On The Road To Global Citizenship
Travel has always mattered, but perhaps not quite the way you first thought.
WORDS JEREMY DRAKE
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We don’t travel out of wanderlust or to seek out insta-worthy experiences.
We go places because unlike anything else we can do, it opens our eyes to the challenges that people and our environment face outside our own bubble. Travel is our lens on the inequality, poverty, environmental degradation and indifference that exists right around the world. It forms part of our journey to becoming global citizens.
When you first meet Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC) and Adventure World Travel, you can tell right away she’s already one of those global citizens. Striving for a better world.
Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer for The Travel Corporation.
Visit the Fundación Proyecto Tití eco experience within Adventure World Travel's new Wild Colombia itinerary.
She leads the TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit created as a joint initiative between TTC’s family of brands. Their mission is to help us all understand that where and how we travel, matters. To show us that we can have an impact on the people and communities we visit, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet. Guihan grew up as a sea kayak guide on the wild and rugged Atlantic coastline of Newfoundland in Canada, which must make every job since then seem like a breeze.
She is excited about the future of the travel industry, and despite spending most of last year at home, she and the Foundation continued their focus on shifting travellers’ financial mindset when it came to travel experiences.
“It’s ensuring that you’re [travelling] with an organisation that's working behind the scenes in perhaps a less flashy capacity than others, but importantly to really try and shift the way our industry works.”
“We’d been focused about sustainability at our offices, we were talking about the way we use resources as a company and how we operate, and that naturally brought us to our actual travel experiences and the way we engage with local communities,” Guihan says.
“So we took the framework for the 11 United Nations Global Goals and we built a set of criteria… and so now, for Adventure World Travel or any of the TTC family of brands, our experiences have all been qualified through a proprietary tool, based on criteria reviewed and endorsed by the UNWTO, by Harvard professors and by the Future of Tourism Coalition.”
Introducing the new MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Journeys, by Adventure World Travel.
This new series of conscious travel itineraries are based on the positive social and environmental impact they have on local communities. Each experience in the itineraries are vetted against the MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® criteria and are continuously reviewed. Most importantly they provide travellers with confidence when they’re booking; an assurance that these once in a lifetime experiences haven’t just been given gold stickers of endorsement without any real rigour or careful consideration.
“It’s ensuring that you’re [travelling] with an organisation that's working behind the scenes in perhaps a less flashy capacity than others, but importantly to really try and shift the way our industry works,” Guihan says.
Rosamira Guillen (Centre) and Dr Anne Savage founded Fundación Proyecto Tití Colombia in 2004.
Broken up across three categories - Wildlife, Cultural & Planet - these new small group adventures with a maximum of just 12 per group span right across the global compass.
From the Okavango Delta in Botswana to the wild dry forests of northern Colombia, the new trips (with departures in the second half of 2022) will be a powerful way to help restore both traveller confidence as well as much needed financial support for the local communities who have been decimated by the global tourism downturn.
The cotton-top Tamarin is an endagered primate weighing just 500 grams in the tropical dry forests of northern Colombia.
One MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience within the new Wild Colombia itinerary is a captivating and hands-on visit to the Fundación Proyecto Tití, which was co-founded by Rosamira Guillen and Dr Anne Savage in 2004.
At the centre of this incredible experience is the cotton-top Tamarin, a primate weighing just 500 grams which lives only in the tropical dry forests of northern Colombia.
“Colombia is a megadiverse country, its wildlife diversity is second only to Brazil. With so much wildlife and wild places in our country, staying just in an urban area means missing the opportunity to experience and enjoy all sorts of different ecosystems,” Guillen says.
Guillen says the operations at Proyecto Tití had to stop when the pandemic struck, but she looks forward to welcoming back travellers in 2022 as they’re so integral to how her Foundation finds new support (and funding).
Watch this video about Rosamira Guillen and Proyecto Titi
Take for example the 3-night stay in Bantu Boutique Hotel within Cartagena’s colonial walled city. It combines 18th century architecture with cutting edge design. Contrast this against Corocora Camp, an exclusive luxury tented camp located on a private reserve filled with wildlife.
When travelling does become possible again, Guilhan implores us to recognise the impact of the choices we make.
“I think that the message to Australian and New Zealanders, when you can finally travel again, is to be mindful about what you do with your wallet, because it has incredible power to shift commerce and support progress going forward,” she says.
“The Make Travel Matter Journeys are both a really inspiring and wonderful way to get back to travel. Just do it as soon as you can, which is certainly my plan.”
Bantu Boutique Hotel is within Cartagena’s colonial walled city and combines 18th century architecture with cutting edge design.
A suite at Bantu Boutique Hotel in Cartagena's walled city.
Corocora Camp on the Wild Colombia itinerary is a luxury tented camp on a private reserve filled with wildlife.