With the youth travel industry being one of the fastest growing markets in the world, we all have a responsibility to help make the world a better place. We believe this starts with responsible travel and an attempt to address the growing problem of inequality in the world we live in. We all live on the same planet. If one person or group of people f*$k it up then we are all screwed. As citizens of the world we all have a duty to ensure that the next generation get to experience the natural world in all it's beauty.
At TruTravels we make sure that the majority of your money goes back into the communities that we travel in. As well as sourcing suppliers mainly from local businesses/families, we have some of our operations based in Thailand and employ as many local staff as possible, this is to ensure that the money we pay to suppliers doesn’t go to a multinational boss to buy a third holiday home, it goes towards sending a Thai child to school or university or back into the local community through purchase of goods. In the cases where we do use western run suppliers, be it hostels, bars or activities, we make sure that these business are run by like minded individuals who not only care for the customer experience and value for money, but also for their responsibility to the local community and the country they live in. They can do this by supporting community/development projects, local charities, employing local people on fair wage and holiday contracts or by helping raise money and/or awareness for worthwhile causes.
Furthermore the owners and staff of TruTravels and our partners mostly live in the country and spend our money at local businesses so our wages also go back into the local economy instead of back into a bank in the UK or US.
This is one of the ways in which the travel companies of our generation have the means to address the massive equality gap that exists in our world today. By making sure the money spent by people who can afford to travel goes to those who need it for basic amenities, education and other things we take for granted in the west. We are also improving the lives of those people who travel with us through these communities.
We also regularly select charities that we believe in to donate a % of our monthly bookings to and have now worked with several that are especially close to our heart. The latest being Mad Monkey Hostels and the Cambodian Buddhist Association for Vulnerable Children, who we will be sending $23 for ever booking of our new Cambodia tour, meaning that every group of 10 or more people will fund the building of a whole new well in rural Cambodia.
Backpacking is now becoming a rite of passage for many young adults in the western (and now even developing) world and this not only means that a large portion of the next generation will develop into more open minded adults having experienced other cultures, but also, if they are informed, will understand about the wealth divide and the responsibility faced by our generation to do something about it before it’s too late. It also means that the number of travellers through very poor areas of the world could easily fund many much needed development projects, which could literally improve the quality of lives of millions provided the funds are distributed in a responsible manner and not channeled straight back to a multinational with offshore accounts.
We have a vision of uniting people, companies and charities from all over the world with the common goal of reducing the current massive global equality divide and addressing one problem at a time in the areas that need them the most. This would slowly but surely ensure that everyone in the world had their basic needs met and could eventually get access to the same education and hygiene standards that we take for granted in the west. We believe that this is the key to creating a more peaceful and happier planet to live on. The more people and organisations that we can connect together with to work on this, the faster the change will be.
It sometimes seems that in the modern day world and the quest for material wealth, many people, societies and corporations have forgotten that people, animals and the planet itself are far more important. So important in fact, that without them, none of us would have anything at all, including our lives.
Again, given the size and rate of growth of the travel industry and also the rate at which man is currently destroying the planet we all share, we now have a responsibility to do all we can to reduce this impact and even reverse it where possible. From big companies like airlines to small companies like us, we can and should be doing our part.
At TruTravels we take part and organise regular beach cleans, we educate our customers and make sure our groups clean up after ourselves, we always take buses or trains to travel where possible and keep personal flight miles to a minimum, and we recycle at the hostel and our offices. We are also working with Trash Hero to try and reduce the amount of throw away plastic used on our home island of Koh Phangan by implementing paper straws and re-usable metal bottles in our businesses and those of our friends. We also work with a number of small charities.
Though these are all very small initiatives and on their own may not make a huge amount of difference, at least we are actively trying to minimise our own impact, as are many responsible companies in our industry. Together, we can all make a difference and if we can raise enough awareness for other big industries to start taking notice and following suit then we really will be getting somewhere.