PEPY Tours – development education experiences for young people in Cambodia and Nepal

Ayana Journeys – handcrafted travel for culturally curious minds

How Ayana Journeys came to manage PEPY Tours in Cambodia

Our founding team has all been involved with PEPY Tours, the social enterprise, and PEPY, the educational NGO, in various capacities and for many years. Yut was the first to join PEPY Tours as a guide back in 2009, shortly after acquiring his temple guide license. Sarah joined PEPY Tours to support with communications, in 2011, and then progressed to becoming their General Manager for some time. Meanwhile, I first learned about PEPY Tours whilst working with an international responsible tourism awards program, of which PEPY Tours had been recognised the previous year. Inspired by the model of using tourism to support social development, I joined PEPY in 2013.

Over time, Yut, Sarah, and I shared our passion for PEPY Tours’ philosophy and style of travel. Having all come from various backgrounds in responsible tourism, we all wholeheartedly believed in the power of travel as a tool for education. We could all see amazing growth opportunities for educational travel in markets we hadn’t explored under PEPY Tours, and held ideas of tours we as yet hadn’t seen anyone else offering. We all had stories of life-changing adventures and travel experiences that had helped shaped the people we had become. It was a dream of each of us to one day own a company that shared these amazing experiences with like-minded travellers from around the world.

Both PEPY and PEPY Tours are wonderful organisations because they are continually evolving to improve themselves. In 2014, the NGO had just gone through a transition from being an internationally-led project to registering in Cambodia and being fully managed by Khmers for Khmers. Likewise, PEPY Tours was at a crossroads, and whilst its future was a little uncertain, enhancing management at ground level was the intended way forward. Yut, Sarah, and I seized the chance to localize PEPY Tours in a similar way the NGO had, and suggested setting up a new local tour company (PEPY Tours is registered in the US) to absorb the management of PEPY Tours educational adventures, and also offer new experiences we had been fantasising about! We were thrilled that with the support of Daniela, the founder of PEPY Tours, this transition took place smoothly.

Same same but different

Today, PEPY Tours for us is more than just the name of a company, but is a clearly defined educational style of travel. Learning journeys that create meaningful connections between students and inspiring organisations, projects, and people in development. These educational adventures specialise in development education, and are mostly aimed at young people such as a school and university students. For participants booking through PEPY Tours, the experiences remain the same, with the same unique development curriculum, and the trips continue to support community development through the fundraising trip payment model. Same values, style, team, but new behind the scenes management structure.

If you’re looking for a learning adventure in Cambodia, please read more about our Educational Journeys.

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