Carole Favre

Meet Carole Favre, independent tourism consultant, sustainability advocate, entrepreneur, mentor and facilitator. Carole’s professional journey – like that of many of her colleagues working towards a more sustainable tourism – is remarkable. In this interview, she tells us about her hopes and challenges and why, despite serious setbacks, she has never given up believing in the future and to realize her dreams.

Learn about:

  • Key lessons Carole Favre has learned throughout her very diverse career;
  • An insider’s take on the Sustainable Tourism community and its flaws;
  • Key challenges entrepreneurs and destinations face right now regarding sustainability;
  • 7 criteria which make a sustainable tourism award worth applying for;
  • Tips for sustainable tourism entrepreneurs on how to get started and then keep momentum.

Carole, your professional journey began in education and retail – do you remember what triggered your interest in focusing your career on tourism and sustainability? And your thoughts/view or expectations back then?

What triggered my career in tourism was utter desperation! I had moved to the UK after 4 ½ years in Lithuania and could not find any work related to what I had done in the past, apart from a cleaner’s job in a B&B. I had to pause and assess what else I could do.

Since I speak four foreign languages fluently and had travelled to weird places in the old soviet bloc, I thought I might have a chance as a Travel Agent in a Student/Adventure specialist agency in London. Fed up with calling and getting nowhere I decided to ‘squat’ the sofa at reception until they gave me an appointment for an interview. It worked, and I got the job.

I then moved on to work for the Products Department but pay was dreadful. This prompted me to apply for a Lecturer in Tourism position closer to home. I got the job, qualified as a Teacher and completed another degree, this one a BA in Tourism Management. There was no planning, just a clear sense of urgency to find a job that involved some level of brain activity, because not having a job was just killing me. I guess I knew unconsciously that tourism was my calling!

After 10 years, and a relationship breakup, I ended up alone at Christmas and New Year. I decided it was time for an adventure and chose to travel to Ethiopia for two main reasons: first, it happens to be Michael Palin’s favourite destination and I adore him; second, being in my 40s, the images of the famine in Ethiopia still hunted me and I wanted to see how the country had changed, if it had at all.

I booked a tour with Tesfa, a great CBT project in the mountains of Lalibela, and immediately decided that I wanted to use my teaching skills and business experience to develop similar projects – I could see the impacts that tourist money was having on villages and how this was managed effectively by the communities themselves.

Back in the UK, I started an MA with the Open University in Conflict and Development, then was invited by Prof. Xavier Font to enrol on the MSc in Responsible Tourism Management in Leeds. I never imagined that I could have a Masters, let alone that the MSc would lead me to doing what I do today.

Interview with Carole Favre on How to Succeed as Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneur
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