Sustainable is a word we see around a lot right now as we move to create less of a negative impact on our world and the people in it. I feel lucky to I work in an industry that has a great capacity to aid in the efforts of sustainability. Last year, the UN declared 2017 the year of Sustainable Travel.
The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability - economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued - UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Taking this to heart, Virtuoso Chairman & CEO Matthew Unchurch spent this past year visiting Virtuoso Sustainable Properties such as The Brando in Tahiti. A company wide effort has been launched to educate all of our advisors on how we can best support sustainable travel. On a personal level, I am very proud to work for a company that wants to use our influence to create meaningful experiences done in a positive way for the local people AND the planet AND the traveler.
As a Traveler you might be wondering, what makes your vacation a sustainable travel experience. Our Sustainable Travel Partners adhere to the 3 pillars of sustainable travel.
3 Pillars of Sustainable Travel
1. Travel that is environmentally friendly (reduce, reuse, recycle)
2.Travel that supports the protection of cultural and natural heritage (restoring historic buildings or saving endangered species)
3. Travel that supports the economy and social well being of the people in the places we visit. (ranging from upholding the rights of indigenous peoples to supporting fair wages for employees)
There were more than one billion international travelers last year – I believe that provides a billion opportunities to make the world a better place, safeguarding the world's cultural and natural treasures for future generations. Look for upcoming features on some of the leaders in the Sustainable Travel movement.
When you contact me to plan your next Virtuoso travel experience, consider taking a look at how luxury, comfort, and fun can all be achieved in a sustainable fashion.
For now I must dash. Talk soon!
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, the overwhelming need to see the world. I think it’s always been a part of me - as it has been with many of us. However, there are a few notable early memories of intense wanderlust around the age of 6. The call was sounded and fueled by a fascination of Alaska - stemming from my love of White Fang and Balto. Thanks to Dorothy Jane Torkelson my sights expanded to Paris and The Secret Garden created a longing for both India and old English estates. It really just snowballed from there. Every movie, book, and thought I had was of traveling the world.
When I turned 18, I promptly jumped out of a plane to fulfill a promise to myself and began planning my first solo trip as a graduation gift to myself.
I explored the giants of Sequoia National Park, the hills of San Francisco, and the fish markets of Seattle. I had no experience with the logistics of travel and this trip provided me with a great crash course.
Lesson #1 - Not all airports are full of people 24 hours a day like the Atlanta airport. I ingrained this into my mind as I attempted to sleep on an abandoned airport bench.
Lesson #2 - Book tours in advance. I did not get to see any whales.
Lesson #3 - Hostels are cool but bring some flip flops (a lesson we all learn quickly).
Critical Lesson: Just go.
I survived and came home wiser and bolder. Years later I can still remember this trip as one of my all time favorites despite the missteps. It was the declaration of my independence and proof that I could do it.
Save for a few besties from middle school days, all of my favorite people have been acquired in the pursuit of travel. Whether it was spending an epic summer together drinking wine under the Tuscan sun, getting to know families who grew up on different sides of the Berlin Wall, or discussing the development of global citizenship, the desire to experience the world has driven every step of my life.
Perhaps you don’t think you need a Travel Advisor. After all you can research online for hours to find hidden gems on the multitude of travel blogs and book an awesome looking AirBnB. Sometimes this works and sometimes you are left in a foreign country where you don’t know the language with 3 different AirBnBs canceling on you last minute and sleeping under a bush to hide from the security that keeps telling you to move along (at least you assume that’s what they were saying). Maybe that hidden gem from the random travel blog was indeed a hidden gem, that cost you a few extra hundred dollars to get there and back leaving you hungry for the remainder of your trip. Maybe it all worked out and was completely lovely. I hope this is the case for you. After many years of penny pinching traveling I’ve finally come to realize that I don’t have to sacrifice culture for comfort. I can have both.
My goal as a Travel Advisor is to open up luxury experiences to those seeking a deeper cultural immersion as well as add culture and insight to those previously focused solely on soft bed linens. As I embark on this endeavor I hope you will follow along with me. I’ll offer tips, yes just like those other travel blogs, which you can take and use as you wish. After all, I want you to have the richest most fulfilling experience of your life and I’d love it if you returned home in one piece so you can repeat the process.
Must dash. The road is calling. Talk soon!
HOLLY MANN: As an Independent Contractor of Vista Travel Consultants, Inc. a member of the Virtuoso Network, my access to the highest quality of vetted global travel partners allows me to create rich, culturally immersive, and liberating travel experiences.