide your students can be achieved and fulfilled. 

    Post-pandemic planning requires advance consideration and meticulous planning. If you are considering a return to international travel in 2023, start the conversation with an expert today.

    5. Talk to an Educational Travel Expert

    There’s so much more to consider now than there was pre-Covid. You’re busy enough dealing with the situations that arise at your school courtesy of Covid.

    This is where organising a student’s once-in-a-lifetime experience simply cannot be left to chance. Speak to an expert for the best knowledge and travel with a company that has stood the test of time and that can comfortably answer all of the above considerations to you comfortably for your added protection.

    This article was written by Scott Pinnegar, General Manager of World Expeditions Schools

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SETO acknowledges traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their ongoing connection to land, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and future and support the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices. 

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