We all love an adventure to a different country and what could be better than helping the planet as we travel?
Sustainable travel isn’t necessarily about eco-lodges, luxury hotels and big budgets. You can travel sustainably wherever you go, it’s simply about changing your mindset.
Travel entrepreneur, Kelley Louise’s passion for storytelling and social good, led to her founding Impact Travel Alliance, a global travel community and nonprofit organisation focused on empowering travellers to experience the world mindfully, whilst protecting local communities and the environment.
We met Kelley in New York to talk about ways in which we can all travel sustainably.
My name is Kelley and I’m the founder and executive director of Impact Travel Alliance. Impact Travel Alliance is a global community and non-profit and we teach travellers how to spend their money mindfully so that they have a positive impact on the destination that they’re visiting, so our vision as a whole is to improve the world through something as universally appealing as travel.
Sustainable travel is travel that has a positive impact on the economy, the environment and the community of a destination. Sustainability is a lifestyle, it’s also a journey, it’s not like you wake up one day and everything just clicks and you’re able to do a 180 in your life it’s about all these little decisions that you’re making on a day-to-day basis, and so if you look at sustainable tourism as just a way of living and how you interact with the world around you, you can be an explorer in your own backyard as well, and so thinking about how you can implement sustainability into all components of your life and I think that that starts small often we especially right now thinking about changes that we can make there’s so many people who are talking about skipping a plastic straw or decreasing your carbon footprint because of how much single-use plastic you’re using, that’s one little step that you can make and that makes five more steps that much easier when you continue on that journey.
I just got back from Norway earlier this year and we went in the winter and I never thought that I would go to northern Norway in the winter but it was absolutely one of the most magical experiences of my life. We went up to visit a community of indigenous Sami reindeer herders and we worked with a company called Visit Natives and they worked directly, it’s a community based tourism project, and so they work directly with the locals to ensure that tourism dollars are going toward good and having a positive impact on the local people, in the local environment and it was such a special way to connect with a family and live side by side with them and have this really deep understanding of what it takes to live in harmony with nature in northern Norway.
It’s funny the stereotypes that people have with sustainable tourism they think it’s only luxury tourism or it’s only about eco lodges in the middle of nowhere and I think the more that we can reshape our understanding of what sustainability looks like and look at it through the lens of a style of travel that can be applied to any type of there’s a lot of power within that.