Kelley Louise was passionate about the travel and social good before it became a buzzword in the industry. She launched out of college and traveled to Uganda, following her passion to work with non-profits. Part that first job was interviewing as many people as possible to uncover the root of problems in the community. That work snowballed into her blog, the Culture Collective, and led to becoming Executive Director of Travel Social Good.org
Kelley knows everyone can’t take off to work in another country. In America most of us get two weeks of vacation and need the rest, not just to plaster walls in a jungle or any other number of projects. It doesn’t mean we can’t support social good while vacationing. What needs to grow is finding ways to ensure that our tourist dollars and efforts help the local communities that we visit.
Creating those connections starts locally, in our home towns. “It’s not just about giving back,” Kelley says, ‘it’s about a lifestyle.” And that needs to begin long before we start packing a suitcase.
There are 23 local Hubs of Travel Social Good in cities across the globe and more are being created. It’s a great way to support local causes and social good is social fun, as Chicago Lead Coordinator, Lena Kazer says “I’ve met some incredible people.” Supporting credible non-profits in your city is satisfying work and play. Check out what some of the Hubs are up to and attend an event.
The Business to Business initiatives of Travel for Social Good aim to push far beyond volunteerism or ecotourism which, as Kelley says, “Are great,” but the aim is to make the travel industry more sustainable. The Summit and all that Travel Social Good does is to take action, to make a difference by doing. That’s why this year’s summit at the United Nations Headquarters is invitation only for action-based leaders and decision makers in the industry. From established to entrepreneurial, non-profit to tech focused levels, from the different sides and ways, leaders are coming together to solve this problem. During the summit attendees are venturing into New York to experience selected local companies who are making sustainability and tourism viable partners. The next day discussions and sessions begin in earnest.
What are your best travel ideas for social good and keeping it local?