FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Tour Operators with Diverse Backgrounds Enhance the Travel Experience

by Lavanya Sunkara

Apr 5, 2024

PHOTO: © USA GUIDED TOURS, LLC

March 2024

Travel can have a profound impact on individuals and the destinations they visit. It connects us to various histories, cultures, people, cuisines and experiences whether we venture far from home or to a neighboring state. It becomes even more enriching when it is organized and guided by those with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences.

“As a Colombian American, I’ve navigated two distinct cultures, integrating this unique perspective into every itinerary we design,” said Katalina Mayorga, CEO, El Camino Travel, a platform for female travelers based in Washington, D.C. The company offers small-group trips to Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua and more. Mayorga said the Immersive Morocco trip remains among her favorites for its deep cultural immersion. “Activities like basket weaving in the Draa Valley and touring local artists’ studios are particularly special, as they allow travelers to experience the rich traditions and creative spirit of Morocco intimately.”

Sunit Sanghrajka, president and founder, Alluring Africa — a Florida-based tour operator offering bespoke itineraries in Africa — is a Kenya native. He speaks Swahili and understands the culture and ways of life. His network consists of people he’s known since grade school to the present who are passionate about sustainability and conservation. Since its inception, Alluring Africa has focused on collaborating with partners on the ground who are socially responsible, community-focused and sustainable. “That involves putting people first, and then the other components like wildlife and conservation efforts fall into place,” he said.

“When you take away the human survival need by providing opportunity, the animals and conservancy are seen as a benefit,” he added. “It’s a direct positive correlation. That’s definitely something I’m familiar with growing up in Kenya.” Alluring Africa’s Impact Itineraries, such as Cornerstone of Africa: Cultures & Communities, and Empowering Women in East Africa, allow travelers to see the benefits of their tourism dollars first-hand.

PHOTO: © USA GUIDED TOURS, LLC

CEO and founder of USA Guided Tours, LLC Rauf Shakir, a New York native living in Virginia, takes pride in his offerings, including the African American History and Culture Bus Tour. “Upon moving to Washington, D.C., I was captivated by its rich history and the city’s atmosphere of excellence, particularly among young African-American professionals,” Shakir said.

Shakir began his career in the hospitality industry as a hotel bellman, then became a driver and guide for a tour company. It was there he took every opportunity to showcase the city’s rich African- American history, along with its monuments and memorials. Shakir launched USA Guided Tours, LLC in 2013, servicing the nation’s capital, New York City and Boston. “Establishing our tour company, I felt it crucial, as a Black- and minority-owned business, to showcase the full history of D.C. and the other side of the city that [is] not usually seen or shown to visitors.”

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