wenty years ago today, I launched a travel company to change the world. Little did I realise that the challenges facing the world in 2021 would be unrecognisable from those I saw in 2001.
I had no idea that the morality of flying would become a dinner table topic; that travel itself would lose much of its meaning in the age of social media; or that the entire industry would grind to a halt two decades later. On a personal level, I never imagined I would barely travel for five years due to kidney failure.
Responsible Travel was founded on a simple idea: that an industry which accounted for 10 per cent of jobs worldwide – that could lift people out of poverty and relied on pristine environments and diverse cultures for its success – had vast potential to be a force for good. Our marketing premise, based on my own travels, was that tourism that benefits local people and places leads to much richer experiences too.
With my co-founder Harold Goodwin, our hope was that “responsible” would become to travel what “organic” was to food; a recognised category presenting travellers with a conscious choice that would then positively influence others in tourism…