I read an article the other day about supporting the local economy while you are travelling, and it got me thinking, what do I do to support local economies?
As you know I run art tours to Croatia. When my clients arrive at the Dubrovnik airport, I transfer them to Cavtat which is 3km away. Originally I had intended to have my students stay in Dubrovnik but with a group of 8-14 students, I would have had to stay in a hotel. Hotels are fine but not a true indication of the place you are staying in; living amoungst the locals always gives you a flavour of the local culture. I was lucky to find Miheala.
Mihaela Butijer is a young woman who runs a small travel agency in Cavtat. I had emailed several guesthouses and they all said they did not have 14 rooms…. Miheala, also did not have 14 rooms in her families guesthouse, however offered to place all my people in different guesthouses, in the same area. There is always a trust factor when working via the internet, despite that, Micheala turned out to be quite the find. I feel good about supporting Mihaela in her business, and by using her families guesthouse and her neighbours guesthouses, therefore supporting the local people.
Also through Mihaela I found Antonija Jokic. Antonija is our guide in Dubronik and she spends 2 hours showing us around. She is passionate about her city, as she is a true Dubrovnikian (is that a word?). Her guide work, continues to spread the historical relevance of Dubrovnik, as a stronghold throughout the centuries.
I had the same luck with the restaurants in Cavtat and Dubrovnik. A few emails had me reservations at 3 separate restaurants, Konoba Kolona, Taverna Galija, and Tavern Lokanda, all run by locals, who have never failed to provide amazing Croatian food.
Lumbarda, is a village of 1400, and their income mostly depends on tourism. This is where my dad lives and is my home away from home. This is where we spend 9 days of our tour and by the end of the tour, it has become a bit of a joke as I appear to be related to everyone we work with.
We stay and eat with Renci and Silvana Milina at Lovric Pansion, a guesthouse and restaurant combined; Loris and Tomi Milina Taxi Service drive us around the island; and we have a wine tasting at Frano Milina’s Winery, which is deemed the first organic winery in Lumbarda.
We support Robert Vegar Nakit (Jewellery); and Franica Botica Sculpture; as we travel around the island, we drink coffee and snack at the local cafe’s, and if available we go to the traditional Moreska Sword Dance in the evening.
All this contributes to the local economy and allows traditions such as jewellery, sculpture and dance to continue.
Take a minute and think about your last trip….ask yourself, when you travel, what do you do to support the locals?