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Sustainable Tourism: Becoming an Agent of Positive Change

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and Global Family Travels is excited to share the news that the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is launching a consumer-oriented campaign aimed at raising awareness of the value and contribution that sustainable tourism can make towards development.

The ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ campaign (see video) encourages us to be agents of positive change. The campaign reminds tourists “Whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: respect nature, respect culture, and respect your host. You can be the change you want to see in the world. You can be an ambassador for a better future.” (UNWTO Secretary-General) #travelenjoyrespect

Global Family Travels fully endorses this campaign through its mission to provide travel opportunities to Learn, Serve and Immerse, thereby fostering cross-cultural understanding and global citizenship. We believe that responsible and respectful travel should allow for authentic engagement and collaboration with the communities we visit, and to understand and support their needs by creating inclusive and equitable economic opportunities that still preserves their culture. ​

Tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth, and currently accounts for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. It contributes to nearly all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) via its impacts on fighting poverty, promoting decent jobs, improving gender equality and the livelihoods of young people or the fight against climate change. With access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, the global labor force, particularly youth and women, benefit from enhanced skills and professional development.

At Global Family Travels, our trips support many UNSDGs, such as quality education and gender equality, and feature a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, home-stays and participation in local service projects aimed at directly improving the lives of people in the communities we visit. We organize these sustainable travel opportunities in partnership with community-based tour operators, schools, and local and global non-profit organizations. As we shared in a recent blog, these global partnerships play an important role in sustainable tourism and successful economic development and protecting our planet.

Whether it is supporting a community conservation and educational project in Zimbabwe, building a soccer field in Nicaragua, or working at a Panda Preserve in China, we provide plenty of age-appropriate ways for everyone in the family to give back. Our travelers also have the chance to become immersed in the culture of the destination by experiencing daily life with locals. Many of our trips include a home-stay with a local family, or the opportunity to cook a meal with our hosts to learn about their cultural traditions. These immersive experiences allow participants to learn from each other in ways that will open their hearts and minds to a greater awareness that we are all connected. Responsible travel must respect the people who are our hosts, their culture and the places we visit.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far go together.” If engaging with and empowering people in communities resonates with you and your family, Global Family Travels provides a range of tours through which you can play a part in making a positive and sustainable impact and supporting partners who do good work in our global community!

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