Our Aspirational Mission
At Sustainable Journeys, our mission is a guiding aspiration: to offer our customers unforgettable travel experiences that not only showcase the beauty and diversity of our planet but also aim to support the well-being of local communities and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.
We are committed to aligning our practices as closely as possible with UN Tourism’s (formally the UNWTO) definition of sustainable tourism, which emphasises environmental conservation, social inclusivity, and economic sustainability.
The Pillars of Sustainable Tourism We Strive For
Our Travel Partners
For Sustainable Journeys carefully choosing the right partner destination management company (DMC) in each country is a key decision in terms of the journeys we offer and the care we offer our customers when they travel with us. This choice is much more than a business transaction for us; it’s a statement of values and intent. Sustainable tourism hinges on the balance of environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic viability. Our chosen DMCs embodies these principles, ensuring that tourism activities don’t merely extract value from a destination but contribute positively to it.
Our DMC partner considers the choice of transport method, lodging and suggested activities each day of a journey, that are designed to ensure the optimum balance between sustainability and pragmatism in terms of what can be offered, what is sensible and what best protects the wellbeing of our customers. Sometimes practicality, availability and safety mean a less than sustainable choice is taken in the interests of our customers. We aim to be transparent about when that happens and rely on our partner to help make the right decision when this happens.
Our destination partners, aligned with sustainable tourism principles, will endeavour to prioritise local community involvement, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism are equitably distributed. This approach fosters community empowerment and cultural preservation, as locals are integral to and benefit from the tourism process. Moreover, such a partner will have a profound understanding of the local environment and its challenges, so advocating and practising environmentally friendly initiatives. This could range from promoting low-impact tours to supporting conservation efforts.
An ethically sound DMC will be transparent about their operations, showcasing a commitment to sustainability not just in words but in actionable measures. They become a bridge between the visitor and the destination, offering authentic experiences that respect local cultures and ecosystems, rather than simply commoditising a holiday experience. Our partners are our local stewards of sustainable tourism, aligning the interests of travellers, local communities, and the environment.
We are proud to tell you about each of our partners.
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Our Authentic Commitment to You
Every tour designed by Sustainable Journeys aims to foster meaningful connections between travellers and the places they visit. We are committed to offering experiences that are not only enriching but also tread lightly on local cultures and environments.
We are transparent about our journey towards reducing our environmental impact. This includes initiatives like the digitalisation of travel documents to reduce paper waste and the ongoing evaluation of our partnerships to align with our sustainability goals.
While we acknowledge that we are on a journey towards sustainability, we are committed to taking steps that maximise the positive impact of our activities on local communities. This includes initiatives like employing local guides and recommending locally-owned businesses to our travellers.
We believe that sustainable tourism is crucial for a more equitable and resilient world. Sustainable Journeys is committed to being as close to the forefront of this movement as possible, always learning, adapting, and striving to set new standards in sustainability to ensure the longevity of global tourism.
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Animal Welfare Policy
Sustainable Journeys has adopted an animal welfare policy to align with ethical tourism practices and ensure the protection of wildlife. This policy emerges from a deep understanding of the detrimental impacts of certain tourist activities on animals.
By prohibiting interactions like riding or touching wild animals and avoiding venues that exploit animals for entertainment or commercial purposes, Sustainable Journeys demonstrates a commitment to conservation and ethical treatment of wildlife. This approach not only prioritises animal welfare but also educates tourists about responsible wildlife experiences, fostering a more sustainable and conscientious form of tourism that respects natural ecosystems and animal rights.
From the Founder
Our team at Sustainable Journeys have embarked on our very own journey to revolutionise holidays by embedding sustainability at their core. This journey started when Charitable Travel launched in 2020 as a social enterprise, with a strong commitment to the sustainability of community benefit and philanthropy. Over time as Charitable Travel embraced our #travelforgood ethos we observed a pressing need for travel that genuinely embraced sustainability, making it both easy and dependable to have incredible holiday experiences but with responsible tourism baked in where possible at every turn. Sustainable Journeys was born from this realisation, with a vision to intertwine travel experiences with environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
Our philosophy at Sustainable Journeys is distinct. Unlike traditional travel operators who might consider sustainability as an add-on, we integrate it as a fundamental aspect of our holidays. This approach involves being transparent about the sustainability of each component of our travel packages, calling out when we’ve had to make less sustainable choices accepting that travel in some senses can never be truly sustainable. We believe in providing our customers with comprehensive information, enabling them to make well-informed travel decisions.
Addressing the climate crisis is a critical component of our philosophy. While we acknowledge the environmental impact of flying, we also recognise its necessity in certain contexts. Therefore, we advocate for more sustainable flying practices. For journeys within Europe, we consistently offer rail alternatives, encouraging our customers to choose more environmentally friendly modes of transport. When air travel is unavoidable, we focus on selecting the most eco-efficient routes, economy cabins and aircraft to minimise carbon emissions. A key element of our operational strategy is the careful selection of local partners. We collaborate exclusively with partners who demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainable tourism practices. This ensures that our travel experiences are not only labelled as sustainable but are genuinely so in practice. Sustainable Journeys and travel in general is not perfect, but we are making conscious steps to improve and do better in the belief of incremental change is better than ambivalence or the wait for perfection.
Looking ahead, Sustainable Journeys faces the challenge of raising awareness about sustainable travel with the travelling public. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the desire for sustainable travel (we polled a 62% desire to travel more sustainably) and the practicalities of booking such experiences (where 83% of people polled said they could not find reliable information or support). We aspire to continuously expand our range of destinations, and so increasing our impact and reach in tourism.
Founding Sustainable Journeys for us is the beginning of a practical and pragmatic movement towards enable more people to take more responsible and sustainable travel decisions. As we broaden our horizons, our commitment to this vision remains steadfast, inviting customers to be part of a journey that makes a meaningful difference, one sustainable journey at a time.
Melissa Tilling, Founder and CEO
Join us on our Journey
We invite you to join us on this authentic journey towards a more sustainable and equitable world. We are transparent about the steps we are taking and the challenges we face. Together, we can strive to make a difference, one unforgettable travel experience at a time.