Chris Way, co-founder of Reality Tours, takes us through his work with Smokey Tours in Manila and compares it with the challenges he faced in Dharavi:
'I’ve learned a lot during my time with Smokey Tours. It has been very interesting to help identify their main challenges and to compare these challenges with those that we have faced in India at Reality Tours.
As well as feeling completely safe, Smokey Mountain was not a depressing place to walk around; after visiting it for the first time, I came away with the feeling, just like when I visited Dharavi for the first time eight years previously, that this was a place worth showing to others.
Smokey Tours is an organization run by World Experience Philippines, a Filipino registered NGO. I got stuck into all areas of the tours side, both on the ground as well as the back office work. This included working with the tour leaders, implementing quality control procedures like questionnaires, updating bookkeeping systems and helping with management and overall strategy.
It has been great to be able to use the knowledge gained from Mumbai to help out at Smokey Tours. Juliette, as well as the tour leaders, has been very open to new ideas and suggestions, which made things very easy. I was initially there for 2.5 months, and have returned every year since for a similar time period to help out with similar tasks. It’s great to see the progress that Juliette and her team have made- tour numbers have gone up substantially every year and Smokey Tours has been #1 on Trip Advisor for some time now which is much deserved because of all their hard work and passion.'