Context walking seminars provide a responsible alternative to traditional tours. Their network of scholars are specialists in fields that include archaeology, art history, architecture and cuisine. Walks last anywhere from three hours to all day and provide an in-depth alternative to traditional tours. Context’s walking seminars are much more than a typical walking tour. Working in small groups (6 person max) lead by professors and specialists rather than tour guides, their walks help the intellectually adventurous traveler understand and investigate on a deeper level.
According to their website, Context’s mission includes the following:
“In an age of Disneyland and Club Med, we are dedicated to the experience of real places. We are committed to the character of these places: their built environment, cultural heritage, and living fabric. Through didactic walking seminars, we aim to bring together the traveler and these cities in a manner beneficial to both.
Mass tourism has a corrosive effect on monuments, museums, and cultures. Context adheres to the principles of sustainable tourism, as elucidated by the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter and the National Geographic Society’s Geotourism Charter. A portion of our profits, coupled with donations from our clients, is directed toward cultural preservation initiatives in each of the cities where we operate.
…Our walking seminars, which are limited to six participants, provide an intimate alternative to traditional tours. We emphasize in-depth conversation, much like a seminar class in a small, liberal arts college. So, for example, our clients in Rome might have the opportunity to spend four hours picking through the ruins of the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum with a professor of classics at an American university. Or, our clients in Paris might have a chance to spend half a day studying how city planner Barron Von Haussmann transformed the city with a graduate student writing her Ph.D. dissertation on exactly that topic. All of these experiences form the context of the journey.”