In the past 20 years Planeta.com has focused on ecotourism and responsible travel around the world, perhaps not so much directly in the USA as I would like. One of the main audiences is based in the USA and interested in travel abroad. Since our debut in 1994/1995 Planeta has been a breath of fresh air for travelers interested in culture and conservation, foreign language and foreign food, international sport and literature. Living and working abroad for most of the past 20 years, I thrived on providing the information and platform for conversations that did not otherwise exist.
Now that I have returned to the USA, I see the same old challenges here that I’ve seen abroad. There is a lack of communication and collaboration and I’d argue innovation in the descriptions of travel and tourism options.
Let’s take a close look! There are numerous options of responsible local travel in the USA. One of my personal goals in May is to create a list of 100 businesses, museums, restaurants and hotels that are at the very least likeable on Facebook.
In May Deborah McLaren of GetLocalFlavor.com (author, consultant, founder of numerous responsible tourism organizations and passionate localist) and I co-host an online conversation to bring together individual leaders, organizations and communities in the USA. This is all part of something we’re calling Responsible Local Travel in the USA. Examples of good practice please! We will spotlight local businesses and organizations, directly and indirectly connected to tourism. As this is an online dialogue, we will make the most of the social web, using crowdsourced documents, surveys and video conversations to broaden the discussion. Special efforts are taken to make this as transparent and as open access as possible. We are betting that these conversations generate both short- and long-term benefits.
We are seeking local experts to appear on camera during the Friday hangouts. Perhaps you have a restaurant that uses local ingredients or a museum that orients visitors to the past and present. Maybe you’re organizing local craft markets or a sharing economy business. If you’d like to share your story and see how it connects to the bigger picture, let us know.
Our very first hangout is May 1 and Deborah and I explain how all of this works. Questions are most welcome!