In this interview, we hear from Greentraveller CEO Richard Hammond. He shares how he used his background in travel writing to launch the greentraveller.co.uk website to educate conscientious travelers on sustainable options around the world. He also talks about the consulting side of his business and how it is helping responsible tourism providers and destinations increase their visibility and adequately communicate their brand. Richard also discusses the challenge that transportation presents in regards to the strive towards sustainability in the travel industry.
- What led to the creation of Greentraveller;
- The mission and functions of Greentraveller Media and their consumer site greentraveller.co.uk;
- The challenges faced in communicating sustainability efforts while avoiding greenwashing and how to overcome them;
- How the tourism industry can tackle the challenge of creating and utilizing more sustainable methods of transportation.
Richard, when did you first learn of the concept of sustainable tourism?
In the summer of 1996, during a conservation volunteer expedition to Mauritius and Rodrigues organised by Raleigh International. Part of the 3-month, hands-on trip included three weeks working on an ecotourism scoping project to manage visitors to a bird-breeding area in Rodrigues. Each day, en route to an area of land we were helping to conserve, we’d pass a Tropicbird chick nesting at the foot of a tree.
One morning however, as we passed the nest, all we could see were bits of fluff. It looked as if the chick had been taken by a predator. It made us all feel a bit low, but later that day, we heard a commotion overhead and looked up to see two magnificent White-tailed Tropicbirds flying across the clear blue sky, with a third smaller bird trailing behind, flying somewhat awkwardly. It was the chick on its maiden flight. It was such a simple but evocative experience… it was my “light bulb moment”.