We partner and work with businesses and cooperatives that are locally owned and run. Our local partnerships with schools, homestays, boutique hotels, small businesses and local tour guides create opportunities and income for community members and puts more money back into economy of the host country. While we will work with foreign owned businesses at times, it’s typically when we have a personal connection to the individual(s) running it and whose core missions and values are well aligned with ours. When working with foreign owned businesses in Latin America countries we do seek out places where the staff is at least 75% made up of individuals from the host country and they are compensated equally.
We make sure to compensate artisans for their time, so a visit to their home or shop for a demonstration or workshop is worth their while, whether or not it results in additional sales. Secondly, we compensate our guides appropriately so they are not in need of additional commissions from artisans in order to make a viable living. And lastly, we respect our clients and never want them to find themselves in a compromised position where they feel obligated or pressured to make a purchase. If you decide to buy something from someone it’s entirely up to you and the transaction will take place directly with the vendor, though we are happy to facilitate a translation when requested 🙂
When we visit artisans on any of tours we do NOT accept a commission from them in the event one of our clients make a purchase, despite this being a common practice in the industry. We developed this philosophy for a variety of reason but it essentially boils down to our respect for all involved.