Travel For Good

John Speers, 

March 19, 2020

“Travel for good means travelling for the right reasons towards the betterment of ourselves and the people and environment we come into contact with.”

Sustainability in travel has been discussed for decades. In 1972, the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment examined the challenge of preserving and enhancing our environment. It was an issue rearing its head then, well before travel exploded.

 

International tourists increased from 25 million globally in 1950 to 1.4 billion in 2018, two years ahead of the World Tourism Organization’s long-term forecasts.

 

The United Nations in 1987 published the definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. There have been many different definitions since, but we cannot deny these future generations the education and benefits travel provides – sharing the beauty of countries and cultures and finding our common humanity. Practically speaking, travel and tourism generates over 10% of global GDP, employs 1 in 10 people and is growing faster than the rest of the global economy. It would be a travesty for these benefits and economy to disappear. We must maintain and develop it, but for the right outcome.

 

Travel for Good means travelling for the right reasons towards the betterment of ourselves and the people and environment we come into contact with. If we can’t do this then I personally believe we simply shouldn’t travel. In a world of increasing disparity, we can come closer through travel and by doing so generate and distribute both empathy and wealth to those needing it most.

 

In the past 50 years we’ve seen over-tourism, cultures diluted, environments degraded, mass transportation and built structures gulping fossil fuels and water to accommodate travellers. And we’ve seen nothing yet. You’ve heard or can imagine the growth projections.

 

In September 2019, HRH The Duke of Sussex launched Travalyst “to pave a new way to travel so that everyone can explore the world in a way that ensures cultures, places and wildlife are unharmed and secured for many generations to come.” Many key organisations including Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa are now on board.

 

In an effort to add to this momentum, in this edition we illustrate the actions that people and organisations large and small are taking today. We have asked our fellows in the travel industry for the single best action with tangible results already underway to positive effect.

 

We say enough of the talking, and not enough of the action, so we celebrate and highlight these fantastic initiatives to hopefully inspire EVERYONE involved in travel to accelerate, kickstart or enhance their own initiatives. The alternative just doesn’t bear thinking about.

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