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National Geographic Synthesises Sustainability With ‘Incredible’ Travel Experiences


The gathering of world class lodge owners and travel agencies, organised by National Geographic, explored the trend of sustainable travel.

Dailycsr.com – 17 June 2016 – The National Geographic brought together “a group of travel industry leaders” from all over the world, who met at “Washington, D.C. headquarters” and discussed about "The Transformation of Travel”. It was an afternoon that was dedicated to the “future of global travel” that will keep up pace with the growing sustainable industry trends.
The said event took place on the 9th of June 2016, wherein “the owners of some of the properties selected for National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World program” were present. The said selected lodges from all over the world have committed themselves to operate in a sustainable manner without compromising on quality service besides “preserving the natural and cultural heritage of their local communities”.
The “Editor-at-Large for National Geographic Traveler magazine and Director of Sustainable Tourism at the Lodges program”, Costas Christ, moderating the first panel in the event said:
"Authenticity is the new luxury. At National Geographic, we believe the growth in travel and tourism presents opportunities for conservation, opportunities for the protection of natural and cultural heritage, opportunities for the social and economic well-being of people in need around our world. Those are the key criteria that underline the foundation of our Unique Lodges program."
The Unique Lodges project is a testimony to the fact that conservation and sustainability “need not interfere with the creation of an incredible guest experience”. As many as eighty two percent of the lodges involved in the programme are “supporting biodiversity conservation”, while another sixty two percent “use renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro, and biofuels” and eighty nine percentage show active support in “protecting the cultural heritage” of the local community.
In the words of a “National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence” and the owner of several lodges like Kenya’s Mara Plains Camp involved in Unique Lodges program, Dereck Joubert stated:
"The very reason we're in business is to convert people to conservation. We believe in a very delicate philosophy of conservation, which is, 'No more compromise.' If you're pro-hunting, don't come to our lodge... Our mission is to attract people of like-mindedness and then take them up a little through our program so that they leave us as conservation ambassadors."
While, Clampet added:
"What we've found is that [conservation] is rarely on the top of their lists in terms of what's important to them about [choosing to stay] at a place. But if it's part of an experience, it only tends to heighten a guest's memory of that place. Sustainability is a part of the experience that consumers really, really enjoy."
Moreover, Joubert introduced yet another tool to propagate the sustainability trend on the travel industry, whereby he recounted:
"[Storytelling] is basic to all of us; it's in our DNA. Whatever standard we set needs to be the norm for the entire industry... There are many, many more organizations that want to join the Unique Lodges program, but they just don't qualify. Creating this prestigious program and basing it on sustainability means many more people will aspire to this, which forces them to raise their standards."