The 2017 Sustainable Travel Summithosted by
Immersion Travel Magazine
- Event Sponsors -
- Supported by: -
United Nations World Tourism Organization
- Schedule -
Sustainable Travel & Why it Matters
Preparing for Sustainable Destinations
Ditching the Tourist Trail
Keeping Things Authentic
- Companies & Organizations -
Crooked Trails is an educational non-profit organization, helping people broaden their understanding of the impact of travel on the world’s cultures and ecosystems through educational outreach, community development and sustainable travel programs. Crooked Trails offers immersive travel programs built around the ethics of sustainable travel in support of indigenous peoples around the world. We only collaborate with communities that have personally invited us, and community members choose and develop the projects we work on locally. Our travelers provide funding and labor assistance, and as a non-profit organization, we also raise funds for additional support.
Curious On Tanzania
Curious on Tanzania is a social traveling company that provides Tanzanian experiences with a local's touch. We help you discover, plan and book customized intimate, meaningful experiences with a local touch.
GivingWay is a FREE online social platform that connects worldwide travelers and grassroots organizations seeking volunteers in a simple and direct manner. In an industry heavily dominated by expensive middlemen, GivingWay believes volunteering should be accessible to all and is leveling the playing field by cutting out all agents and agent fees. With more than 450 active organizations from over 60 countries worldwide, GivingWay makes it possible for even the most remote of organizations to be found by international volunteers. As a social impact company, GivingWay believes that by enabling direct dialog between volunteers and organizations, the matching of skills and needs is enhanced and the impact to all involved is maximized. Through GivingWay’s social platform, both nonprofits and volunteers can make use of easy-to-use online tools to help them in the volunteering process. Volunteers can directly communicate with nonprofits, with fellow volunteers, offer their online skills to organizations worldwide and more!
Greenloons is committed to providing trusted, transparent information about authentic, responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations available around the world. Our goal is to make it easy to directly connect travelers with meaningful, unique and awesome travel experiences by working with eco-certified guiding companies and sustainable tourism accommodation owners that have been independently verified as focusing on the triple bottom line of economic viability, social empowerment and environmental responsibility.
Travel+SocialGood is a global community and nonprofit aimed at solving issues like poverty or inequality through business and leisure travel. Our goal is to mainstream sustainable tourism. Formed in partnership with +SocialGood, a UN Foundation initiative, we look to the Global Goals for inspiration for the potential of the industry. Learn more or get involved at www.travelsocialgood.org.
Km Zero Tours
Km Zero Tours is a small boutique travel company based in the beautiful Chianti region in Tuscany. We believe in slow, sustainable travel and love creating meaningful and immersive travel experiences aimed at discovering the authentic cultural and culinary heritage of our Tuscan region. We support and value the amazing craft and talent of passionate local farmers and artists, who deeply respect and love their land with its ancient flavours and deep-rooted traditions, and who are willing to share it with new visitors and friends.
Local Expeditions is a sharing economy tour company focused on local, sustainable travel. Locals design their own walking, hiking, biking and public transportation tours. We allow a maximum of ten customers on all of our tours so the experience is intimate and has low negative impact on our neighborhoods. Most tours address history, culture, environment, local sights, eateries and shops. Each tour gives 5% back to the community via a non-profit of the Guide’s choice. The Guide makes 80% of the earnings and the remaining 15% goes back into Local Expeditions to sustain the company. Currently, most tours are in Brooklyn and Manhattan, but we are planning to move into several major United States cities soon.
GeoSure is a start up in the global safety information space. We’re disrupting travel safety data and innovating safety awareness, worldwide. Using smart data, predictive analytics and shared insights from the international travel community, GeoSure informs, empowers and engages. We’re solving problems including destination uncertainty, generalized travel safety information and apprehension of less familiar geographies. In today’s travel ecosystem, destination awareness enriches and expands every dimension of the travel experience.
Pebble Magazine is a new sustainable lifestyle portal that covers food, fashion, travel and design - all with an ethical or eco edge. We look at the issues as well as the inspiring people and projects that are changing the world for the better. We believe positive stories have never been more important, and we aspire to live up to our hashtag #pebblesmakeripples.
Pack for a Purpose
There is need everywhere in the world; however, it is sometimes difficult to identify specific needs in places far from home. We believe people fortunate enough to travel to other countries often wish they could make meaningful contributions to help meet the needs of the places they visit. Such contributions are one way of expressing appreciation for the experiences and hospitality they enjoyed in other lands. Our goal is to assist travelers who want to say thank you in this manner or who simply want to expand their generosity beyond their own communities. The supply lists for destinations on our website are provided directly by the local community-based projects that receive and use the supplies, enabling travelers to make informed decisions and to take items that meet the needs of those who will be using them.
Go Eat Give
Go Eat Give is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cross-cultural connection and understanding through global service, community education and international travel. Go Eat Give offers unique international vacations featuring authentic, immersive experiences with local people, cultures and cuisines. By partnering with community organizations abroad, Go Eat Give raises global awareness of important issues and provides meaningful support to local nonprofits, including orphanages, schools, health centers, food programs, and women’s empowerment centers. They also organize cultural awareness events including Destination Dinners, Cooking Classes and Speaker Series to engage diverse communities in their own neighborhoods.
Cobblesstone Freeway Tours
Every road that is paved with cobblestones, has for centuries, connected people from various walks of life. In days gone by, villagers and pedlars travelled along cobblestones to bring their wares into town to sell at the markets. When people left the old world to pursue their dreams in a new land, they left their villages and travelled through towns on the same cobblestone roads that exist today.
Now, our travellers journey along a cobblestone roads through medieval city centres, historical cultural sites and then follow these cobblestone paths out of the city - into the countryside, to the villages, where folklore and cultural traditions have been preserved and still live on in ways that remained unchanged for ages uncountable.
A cobblestone road is slow and bumpy - but a freeway is fast and modern. Our tours combine the best of the old world with the comforts of the new!
We are an international team hailing from all over the world, joined by our passion for experiential travel and social impact. We are building the world's leading platform for engagement with nonprofits and other impactful organizations ("Orgs"), allowing millions of users to discover, support and interact with organizations both virtually and in-person. We make socially conscious travel easy, fun and accessible. Orgs register with us, and we ensure their tours meet our vetting criteria. We feature only the best culturally immersive, impactful activities out there. Travelers add half or multi-day experiences to their itinerary and have an off-the-beaten path adventure they can feel good about. Our technology allows partner orgs to participate in the new global economy, and tour revenue is invested back into the local community.
Papilia provides companies and individuals with customized cross-cultural leadership and international etiquette training or coaching to help you succeed in any professional or personal setting. For the business or leisure traveler, we prepare you with a personalized itinerary inclusive of a packing list, pertinent culture information, unique experiences and shopping advice designed to maximize your trip experience.
Be aware. Feel empowered. Enjoy every second of your life.
Kind Traveler, a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), is the first digital “Give + Get" hotel booking platform to transform travelers into a financial force that benefits the wellbeing of communities, the environment and animals. Travelers give a small donation to a local or global charity; as a reward, they get an exclusive rate to book directly with the world’s best hotels and unique properties. 100% of the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform go directly to charities.
Operation Groundswell is a non-profit organization that offers travel, community service, and educational experiences around the world. Their programs are intentionally designed to uncover the intricacies and on-the-ground realities of each region they go to. With ethical travel at the crux of their philosophy, they always work in partnership with local non-profits and charities on community-requested projects to ensure true sustainability. Operation Groundswell's aim is to build a community of "backpacktivists" that are socially, environmentally, and politically aware of their impact in the communities they travel to and live in.
Lokal is a booking platform for local, sustainable, adventure travel around the globe. From canoe trips in Costa Rican rainforest lagoons to week-long treks with Himalayan communities of Nepal, we offer a wide range of active and culturally immersive experiences for curious travelers.
Sustainable Travel International
At Sustainable Travel International, we believe that people’s inherent wanderlust, their desire for new experiences and concern for the places they care for most can inspire the protection of the world’s natural and cultural bounty and generate economic opportunity in destinations that rely on visitors.
Since 2002, we have been charting a new course for travel and tourism — one that leads to a healthier environment, greater economic opportunity, social justice and the protection of natural and cultural resources.
League of Kitchens
The League of Kitchens is an immersive culinary adventure in New York City where immigrants teach intimate cooking workshops in their homes, and participants encounter a new culture, cuisine, and neighborhood with every experience. Each workshop offers opportunities for culinary learning and discovery, cultural engagement and exchange, meaningful connection and social interaction, and exceptional eating and drinking. Through this experience, we seek to build cross-cultural connection and understanding and increase access to traditional cooking knowledge.
Nomad Traveler is an online marketplace bringing carefully selected travel goods “with a conscience” and sustainable tourism-related content onto one platform. It offers easy access to ecofriendly, socially responsible and animal friendly travel gear and resources that empower travelers to have a positive impact on the world they’re exploring. When you shop at Nomad Traveler, you also plant trees and give back to refugees.
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
Global Sustainable Tourism Council
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is independent and neutral, serving the important role of managing its global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. It is mostly a volunteer organization. Financial support from donations, sponsorship, and membership fees are critical to our own sustainability.
- Speakers -
Principle of Kind Communications; Author of A Traveling Life
Brianne is a Boston-based freelance writer and travel blogger with a strong interest in promoting responsible travel. She is the principal of Kind Communications, and her blog, A Traveling Life, focuses on how to balance a professional career with a life of travel.
Co-Founder of Crooked Trails
Chris Mackay has dedicated her life to working and volunteering in environmental education, community development and eco-tourism. Chris’ love of international travel and her concern about the negative effects of tourism on culture and environment, led her to co-found Crooked Trails in 1998. Crooked Trails is a non-profit, community based tourism organization based in Seattle, WA dedicated to offering clients a way to “travel with a purpose." Chris holds an MA in Natural Science Education and a BA in Geography and Biology. Chris’ ability to engage and impassion her audience has led to speaking engagements at clubs, international conferences, bookstores, universities and schools.
Dominique is a freelance travel writer originally from Sacramento, California. She lived in Spain for two years, where she became fluent in Spanish and traveled extensively through the country. Dominique and her husband made Mexico City their home in 2016 after falling in love with all the city has to offer - the music, the culture and especially the food. She is currently working on two books. The first - a guide to practicing responsible tourism in Mexico City for travelers who are passing by. And the second - a compilation of tips and information for other expats who wish to practice a more sustainable way of living in Mexico City.
Journalist, Editor and Founder of Pebble Magazine
Having the desire and need to travel has been with me as long as I can remember. I lived in a few different countries growing up and headed off to Australia and New Zealand on a gap year as soon as I was 18. After editing various magazines, I was lucky enough to be able to move into travel journalism, writing for various newspapers and magazines all over the world. Since then I've been slowly ticking off my long bucket list of countries. I love anywhere in Asia (the food and the colourful street markets especially), and I'm a big fan of the Scandi countries' way of life. I've had some pretty unusual experiences along the way, from swimming with whale sharks in Djiboutii, dog sledding on the Finnish-Russian border and practising yoga up a mountain in Aspen.
Founder and CEO of GivingWay
A lawyer by profession, Orit practiced commercial law for over a decade. Founding the GivingWay network was a natural continuation of Orit's interest in international volunteering; an interest stemming from the year she spent volunteering on the Thai-Burma border back in 19-... well, a long time ago.
Founder of Greenloons
Irene specializes in developing sustainable tourism products, marketing strategies, return on investment (ROI) benchmarking models, and community development tactics for tourism boards and individual businesses. She is a regular, featured writer for the Huffington Post among other media outlets and a featured speaker on ecotourism strategies, challenges and issues. She has presented at the George Washington University, the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and for the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. She is also the only person in the United States who can certify a green travel destination, accommodation or event under the internationally-accredited Biosphere label.
Founder of Echidna Walkabout Tours; Koala Researcher
Janine is one of Australia's best wildlife guides, a world-award-winning tour operator, koala researcher and educator. She started the not for profit charity Koala Clancy Foundation in 2015 with a mission to inspire travellers and local communities to help ensure a future for wild koalas. She advises on wild koala tree-planting and research projects. Well-travelled in her own country and overseas, Janine’s favorite places in Australia are East Gippsland – a wild, forested region to the far east of Melbourne; the You Yangs and Brisbane Ranges; Mungo and north-west Victoria; and Darwin, Mary River and Kakadu, Northern Territory.
Author of Flavors of Life
Jessica Lipowski is the author of Flavors of Life (2016), a non-fiction book detailing the life stories of 62 entrepreneurs from 41 different countries. Regardless of origin or background, one thing unites these people: all own a restaurant in Amsterdam. Jessica, originally from Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of Michigan State University, moved to the Netherlands in February 2011. With previous journalistic work published on 10Best.com (part of USAToday), and in The Washington Times, she is now an author. The book, in combination with Jessica’s past work experience, travels and life as an expat, has enabled her to view food, travel and culture through a different lens.
Founder of Amazing Perspective
Juania Owens is a federal government financial and data consultant for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the founder of Amazing Perspective, a storytelling media platform created to examine the stories, challenges and triumphs of influential brands, thought leaders and ideas that shape our perspectives and how we live our daily lives. She travels regularly to new destinations around the globe immersing herself in local cultures to gain and share fresh perspectives on what it means to live a meaningful life. She also hosts events and moderates and speaks on panels related to positive psychology, women empowerment and unique experiences that enrich our lives. Her goal is to enable people to re-envision their lives in terms of possibilities, opportunities and attainable goals.
Executive Director of Travel+SocialGood and The Culture Collective
A travel entrepreneur passionate about storytelling and social good, Kelley Louise runs two sister organizations: the Culture Collective (http://the-culture.co/), a boutique creative agency for brands in the travel and impact space, and Travel+SocialGood (http://travelsocialgood.org/), a nonprofit aimed at solving issues like poverty or inequality through business and leisure travel. Kelley has built her career through carefully selected opportunities in the United States and abroad, including leadership roles in entrepreneurial endeavors, social good projects, content creation and media strategy. Kelley holds a BA in Media and Culture from The New School.
Founder and CEO of Local Expeditions
A resident of Brooklyn for 15 years and Manhattan for 15 years before that, Nancy Blaine can finally call herself a New Yorker. She had a 26 year career in college book publishing working for major educational publishers like McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin and Oxford University Press. In that time she was an anthropology editor, a history editor and even an engineering editor. A lifetime of learning and travel provided the impetus for Local Expeditions. Every time Nancy found herself on a business trip in another college town, she wondered what the real locals were up to. She is also an Airbnb superhost and a fan of the sharing economy business model.
Megan Epler Wood
Principal of EplerWood International; Sustainable Travel Expert; Author; Director
Megan Epler Wood is the author of the new book, Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet. She is the Director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, where she leads an international research program on tools to mitigate tourism’s growing global impacts. She is also launching a new program on sustainable tourism at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in 2017, and she is Principal of EplerWood International, which has raised millions of dollars of investment for sustainably designed tourism and community development projects in over 20 countries working with USAID, the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. She founded The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990 and was its CEO through 2002.
CEO of GeoSure
Entrepreneur and investor, Michael Becker co-founded GeoSure in 2013 to help solve increasing problems for organizations and travelers with scaled, geo-location safety quantification tools. He also founded Broadsword Partners and TruefortTSG and has led numerous private investments. He also co-founded the environmental non-profit, Blue Nomad Foundation. Michael earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and is a mountaineer, adventurer and has traveled extensively to experience the remote parts of the world.
Author of Roaming the Americas
Naomi Liz is the coffee-loving, crazy-about-Latin-America girl behind Roaming the Americas, a travel blog that helps people plan responsible travel to engage with culture, support local communities and protect the environment. A small-town girl from Maine, transplanted to the Philadelphia area, she's been traipsing around Latin America for the past 15 years whenever she's had the chance… and forever chasing her elusive goal of becoming fluent in Spanish.
Founder of Pack for a Purpose
Rebecca took her first overseas trip at age 11 and never looked back. In her 67 years, she has visited 48 countries and 7 continents. She and her husband Scott were married in Antarctica. On their second trip to Botswana in 2002, Rebecca had the opportunity to make use of the extra space in her luggage to take needed supplies for the local school. After informally “Packing for a Purpose" from 2002 through 2008, she formally founded Pack for a Purpose in 2009. With the help of amazing volunteers and interns, this all-volunteer nonprofit has grown into a recognized global brand. Pack for a Purpose’s mission is to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. In the 7 years since its inception, Pack for a Purpose travelers have taken over 73,387 kgs (161,450 lbs) of supplies meeting essential needs in over 60 countries .
Founder of Go Eat Give; Author of Beato Goes To
Sucheta Rawal is an award-winning food and travel writer, cooking instructor and philanthropist. Originally from India, Sucheta started discovering the world when she moved to the United States at the age of seventeen. She graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor's and master's in finance. Sucheta worked at UPS, ING and Gallup, before transitioning into a career in travel and food. She founded Go Eat Give to raise awareness of global cultures through meaningful travel, good eating and community interaction. Sucheta is the recipient of “most influential bloggers on culture in the world" awards.
Founder and CEO of Outlier Public Relations
After years of working in the fitness industry, Natasha Linton launched OUTLIER PUBLIC RELATIONS, a New York City based boutique PR and digital marketing agency for travel and lifestyle brands. In the fitness world, Natasha established her brand and personality among big brands such as Reebok, Men's Fitness and Hint Water. Media outlets such as FITNESS Magazine, Oxygen Cable Network, WPIX Morning News LIVE, New York Newsday, Livestrong.com, Vital Juice, Heart & Soul Magazine, OnFitness Magazine, HUMANFITPROJECT and Blog Talk Radio have recognized Natasha as the advisor on a variety of fitness and wellness topics. Taking on the challenge to start Outlier PR, where she has developed a wide variety of publicity and digital media campaigns and formed strategic partnerships with global brands, was a natural transition after establishing her fitness company among select media and companies.
Founder of Papilia and Culture Etiquette Expert
Sophia is an international development professional, Founder of Papilia and culture etiquette expert. Her desire for creating global impact has taken her to over 30 countries, working with international and local clients on contracts upwards of $500 million. The concept for Papilia was born out of a passion for travel and curiosity to experience culture in a mindful and responsible way. As an avid traveler, she spent hours researching cultural nuances and etiquette to ensure she would feel confident and comfortable in any business or leisure setting. She soon found a client base who identified with the same issues she experienced. Sophia has combined her personal and professional experiences to develop customized cross cultural communication trainings for clientele who want to build confidence, influence their audience and set themselves apart from their competition.
Founder and CEO of Kind Traveler
Jessica Blotter is a journalist, speaker, advocate for the greater good, and CEO & Cofounder of Kind Traveler, the first Give + Get hotel booking platform that transforms travelers into a force for good that benefits communities, animals and the environment. The moment she discovered that the love of travel couldn't be separated from the state of the world on a trip to Belize in 2012, her four-year journey to create Kind Traveler began.
As a journalist with a heart for travel, sustainability, social impact and animal welfare, she has had articles published in Fast Company, CBS Los Angeles, Hospitality Design, One Green Planet, Green Lodging News, Spa Finder, Darling Magazine, Examiner, Destination Luxury and the BLLA (Boutique Lodging & Lifestyle Association). As a speaker, she’s presented on the stages of TEDx Culver City and regularly contributes to hospitality associations and travel events. Through her accomplishments with Kind Traveler, Blotter has been featured in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle and more.
When she’s not curating kindness with Kind Traveler, she is a dedicated yogi, loves spending time in the wildlands of her Topanga backyard and tries to keep up with the requests of her seven rescue animals.
World Traveler and Offbeat Travel Expert
Explorer. Educator. Thrill-seeker. Addict for sandals, twenty-dollar Padron cigars, and free no-wifi zones. A journey to the rural beaches of Nicaragua's pacific coast turned Kevin's perception of the world inside out, and he's been chasing that feeling of freedom ever since. An adventure & culture travel enthusiast with a taste for exotic street food, ancient ruins, and indulging in native customs, he enjoys nothing more than good conversations with local people in faraway lands. Forever on the lookout for opportunities to get off the beaten path, his travels have led him on expeditions through chunks of Central & South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. An east coast native who currently resides in Washington, D.C, he spends his free time digging for new music while fantasizing about leading the Boston Celtics to their 18th NBA title. His stories have been published in the Washington Post, Immersion Travel Magazine, GoNomad, InTravel Magazine,Transitions Abroad, Travelers Tales, BestTravelWriting.com, and a collection of his work can be found on his website, K’Ataraxia.com.
Justine Abigail Yu
Communications and Marketing Director for Operation Groundswell
Justine Abigail Yu is a communications and marketing strategist for the social impact space, where she’s worked with organizations operating in North and Central America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. She’s currently the Communications and Marketing Director for Operation Groundswell, and is also a freelance writer whose work has been published in Makeshift Magazine, the African Business Journal and Metro News Canada.
Founder of Planeta.com; Responsible Travel Expert
Ron Mader is one of the pioneers on the web, making the most of online communication and collaboration among colleagues around the world. He launched Planeta.com in 1994 as the Web's first website focusing on ecotourism, responsible travel and conscious travel. Ron is the catalyst behind Planeta's online tentpole events - Responsible Travel Week (February) and Indigenous Peoples Week (August), which have been known for playing nicely with others. Ron is a self-described superfan of local events around the globe and amplifies coverage of events as distinct as New Zealand’s NetHui and the World Heritage Committee meeting. Of particular interest in 2017 is the coverage and questions for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. For the Sustainable Travel Summit, Ron intends to walk (and bike) the talk in downtown Las Vegas.
Founder of Lokal
An entrepreneur and filmmaker, Eytan’s past work has taken him through Central America, South America, Europe and parts of Africa. It’s those experiences that made him realize what a privilege it is to see the world – and it’s this type of adventure that drives his work. Prior to Lokal, he co-founded iSeeiTravel media, directed an award-winning documentary about rainforest conservation in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and earned an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Founder of Lokal
Director and photographer Marco completed his first feature documentary film 2.5% The Osa Peninsula in 2015. He is currently directing his second documentary Safe Zone about Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and has lived in Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, Costa Rica and Peru. He works with organizations including UNICEF, the New York City based Robin Hood Foundation, the Community Coalition in Los Angeles, and is co-founder of iSeeiTravel Media and Lokal Travel.
Editor at Family Travel
For more than 25 years, Ethan has been a freelance writer, editor, communications strategist, content marketing consultant and translator for projects focused on travel, culture and education. He specializes in family travel, responsible and sustainable travel practices, keeping things local, and quality and relevance in publishing and destination marketing. He is the editorial director of the Family Travel Association and his written work, including as a Lonely Planet author, AFAR Ambassador and Huffington Post blogger, has appeared (credited and uncredited) in dozens of magazines and websites. At present he is more than eight months and nine countries into a year of world travel with his wife and two young sons.
Project Coordinator at Canada-UNDP
Jennifer is the Project Coordinator for the Canada-UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Facility. This project promotes cooperation and shares experiences between six developing countries all engaged in activities to address climate change impacts. Jennifer has been working with the United Nations Development Programme since 2008 in the area of climate change adaptation. Her work has focused on helping developing countries address the changing climatic conditions – from drought and floods to changing rainfall patterns and sea level rise. With a passion for exploring and discovering different cultures, she has extensive experience traveling, working and living abroad.
CEO, Sustainable Travel International
Geoff leads Sustainable Travel International’s global efforts, partnering with governments, companies, NGOs and communities to combat threats such as environmental degradation, over consumption, and economic inequality. Geoff joined Sustainable Travel International in January 2016 as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. His background includes more than 25 years of management, business development, and strategic planning on a global scale in both the non-profit and private sectors. He has held multiple leadership roles with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), leading all commercial development for the Americas region, then running all aspects of U.S. operations. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Freelance Travel Writer
Originally from Florence Italy, Giulia has been living in NYC for the past 7 years, where she works as a Marketing Manager for a luxury design company. She loves languages and travels as often as she can. She has published articles about her adventures in Immersion Travel Magazine.
Freelance Travel Writer
In the frenzy of the year 1999, or what we knew then as Y2K, I got caught in the whirlwind of new year resolutions and I said, “If the world doesn’t end, then I shall visit at least one new place every year for the rest of my life.” And so the world didn’t end, and my adventures began. From the depths of DRC, to climbing Mount Kenya, to exploring the wonders of Mauritius, I realised travel was my high. I moved to the UK for a year and discovered the beauty of England from the accents of Scotland, to the football games in Cardiff. I enjoyed the french concerts at the base of the Eiffel Tower, the gorgeous beaches of Corfu and the not-so-life-size statue of Manneken Pis. The smells of India took me to Mumbai and Goa and I promised myself that I would return one fine day to explore my roots.
My Adventures have brought me back to Kenya, where a whole other world awaits. With my love for the travel industry, I discovered some of the most joyous and beautiful places on this continent: Maasai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli, Diani and countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Zanzibar. My story has just begun.
Founder, Bites of Boston Food Tours
Massachusetts native Alyssa (Daigle) Schoenfeld graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a BS in Neuroscience in 1999. After working in clinical research and medical device manufacturing in and around Boston for a few years following graduation, Alyssa transitioned into sales of scientific products as a Life Science Specialist. In 2007, Alyssa accepted a position to cover the Pacific Northwest and moved to Seattle. It was in Seattle that Alyssa first discovered a local food tour while looking for fun and interesting ways to entertain out-of-town guests. Having always been passionate about local food, travel and urban community, Alyssa instantly fell in love with the concept of food tourism. Eager to try something new after nearly 10 years in sales, Alyssa moved back to Boston and founded Bites of Boston Food Tours in 2011. She has been offering walking food tours in Boston’s South End for the past 5 years and is excited to expand the company’s tour offerings to include other Boston neighborhoods in 2017.
Chief Executive Officer, Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Randy Durband has had two careers in travel and tourism – twenty-plus years in senior leadership positions at some of the finest U.S. tour operators, having served as President for Travcoa, INTRAV, and Clipper Cruise Lines, (brands within TUI Travel plc), plus Executive Vice President of Tauck World Discovery. Following that, in his second travel and tourism career, Randy advanced the work of Sustainable Tourism as an advisor, consultant and speaker. He brings his knowledge of the business of travel, his global network of travel professionals, and a passion for sustainability to support the GSTC and the general sustainable tourism movement. He has held several board positions and committee memberships in travel and tourism organizations, and is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism issues.
Rosemary & Claire
Founders, Authentic Food Quest
Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger are co-founders of Authentic Food Quest. Their goal is to inspire you to travel through food and explore the local flavors. They believe travelers can have deeper connections with a destination and people by opening up to the local tastes and flavors.
In 2015, they traded in their corporate jobs to eat their way around the world. Traveling slow for 6 months at a time, they explored the local flavors of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru in South America. Their quest continued to Southeast Asia to discover the local specialties of the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
On their website, you will find tips on how to travel through food and explore the local flavors.
Julie-Ann & Jane
Founders, Nomad Traveler
Jade Charpentier and Julie-Ann Ouellet are the founders of Nomad Traveler. After roaming the world full time for many years as self-employed travelers and volunteers, Jade and Julie-Ann discovered how their horizons had broadened. They fell in love with life, the world and its people, and have been in search of different ways to make a positive impact ever since. This project is their way of taking action for people to see that more compassionate alternatives exist in terms of travel and can be easily accessible.
Founder, Soul Travel Blog
Former hotelier turned travel blogger, Ellie is the founder of Soul Travel Blog, a blog that looks to turn travel into a win-win equation: benefiting the destination, as well as the traveller. Ellie is always on the lookout for the next sustainable or responsible hotel, tour company or destination to share with her readers.
After 5 years working in the hotel industry in her hometown of London, UK, Ellie moved to the Netherlands to work for Booking dot com from 2010-2016. There she headed up their Global Accounts team, managing relationships and contracting with major international hotel chains.
In 2016 the call to do something related to responsible travel became impossible to resist. Since July 2016 Ellie has been location independent. Alongside running the award-winning Soul Travel Blog, Ellie works as a freelance writer and consultant for sustainable travel brands. When not travelling or writing about travel, Ellie enjoys yoga, a good book, and scenic train journeys.
Co-Founder of Ayana Journeys
Amy has a decade-long background in responsible tourism, with experience in the UK, India, Malaysia, and Cambodia. She has led sustainability campaigns that have received international recognition, such as the World Responsible Tourism Awards and WTTC's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. She is Co-Founder of Ayana Journeys in Cambodia, a specialist educational travel company, that aims to provide more responsible alternatives to traditional service learning experiences, and focuses instead on meaningful learning journeys. Last year, Ayana was a Finalist in the Global Youth Travel Awards for Best Social Responsibility Initiative, recognised for its commitment to contributing to social impact projects across the Kingdom of Wonder. Ayana is also one of the first tour operators to gain ChildSafe Certified status, and is a huge advocate for the protection of children in tourism; providing trainings and experiences that critically examine the impacts of voluntourism.