Over the past two years, the team at GOOD Travel has taken time to reflect. What this meant for us was looking closely at how we remain financially sustainable but also looking at the work we’ve been doing and how this aligns with our vision to transform the tourism industry into a force for GOOD.
During this time we launched GOOD Awaits, leading conversations on regenerative thinking and regenerative tourism practices and this has been brought to the front of our minds as we bring back our own trips.
The GOOD Travel Mission
Our goal has always been to facilitate travel that gives back to the local community, environment and economy. When we founded GOOD Travel in 2013, we wanted to transform the tourism industry into a force for good and this remains the same today. However, our work has become more complicated in the face of COVID-19 and the catastrophic impact of climate change on our planet.
We have long believed that tourism can protect natural and cultural heritage, conserve biodiversity, generate sustainable livelihoods and improve the wellbeing of local communities. We also believe that travel has the power to open minds and to foster cross-cultural understanding and respect, when facilitated intentionally. We still believe these things but we want to find new ways to facilitate travel that truly empowers people for the long-term and protects our planet. We have been shown the fragility of the tourism industry and the devastating impact on people’s lives when these income streams are removed. We have also seen places regenerate in the absence of tourism. Our work in this space feels more important than ever.
As with all things, we want to find the right balance. We want to facilitate travel that is community-led, that models regenerative thinking, and that focuses on learning and a fostering of global citizenship. We aim to reduce our impact on the environment and put measures in place to restore our planet.
Our Trips: Improved and Intentional
We have long-offered intentionally crafted group trips. We examine every detail carefully, ensuring each element aligns with our values. We haven’t always gotten this right, but we use each moment as a learning experience and a chance to have open dialogue with all involved about how things can be improved and done differently. We reviewed our trips and made some adjustments to improve our impact and to minimise the risks of travelling during this time.
What can you expect with our trips?
We’ve always believed in keeping our groups small, to a size where we can foster engagement and connection. Our groups will now have a maximum of 12 people per group.
All our trips will be led by local guides. Before, this was done in partnership with a GOOD Travel representative and while that may still happen in some instances, our aim is to have a lead local guide on all our trips. For partner trips a representative from the partner organisation will still lead in partnership with local guides.
In response to COVID-19, we have updated our policies. We believe these measures, which include requirements around vaccination and testing, will best protect our travellers, our partners and the communities we visit when we travel.
We aim to reduce the carbon emissions in each of our trips, and what we cannot reduce as yet, we will offset as part of our trip fee. Before, we used to offset the flights for our GOOD representatives and guides. Now, through detailed calculation, we estimate the total footprint of each of our travellers during our trip and offset accordingly. By the end of 2021, the carbon footprint information will be shown on each of our trip pages.
Alongside our efforts to create trip experiences that have a positive impact, each of our trips will also have a key theme, such as gender equality, protecting the natural environment, social entrepreneurship, and others. In this way, we can actively bring attention to and discuss these important topics within the industry.
To add to our “What’s GOOD” section, we now have a "Commitment" section for each trip outlining our specific commitment to GOOD for that trip.
We're bringing trips back gradually, assessing the situation in each destination before we launch and a few months before we travel.
Our GOOD Destinations
We have decided to reduce but expand at the same time. We think we can have the greatest impact if we focus on leading groups to the destinations that we know best and where we have long-standing relationships with incredible partners. By focusing on these places and these partners, we can streamline our efforts to effectively support their initiatives and to craft a series of memorable and transformative itineraries for our travellers. This means we have reduced our destinations but we will increase our offerings in each. This includes a greater focus on promoting domestic tourism in each. We are calling these destinations our CORE destinations, where we focus on: Community, Opportunities, Regeneration and Equity.
Our CORE Destinations are: New Zealand(our home base!)
Through our partner trips, we continue to support the co-facilitation of trips to other parts of the world, such as Iceland!
Our Research and Advocacy
To further our work in this area, we have decided to start the GOOD Travel Foundation in New Zealand. This will be the first foundation of its kind in the country. More information will be shared about this soon!
Trying to change the tourism industry, remove entrenched systems and ideas, and change the behaviour of travellers and businesses is a journey in itself. We will continue to learn, develop and adapt and to remain transparent in why we do what we do and how we do it. We remain open to input, feedback, different ideas, discussion and collaboration. We believe this needs to be a collective journey.
We are incredibly excited to be reconnecting with our travellers and our partners and we believe we can, together, have a positive impact.