Keen towards sustainability
Join Top Tours is an Egyptian tour operator with its head office located in Cairo. Our agency has over 35 years of experience and we are members of IATA and ASTA. We deal with outgoing and incoming operations.
We offer different kind of tours, mainly within Egypt. From adventure trips in the desert or felucca on the Nile to historical trips visiting the pyramids. We offer customized trips and often create tours with a mix of relaxation and adventure. Besides our tours, and the quality we maintain, we are very keen towards sustainable tourism. Many of our staff members are trained online by Travelife as sustainability coordinators.
“We aim to increase the awareness of sustainability in all Egyptian destinations”
In this article
Good tourism in practice
We aim to increase the awareness of sustainability in all Egyptian destinations and to stimulate other tour operators and suppliers to do the same. Our goal is a better future for Egypt. One of our aims is to support others who really need help. We believe that in the tourism sector, we should do it in way it matches our business with a focus on happiness, education and society.
From the very beginning, we decided to support different kinds of people through organising free tours for orphans. It’s an annual event where we take 45 boys and girls between 7-10 years to learn and understand their Egyptian history and to be proud to be part of this great country.
Additionally, we also offset our carbon footprint by planting trees at our eco-lodge hotel (Qasr El Bagawat Eco Lodge Hotel) in the heart of the western desert of Egypt. We want to create a positive impact on the desert. From the start of our new lodge, we have planted around 400 trees inside our hotel. We also have plans to invite our clients to offset their own carbon footprint by joining us in planting more trees.
Doing good for both business and personal life
Our motivation is to work towards a sustainable tourism industry in our beloved country Egypt. With a population that exceeds 100 million people, we need sustainability to help this beautiful destination maintained for the future. We want to do this through implementing good tourism and providing a fair life for the locals. Doing good for both business and personal life is a great motivation. Especially when it’s related to each other inside the same mission and purpose.
“We want to stimulate other Egyptian tour operators to be sustainably certified”
Raising awareness for a better future
Our objectives and plans for good tourism in Egypt is mainly raising awareness for most (if not all) Egyptian touristic cities and nature areas about sustainability. To help them understand the meaning, the purpose, benefits and implementation. In addition, we also want to stimulate other Egyptian tour operators to be sustainably certified. For a better, sustainable future for tourism in Egypt we need to implement a real growth of awareness.
Providing a best practice for Egypt
The first step for success is, putting a plan into serious action within a clear period of time to improve your actions. This is exactly how Join Top Tours acted towards their mission of implementing sustainable tourism. Firstly, by giving our staff the opportunity to be trained online as sustainability coordinator. But also, through planning and reporting on our sustainability performance. Hopefully we’ll become the first official Travelife Certified tour operator in Egypt.
The El Miligi family (the owners of Join Top Tours) aim to provide Egypt with a real example of how to run a profitable business parallel to respecting and protecting the destination from negative tourism impact. We are not 100% sustainable yet, but we can reach a high percentage. We are proud of sustainability in our
- Carbon footprint offsetting plan
- Communication about sustainability to our clients to raise more awareness
- Internal management to save waste, energy and paper
- To contribute to the local community and environment the best way we can
Thereby, we are providing an example in the eco-lodges sector too. We built eco-lodge ‘Qasr El Bagawat Eco lodge Hotel’ in the heart of one of the most beautiful Kharga Oasis, located in the Western desert. It’s entirely made from pure materials from the desert itself, both the building construction materials as the furniture inside the lodge. We use water heaters on solar energy and try to save energy where possible. Our delicious style of food comes from our organic farm inside the hotel property.
Sustainable investment in the desert
It’s an additional action from Join Top Tours to stimulate others to also invest in the desert. Geographical and climate aspects give the Egyptian Western Desert a very hot summer. So, we need reconstruction and afforestation the slow down climate change. Thereby, by building a lodge in the desert, we contribute to more job opportunities for oases residents.
With its valuable historical, cultural and heritage sights, the desert is a unique highlight for Egypt for travellers to come and visit. By doing it sustainably, we can harmonize this without tampering with the natural desert.
“Involvement of official partners and organisations help us reach objectives faster”
What proved to be difficult
The main lessons we learned from our challenge towards a more sustainable tourism business, is that the involvement of official partners and organisations help us reach objectives faster. This is why we ask everyone who has an interest in good tourism, to help and join us increase sustainability awareness.
Especially in such a large country as Egypt, we are in need of support to increase the awareness of good tourism practices as quickly as possible. Even though, we faced a lot of obstacles throughout the way, we inevitably learned a lot of valuable lessons, such as:
Criteria for eco lodges
It wasn’t easy when we started in our destination, as no official criteria for Eco lodge Hotels existed. We took a long time to collect and study until we reached the right international criteria and conditions.
Building an actual eco lodge
The lack of knowhow of building eco-lodges, so it took a long time finding the team of workers who could understand our criteria and could also implement it. But in the end, we did have a big team of hard-working workers who did an excellent job.
Training locals in hospitality
Training locals to work in hospitality wasn’t always easy. Teaching them the proper way to serve our guests and to understand the meaning of sustainability was a challenge. But we have provided them with the opportunity of work, and they are very eager to learn.
Marketing off the beaten track destinations
As tour operator, we have taken the difficult mission to market off the beaten track destinations. By not only offering the highlights, it’s not always easy when being compared to operators promoting famous destinations such as Cairo and Luxor. Tourists want to see pyramids or Valleys of the kings and many other highlights in Egypt. But, besides that we are also offering them insight in the real Egypt. To create a better future for whole of Egypt.