Sustainable Travel Needs Agent Support

Recent events have shown us how fragile our world is — and how we need to work to protect it By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2017 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2017 TravelAge West

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Read about Chile’s unique destinations in this issue's cover story.

In this issue’s cover story, “The Many Faces of Chile” (page 18), we take a look at one of the most diverse and beautiful destinations in the world. With more than 3,700 miles of coastline, the Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, a great wine country and the rugged wilderness of Patagonia, Chile has been blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. But this blessing comes with the responsibility to sustain and protect these special places. Fortunately, Chile’s tourism leaders understand the importance of their role — as you can read in the story, sustainability is a central part of the destination’s tourism strategy. 

In recent weeks, we have seen that our natural treasures are more precarious than we like to think about. But, in the years ahead, more travelers will consider the fragility of our world and will want to avoid contributing to its destruction.

With this in mind, a group of organizations recently announced that they are teaming up to increase accessibility and awareness of sustainable tourism. Travel+SocialGood (TSG) is joining Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Sustainable Travel International, Center for Responsible Travel and Tourism Cares to present the 2017 TSG Summit this Nov. 16-17 in New York City.

The TSG team is also developing a “primer” to easily showcase sustainability options to consumers. The goal is to empower travelers with tools to think critically about a business’ efforts in sustainable management and its impact on a destination’s local economy, environment and cultural heritage. 

“While many travelers want to travel sustainably, they don’t always know how,” said Kelley Louise, executive director of TSG. “We want to make these resources simple and easily available to all.”

This is a worthy effort, as well as a forward-looking step in a world that seems to be getting more volatile and fragile by the day. As crucial stakeholders in the tourism industry, travel agents should support grassroots sustainability efforts like this one. Our industry promotes visiting national treasures, so it only makes sense that we should be leading the effort to protect them as well.

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