Introducing Tanner Knorr from Off Season Adventures

tanner knorr off season adventures

Today’s Culture with Travel interview is with travel entrepreneur, Tanner Knorr, the founder of Off Season Adventures. Learn how a trip to Tanzania inspired the creation of Off Season Adventures.

Off Season Adventures is offering a $200 credit towards your first booking with us and $100 referral credit for each person you bring to us when they book a tour. So, don’t forget to tell your friends and make sure you mention Culture with Travel!

What inspired the creation of Off Season Adventures?

My first trip to Tanzania was in March 2015 through my Master’s program at Boston University. I immediately fell in love with the beauty of the people, natural landscape, and wildlife of the country, and I knew I had to create a way for others to experience Tanzania in a way that would help the local communities.

One of the safari guides from that tour kept in touch with me and we decided to create a partnership at the beginning of 2017. For the sustainability and local benefits piece of the business, I have drawn from research from both my Master’s program and from a class for which I was a teaching assistant at Harvard Extension School. The Harvard course is taught by Megan Epler Wood, a sustainable tourism researcher and guru, who compiled data from each major sector of the tourism industry in her book “Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet”. In her book, she gives pointed analysis to explain the tourism industry, it’s carbon impact, and solutions to make it sustainable. I drew heavily from this book, and will continue to do so, to analyze OSA’s impact.

We use a Tanzanian-based company to carbon offset all of our traveler’s carbon emissions from air flights and transfers, safari vehicles, and accommodations. Additionally, we save 2.5% of each traveler’s tour package price (5% for 2 people, 10% for 4, and 15% for 6+) and reinvest it into the local communities through tangible projects. These projects will focus on the direct needs of the communities surrounding the national parks and wildlife preserves, so that they feel the positive impacts of tourism. They will focus on water and waste management, electricity, education, health services, and wildlife protection. We hope to break ground on these projects in 2018. Finally, we pay our safari guides fair wages and try to exclusively use Tanzanian-owned accommodations to keep as much capital in the country as possible.

Tell us more about the tours/your packages you offer! What makes them unique?

OSA tours are completely customized for each traveler, so it all depends on the adventure you’d like to have! Do you want to trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro to say you’ve reached the highest point in Africa? Traverse through the national parks to spot big game and meet the local tribes? Relax on the beaches of Zanzibar? Or a happy combination of all three? We can do it all. Nothing is pre-packaged because no traveler is the same. Most people are interested in the wildlife like lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, cheetahs, etc., and all of these animals can be found in Tanzania year round.

There’s no wonder why Tanzania was voted the #1 safari destination in Africa by SafariBookings.com in 2017. It truly has it all and I wish for everyone to experience the wonder of Tanzania.

How do you think travelers can travel more sustainably? What efforts would you like to see from the travel industry to make this more of a focal point?

We can all travel more sustainably by focusing on each impacting action we take before and during our travels. How am I getting to the destination? How am I going to travel within that destination? Which activities am I choosing to do? Are they locally owned and operated? What kind of food am I choosing to eat? Is it locally grown and produced? Which tour operator am I going with? Are they focused on minimizing and offsetting the impacts of their tours?

Unfortunately, I see this burden laying squarely on individual travelers and tour operators until uniform regulations are created at an international and national level. The travel industry is a huge, inter-connected, multi-national force with tremendous reach. Because of this, for example, while there may be regulations set in the country of any given destination to manage impacts on the ground, there may not be regulations in place for the transportation to that country. There are several truly worrisome things when we look at the bigger picture of the tourism industry, but someday we will obtain sustainability through education, training, economics, and regulations. Until then, we must focus on our individual choices and make sure our voices are heard.

Why do you personally love to travel? Share a story (or two) about trips that made an impact on you.

Travel has opened my eyes to different ways of looking at myself and at the world around me. Whether it’s in our own backyard, or half way around the world, we can learn something new about ourselves, others, and the natural and physical worlds. Travel has always been this way for me– you can learn so much by seeing how people live across the globe.

There are so many wonderful things I’ve done in Tanzania, that it is hard to pin down just one live-impacting story. Jumping with the Maasai or experiencing the creation of beautiful jewelry from nothing but scrap metal by the Datoga– these are both top experiences. But, the first time I descended into the Ngorongoro Crater took my breath away. Going down one of the few roads into the Crater, you are pitched at what has to be a 20 degree decline and you feel like you’re about to fall out of your seat. While you can’t see any animals from the top, slowly and surely, you begin to see creatures come into focus as you creep slowly down the caldera. Before you know it, you see herds of zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, elephants, flocks of birds, and so many other animals. Because of the permanent water source in the Crater, there is a year round supply of unique wildlife. And you realize, you are not of their world. They live amongst themselves and are more or less oblivious to you. But in that small instant, you become a part of and connected to and immersed in everything around you. That is travel to me.

As a travel entrepreneur, what mark are you hoping to leave in the world?

I hope to expand Off Season Adventures to many countries in Africa and across the globe. I believe there is a mutually-beneficial market and supply for off season travel. The off season provides strong economic benefits to the local communities and a wonderful experience for travelers without the crowds, the high costs, or compromising the adventure.

I see many countries where my business could go to make a difference– that is my primary objective– to make a positive impact for the people living around and within tourism destinations. I am creating for myself a seat at the table to discuss sustainable tourism so that I can eventually make a bigger difference on a national and international level.

Off Season Adventures is offering a $200 credit towards your first booking with us and $100 referral credit for each person you bring to us when they book a tour. So, don’t forget to tell your friends and make sure you mention Culture with Travel!

Learn more about Off Season Adventures on the website, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor and Twitter

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