Can tourism address poverty and inequality?

Can tourism address poverty and inequality? Impact Travel Alliance says it can

"We are a community of change makers, united by a love of exploration and doing good." These are the words that visitors to the website of Impact Travel Alliance are greeted with.

Impact Travel Alliance is made up of more than 20,000 travel professionals around the world who are committed to improving our world through tourism. It has hubs -known as local chapters - in nearly 30 cities worldwide, including Melbourne.

ITA’s vision is to build a network of businesses who are committed to sustainability, and to help them leverage resources around the globe. To expediate this work in Melbourne, ITA plans to host events focused on education, advocacy and community-building around sustainable tourism.

ITA officially launched in Melbourne on 4 September and is paving the way for more events and opportunities for people to hear from those who are leading the way in sustainable tourism.

Impact Travel Alliance seeks to bring sustainable tourism to the masses, and has a road map for how to get there. The freshly published 2018 Thought Leadership Study contains optimistic news and a strong framework to accomplish the much-needed work ahead to integrate sustainability into all types of travel and tourism.

“We are on the cusp of seeing the impact that sustainable travel can have on a much broader scale,” Impact Travel Alliance’s Executive Director Kelley Louise said. “Our biggest hurdle is in reaching beyond the niche that sustainability currently exists within the travel industry and engaging the average traveller.”

In the 66-page study, Impact Travel Alliance aims to empower all sides of the travel and tourism industry in its goal to mainstream sustainable tourism. The not-for-profit developed three core principles, each of which has its own set of actionable ideas, in an effort to outline steps toward making attainable progress.

1) Engage partners at both corporate and grassroots levels through storytelling, community
and collaboration

2) Complement traditional business activities with sustainable offers and incentives

3) Embrace technology that has changed the way consumers engage with brands

The study also outlines tactics that can be or have been used in pursuit of each principle. 

"The Thought Leadership Study is not only a report; it's a guidebook and a call to action," Ms Louise said. 

"We're asking our community to rally around these principles and the tactics that are the most relevant to them, and make a promise to use them to build realistic plans with finite timelines."

Download the Thought Leadership Study