30 Jun

Sustainable Travel International: Promoting an Industry Norm for Eco-Tourism

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 12.00.07 PMSustainable Travel International is built off the understanding that humans are a nomadic species. People are driven by a need for recreation, contemplation, connection, reflection, and curiosity, all of which have also inspired the greatest of history’s geographers. Travel and tourism is the world’s largest industry but it has enormous and unsustainable impact on energy, water, land and food use.

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Sustainable Travel International believes that people’s inherent wanderlust, their desire for new experiences and concern for the places they care for most can inspire the protection of the world’s natural and cultural bounty as well as generate economic opportunity in destinations that rely on visitors.

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Since 2002 Sustainable Travel International has been charting a new course for travel and tourism — one that leads to a healthier environment, greater economic opportunity, social justice and the protection of natural and cultural resources. Sustainable Travel International tries to build collaboration and a collective road map so that all the relevant players, from government ministries, to businesses and community leaders and travelers have a clear path toward change. In destinations around the world, they are bringing people together and equipping them with the tools, support and guidance they need to become change agents, empowered to protect the places they call home.

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Sustainable Travel International features a unique Impact Monitoring System, an open-source tool that is unlike other reporting or monitoring programs because it allows for tourism and travel destinations and businesses to reliably monitor and report their progress on sustainability-related indicators. The tourism industry could follow in the footsteps of food, fashion and other sectors that have made significant strides toward corporate responsibility and accountability through the widespread adoption of the system. The industry would be able to protect the resources on which businesses and destinations depend while remaining relevant, competitive and attractive to the large and growing consumer segment that values transparency and accountability.

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Sustainable travel mechanisms and monitoring are crucial in an age of increasing globalization and mobility. The spirit of Geography and exploration can continue to expand alongside efforts to ensure the protection of our world’s resources and the livelihood of communities.

Written by: Christopher Ewell, AGS Intern on June 30, 2015

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