Inspired by the Palau Pledge, an initiative whereby travellers have to sign an eco-pledge promising to act in an environmentally responsible way upon entering the country, The Travel Corporation and The TreadRight Foundation have introduced the Make Travel Matter Pledge.
Coinciding with World Tourism Day, representatives from its local and global offices gathered in Toronto on on Friday (Sept. 27) to celebrate and share the new official pledge centred on helping protect people, the planet and wildlife.
“This came about from the First Lady of Palau and learning about her pledge that was made a year ago and just being inspired by her and that pledge to adapt it to The Travel Corporation’s ethos, core values and what TreadRight stands for,” Brett Tollman, chief executive of The Travel Corporation told PressToday. “It brings in our three pillars around helping protect and preserve wildlife, local communities we take travellers to and the planet.”
The Make Travel Matter Pledge:
“I will make my travel matter – for our planet, for people and for wildlife. When I explore this planet, I will do my best to tread right. I will refuse single use plastics when I can and recycle what I cannot avoid. When possible, I will offset my travels.
When I meet new people, I will honour their home as I do my own and do so in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. I will purchase locally made items wherever possible and pay a fair price.
When I experience wildlife, I will do so in nature. I will not ride animals that ought not be ridden, nor support animal cruelty in any way.
Together, we will tread right upon the earth – and we will make our travel matter.”
The company is continuing to reduce its foot print and eliminating single use plastics across its supply chain.
While there’s a lot of talk of over tourism, Tollman said for every place that’s dealing with over crowding there are 50 or 100 places that don’t have enough tourists. With travel and tourism generating 10.4% of the world GDP, he believes that flight shaming is not the answer.
“You’re going to devastate wildlife and devastate communities if people stop travelling for leisure and holidays. The world is dependent on tourism, it’s one of the top 10 employers in the world. Putting people out of jobs is not going to save the world, it’s not going to help the world from the terrible mess of the geopolitical standpoint that we’re in,” he said. “If we stop flying it will have a detrimental effect around the world. Flight shaming is not the answer. The impact on these communities reliant on tourism will be that much more terrible. Travel opens our hearts and minds to new communities.”
The event also served as an introduction to Shannon Guihan, who was promoted to chief TreadRight and sustainability officer for The TreadRight Foundation. Funded entirely by the TTC’s brands, including Trafalgar, Uniworld, Insight Vacations, Contiki and Red Carnation Hotels, Guihan said the foundation supports 55 projects across 26 countries now in its 11th year.
“I managed TreadRight as an external consultant on a part time basis and it was kind of the 10-year over night success. All of a sudden TreadRight found its footing and the industry, brands and consumers have identified it, are really motivated by it and interested in it so it was a smart decision to put greater resources behind TreadRight,” Guihan told PressToday. “Through my role I always loosely advised TTC on corporate social responsibility efforts and the implementation of our first CSR strategy in 2015. The timing was just right to build this new role. In 2019 its a pretty common role for a lot of corporations.”
In 2020, TTC will be celebrating its centennial anniversary.
“One has to moderate that to make sure we will be around for the next 100 years,” said Tollman. “People, companies, all need to step up and be more responsible, more accountable, more engaged, more involved and make a difference. We’re not doing enough. It’s incumbent upon all of us as people and as travellers to do more because our politicians are not doing enough.”
Pictured at the event are:
Jeff Element, president of The Travel Corporation Canada; Marie Anne MacRae, vice president, Global Strategic Partnerships at TTC; Shannon Guihan, chief TreadRight and sustainability officer; and Brett Tollman, chief executive of The Travel Corporation.