Fair Travel’s story: from traveller to travel company…
Travel defines who I am and I doubt there is anything that will ever stop me exploring the wonders of the world.
Having said that, I’m fully aware of the downside of tourism. Back in 1998 I was on my first backpacking journey around the world. Like so many others, I wanted to discover the authentic, genuine places of the world. Though I did experience wonderful things, the uncomfortable fact struck me that even the most beautiful places had in many ways already lost their soul.
This troubled me and began my efforts to get to grips with the issues of tourism.
During my travels, I saw that tourism is in many cases as a new form of colonialism. It takes what it needs and cares little about the consequences on the local economy, environment, culture, nature, animals and people. And it does all this for the sake of higher profits.
The more I travelled, the more this bothered me. I therefore decided to study tourism to get a bigger picture of it. Was everything focused only on financial profits? Was there anyone who cared about those who suffer from the destructive rampage of tourism? Were there perhaps ways to minimise the negative aspects of tourism, while promoting the positives?
Having studied and worked in the industry with various companies and people, I realised that there are those who share my views and are trying to do their best to make a change. I’ve also noticed that many are aware of the problems and talk about them, but in the end do little or nothing. Why? Why don’t consumers demand more? Why don’t suppliers show more respect? Why don’t we do more to try to change?
Underlying all these questions is one – far bigger – challenge.
How do we develop a sustainable and long-term model for an industry driven by volume and low margins?
Everywhere there are excuses. People say they don’t have the appropriate knowledge. A traveler who wants to travel more responsibly claims that he can’t afford it. A professor believes her ideas are the only ones that are correct and others are wrong. Those who are successful are not sufficiently transparent and less willing to share their knowledge.
Fair Travel is not based on theories gathered from books written by someone who claims to know it all, nor do I hide behind fancy words or claim that I know everything. I base everything on my own experiences and knowledge mixed with the core values of respect and empathy.
Through Fair Travel I dedicate my time to responsible tourism with the mission to challenge and change this industry for the better.
Founder and CEO of Fair Travel