THE EYE OF THE VAGABOND - Traveleyes, discoveries beyond sight
Founded by blind entrepreneur Amar Latif, Traveleyes is the world’s first commercial tour operator providing independent travel for people who are blind or partially sighted. Traveleyes connect visually impaired and sighted travellers to help them see the world together.
How did Traveleyes start?
Our founder and director Amar Latif, who is 95% blind, wanted to travel the world. He was a high profiled account with BT (British Telecom) and every company he tried to travel with said he had to bring a carer. Amar is extremely independent and thought ‘I don’t need a carer, I just need a companion’. After travelling with friends and family he started to wonder if other people are in the same situation, other vision impaired travellers who are having to ask friends and family to travel with them because no company will let them book on independently. So Amar decided to start Traveleyes.
What services and experiences do you provide to visually impaired travellers ?
We provide visually impaired travellers the chance to book a group holiday completely independently. We guarantee one to one guiding and we have 15 years’ experience in tailor making holidays to be sensory experiences e.g. Lemon cello tasting in Sorrento, touching models of the Terracotta Warriors before visiting the real things and in the past we have even secured a touch tour of the Guggenheim museum whilst it was closed the public.
How sighted people can also benefit from your trips ?
Not only can our sighted travellers enjoy the same things as our VI travellers, I mean who doesn’t like a cold bit of Lemon Cello and hot Italian summer day? Our sighted travellers are also encouraged to experience the world in a different way. I was tour leading a group in Myanmar and we were in a Buddhist temple, one of our VI travellers was on his hands and knees feeling the intricate mosaic flooring, next to him, his sighted guide, doing exactly the same, taking the time to explore the world with more than just your eyes.
How do you come up with travel itineraries ?
We have a fantastic team that put our brochure together, our dream makers. We look at popular destinations, off the beaten track trips, activity adventures, short city breaks the works. Our team often do reconnaissance trips to check out locations but not to see if they are suitable for VI traveller, just to see if its worth travelling too because we don’t limit our VI travellers, if any of our travellers want to stay in Yurts in Mongolia or camp out over night in the UAE, we will make it happen.
What are your new destinations for 2019 ?
We have loads available in our new brochure and on our website. We have activity trips like kayaking and whitewater rafting in the French Alps and Tandem Cycling across Thailand. For those looking to relax with a bit of history we have Sorrento with a visit to Pompeii and Lemon Cello tasting. We then have discovery trips like Orlando and Miami, exploring the theme park capital of the world before heading for some fun in the sun in Miami.