AMAR Latif plunged into unchartered territory when he started Traveleyes, the only holiday company whose trips open up new worlds for travellers by pairing those who can’t see with those who can.
Yet since 2005 thousands of blind and visually impaired people have seized the chance of its sensory and sociable trips to discover places where once access for them was off limits.
Now thanks to entrepreneur Latif if they fancy rambling along the spiralling paths of Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel high among the Peruvian Andes, they can.
And should they choose a Traveleyes trip to Swaziland there they will find lion cubs they can pet, or if Athens is more their thing then a memorable moment is in store when they stroke the Parthenon’s cool marble, a specially organised encounter not available generally to tourists.
Traveleyes’ initial trial of two European trips uncovered a pent-up demand and ever since it has steadily expanded to its current tally of 60 destinations worldwide.
Growth reached 25 per cent last year and turnover is forecast to be £5 million by 2020 for the business whose founding one-to-one guiding concept has a win-win clarity at its core.
Latif, a former accountant with BT who lost his sight after developing the condition retinitis pigmentosa when he was 18, explains:
“I was told by mainstream companies I couldn’t travel the world unless a carer came too and for more active holidays I was refused outright.
“But blind people have the same desires as everyone else. In fact they are often more adventurous and keen to give things a go.