• Deb Lace-Kelly

Why is Collaboration Important in Sustainable Travel?


Don't be an Island!

We love islands! But we should not be islands in sustainable travel. The expression: A rising tide lifts all boats (and its meaning) could not be more true than in sustainability and sustainable tourism.


Collaboration makes a difference. Joining forces in partnership with various sustainable travel organizations, to support and promote each other, strengthens the whole ecosystem of sustainable travel. Collaboration grows this movement.


Who Should Collaborate in Sustainable Travel?

So who should collaborate within the sustainable tourism industry? - tour guides

- local restaurants

- farms, ranches, fisheries

- inns and guest houses

- writers, photographers, crafters, artists, and storytellers

- parks and gardens

- wellness travel providers

- educators

- conservation centres

- local theatres and musicians

- outdoor activity providers

- naturalist and conservation groups

- sustainable transportation providers


Everyone with the like-minded goal of creating a healthier planet with happier people, through travel.


Think of sustainable travel like a natural ecosystem. Just as biodiversity is strongest when its organisms grow with each other, supporting each other, so does sustainable travel.


If you operate a local tour company, with local guides, then you benefit from including some locally run restaurants on your tour. An off the beaten track, family run pizzeria for example, offers your guests an authentic, unique experience. If that pizzeria sources its ingredients from locally run farms or fisheries, then that benefits local producers. If that farm talks about, and promotes local artisans and craftspeople, then farmers' and crafts markets become a wonderful central event - made better by diversity of products. This then becomes another great stop for your locally run tour company!


The possibilities and growth potential here are endless. Local restaurants can support small locally run inns, and vice versa, by promoting each other, and sharing news and events with each other's customers. Both can support local artists by displaying their work, for another example. Artists can support local cultural events by including diverse histories, those that include all peoples. Authentic Indigenous experiences can be shared and promoted at local galleries. Those Indigenous events can include references to local bike share programs as ways to reach the events. Fall Fairs can promote next Winter's locally organized snowshoe tour.


Why Collaborate in Sustainable Travel?

Big tourist conglomerates, major hotel chains, huge tour companies have the budgets and corporate weight to forge in to a place, take over, and run things regardless of the impact on the environment, local people, local economy, local culture and history. They don't collaborate because profit for some removed head office, wherever that is, is the only goal.


Where thriving local people, culture, history, and authentic travel experiences are the goal - that's where collaboration is key. This is where collaboration is fun! This is where collaboration creates strength. This is how sustainable travel grows.


Mutually supporting other sustainable, locally run travel organizations in your area leads to a strengthened network of activities, accommodations, food, transportation and conservation. This only makes a place more inviting to travellers! We all want to experience a vibrant, sharing community, and learning about one place while we're enjoying the other, is a great way to keep travellers coming back.


Don't be an island in sustainable travel. Take your family restaurant, local tour company, guest house, local theatre, cultural dance group, guided fishing trips, and find ways to connect with and support other local travel and tourism organizations.

Then watch each other grow!


Thank you TrainingAid

TrainingAid is an independent education hub, fellow member, and supporter of the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). TrainingAid recently invited me to share my journey into travel, and together we talked about the importance of collaboration in sustainable travel. TrainingAid published this profile story on collaboration, sustainability, and The Lost Compass, for which I'm grateful.


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