“During my professional life as a tourist guide in Turkey, one thing has become very clear: Visitors do not like to be called “tourists” nor do they want to be treated as tourists. The idea of being a tourist has come to connote being taken to pre-arranged events, shops or locations where locals are well-experienced in dealing with foreigners, eliminating the possibility of spontaneous or sincere interaction with people. How can we change that?
You cannot ignore or miss major sights and museums, popular restaurants or shows but, while doing all those, we should add visits to local places that are off the beaten track and create opportunities to interact with locals, thus Cultural Interaction Programs.
This sets the frame of our tours.
It has been my experience with cultural interactions that travelers find most interesting questions to ask of the locals. For instance, while we were chatting with a whirling dervish after a ritual, one of our travelers asked him what the average RPM (revolution per minute) of a whirling dervish would be. When I arranged for a Q&A session with an imam at a small village mosque, another traveler asked the young imam how he would relate Islam, the religion of peace, with suicide bombers. More examples can surely be added.
Come and join one of our Cultural Interaction Programs.”