Travel has the power to transform. It can raise awareness, connect communities and inspire activism, especially through charitable initiatives and wilderness preservation. And with the rise of ethical travel and forward-thinking ecotourism, travel’s transformative power is only set to increase. But how beneficial travel really is depends in large part on the traveller and the choices he or she makes. Steps as simple as carrying reusable bags and cups, choosing carbon-neutral methods of transport and ensuring the places you visit are committed to sustainable and ethical practice can all help make sure your trips benefit the environment and local communities.
The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation created as a joint initiative between the TTC family of brands, is committed to improving travel. Through local partnerships with like-minded communities around the globe and the implementation of considered sustainability goals across all 42 of The Travel Corporation’s family-owned brands, it is leading the charge against apathetic, exploitative or destructive tourism.
A wave of small changes
Now, the TreadRight Foundation is looking towards individual traveller education. As Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer, explains, “Small behavioural changes, when employed en masse, are how we make an impact.” This logic has increasingly dominated the wider sustainability conversation, especially in areas such as plant-based cooking and the use of recyclables over plastic. However, it has rarely been applied to the arena of travel.
That’s why TreadRight has launched a new video to promote their Make Travel Matter checklist and pledge to travel sustainably:
The protagonist of this video is none other than Sarain Fox, an indigenous Canadian activist, influencer and television host, who is TreadRight’s “People'' ambassador. Sarain focuses on the conversations and productive dialogues between her native and neighbouring settler communities. She is an expert at facilitating meaningful and positive interactions between societies and well-versed in promoting travel that is both sustainable and respectful.
“People generally assume that sustainable travel will dampen their experiences or make their vacation stressful,” Sarain tells us. “So, my goal is to inspire people with their own ways to make a positive impact.” TreadRight’s checklist does just that. It’s divided into four areas, each with unique checkpoints that correspond to different pillars of sustainable travel.
The TreadRight checklist
“Do Your Research” prompts the traveller to choose suitable experience providers and hotels. Prime examples include avoiding exploitative animal handlers, such as those of Thailand’s notorious elephant camps, or those safari guides who disturb wildlife in order to locate rare animals. Additionally, the checklist asks travellers to answer broader questions about destination choice and time of visit; is there a location on your wishlist in need of tourism—or would that location benefit from off-season footfall?
“Be Prepared” asks travellers to pack sustainably. Reusable water bottles, bags and toiletries take up little space in luggage but go a long way towards reducing waste. This is especially important in areas which might not have thorough recycling or waste management infrastructure in place.
“Tread Right While Travelling” focuses on behaviour whilst abroad. Respect local traditions, immerse yourself in the community of which you are now a part and pay fair prices for local goods. At the same time, be environmentally friendly: take shorter showers, regulate AC use, turn off lights and do not request superfluous sheet or towel changes.
And finally, “Upon Return” reflects on the aspect of travel few dwell on: the spreading of cultural learnings. In addition to a picture slideshow or a social media post showcasing the destination from which you’ve just returned, tell interested spectators about the wonderful culture you’ve just discovered and come to know. If you’ve been touched by the work of an organisation abroad, make plans to donate or volunteer.
On 2019’s World Tourism Day, Red Carnation Hotels took the #MakeTravelMatter Pledge. We are committed to sustainable travel, especially to facilitating sustainable travel for our guests. The next time you travel, consider the checklist and pledge to make your travel matter. Together, we will effect great change; for a trickle soon becomes a flood.
Red Carnation Hotels is committed to making travel matter, both in terms of sustainability and in terms of local empowerment.