There has been a strong trend in our industry over the last 18 months or so to more sustainable travel. Cruise lines are eliminating single-use plastics, hotels are sourcing more from local suppliers and there are literally hundreds of better practices being employed to reduce the footprint our travel can leave behind. Travel Corp, who have nearly 30 brands under their umbrella, including Uniworld River Cruises, and Red Carnation Hotels, set up The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working to ensure the environment and communities we all visit remain vibrant for generations to come.
This is a trend J5Travel is committed to support. As we are finishing up our packing for Africa, where "treading right" is so important, we'd like to inform you that from January, our website will be updated to reflect our own giving back and will feature sustainable travel suppliers who are leading in this practice.
Top 5 - G Adventures, Don't Just See the World, Make it Better
"We get back what we put in. You just have to believe that what you’re doing is important, that it’s worth the effort, and you’re doing it for reasons other than just to make money."
– Bruce Poon Tip, Founder, G Adventures
1. Bruce (above)
Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of adventure travel company and now social enterprise G Adventures. Following a transformational backpacking trip to Asia, Bruce had an idea to change the face of travel. At the age of 22, on two maxed-out credit cards, he started a small-group adventure company that would bridge the divide between backpacking and mainstream travel to give travellers the opportunity to foster meaningful connections with local communities.
Passionate about travel’s power to change the world for the better, Bruce has become a global leader on social entrepreneurship, leadership, immersive travel, and innovation.
He has addressed the United Nations and the World Bank, spoken at the headquarters of Apple and Google, and delivered keynote speeches at TED events and entrepreneurship conferences around the world. In 2016 Bruce was honoured with an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. If you're interested in an inspirational travel book, check out Bruce's second book, "Do Big Small Things".
2. Company culture
I pretty much want to steal G Adventures mission statement, especially as they have 5 core values: We Love Changing People’s Lives, Lead With Service, Embrace the Bizarre, Create Happiness & Community, and Do the Right Thing.
From a Complete Iceland trip (above), to a Peru tour that will teach you how the country's nearly 4,000 varieties of potatoes (below) are being preserved, I trust G Adventures to stick to their values.
3. For Good
G Adventures for Good projects are community development initiatives sponsored and supported by the company and implemented by their not for-profit partners, the Planeterra Foundation. Experiences at these initiatives are built into G Adventures tour itineraries, connecting the projects to an existing customer base and helping them become self-sustaining enterprises. By next year, over 90% of G Adventures travellers will be connected to these vital community initiatives, and even more lives will be impacted.
Just one example of such a project:
Since 2015, G Adventures has been working with Wiwa community leaders in Sierra Nevada, Colombia, to identify economic opportunities in communities along the Lost City trekking route (above). A new community enterprise along the trail has led to a much-needed tourism boost. The Wiwa have a strong desire for tourism that upholds their cultural values and that’s exactly what travellers get from this new touring business launched in early 2018, located just outside a Wiwa village. 100 locals are directly employed by this project.
4. Jane Goodall
The Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures is a selection of incredible wildlife-centric tours in the world’s most remarkable destinations. Featuring 20 small-group adventures, this collection brings curious travellers into close contact with the planet’s most fascinating creatures in a manner that respects their freedom. This collection, like all their tours, upholds a rigid Animal Welfare Policy and it means you get to step deeper into the animal kingdom while respecting all of its subjects. If I had to pick my favorite option, I'd go with experience Borneo and the chance to get up close with orangutans (above).
5. Responsible Travel
As we all know, Planet Earth is an amazing place, but it’s far from perfect. Since their inception, G Adventures has operated with the belief that travel is an exchange, not a commodity. When you travel with them, you’re giving back as much, if not more, than what you take away, and often in ways you’d never expect. For instance, connecting curious travellers with Indigenous communities is an essential part of many tours (above and below) and they are committed to respecting the rights, history, and culture of Indigenous people while ensuring that tourism supports their well-being.
It may be a long way off, but I do personally aim to be riding a horse with nomads in Mongolia on a G Adventures trip, possibly in 2021.
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