In our collective experience, we have yet to meet a group of travelers that does not want to shop a little. Some like to shop a lot. There are a number of ways to satisfy this interest and if it is requested, our staff can help make shopping arrangements. You can always shop on your own at times that do not jeopardize the program.
In our opinion, however, shopping raises specific issues of moral responsibility. Commercial tour companies routinely make money from your shopping. So do commercial guides and drivers. Usually this practice is covert. Backroom deals are a form of anti-competitive business practice, are dishonest and make shopping and traveling more expensive for you. In effect, this is a hidden cost of travel. SBS considers this practice inappropriate and does not participate in it. Our instructors, drivers, guides and SBS itself refuse to take commissions.
Second, in some environments, such as Palestine, an already stressed economy is further exacerbated by the practices of the souvenir cartels that concentrate capital into a few hands and engage in anti-competitive business practices. SBS avoids such cartels. We promote socially responsible shopping at co-ops and non-profit foundations[VS6] that market goods produced by local artisans. At such places, money is distributed more fairly, evenly and horizontally throughout the economy. We encourage people to shop at Christian institutions where the sale of hand made items supports the mission of the institution. We appreciate your understanding of our posture on shopping.