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Jamie Sweeting

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Spotlight on Jamie Sweeting, President, Planeterra. “Believe that when done right travel can change people’s lives. Working to reduce poverty through community tourism.”
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January 2022: A few weeks ago someone suggested to me that I needed to “find my voice.” I believe they were kindly pointing out that while I may have been fighting hard, along with the whole team at Planeterra Foundation and our fabulous partners, throughout this ghastly pandemic to ensure communities are uplifted by tourism as the industry “builds back better,” I have not done a good enough job of using my privileged position to more vocally advocate for positive change.So, I proudly and boldly state that if you are a traveller or travel company that is not directly and actively positively benefiting communities through your travel / business then you are not being responsible and you cannot claim to be so. I don’t care if you stay in a yurt or your company offsets it’s carbon (good for you!) – individuals and companies simply can no longer claim they are acting responsibly if local communities are not directly benefiting from their presence.I don’t want to see anymore “Responsible Travel Awards” or “Sustainable Tourism Days” at big trade shows / conferences that do not put community well being front and centre in your agendas. It’s time for us all to take a long hard look at the travel industry and ask who is benefiting? If we continue to accept local communities getting the mere scraps off the table then shame on us. We know better and now need to do better. Where we see such injustice we need to call it out rather than being silently complicit in an industry that to date has been more parasite than epiphyte.I have immense hope for 2022. I believe that from the dire troubles our beloved industry has faced during the long past two years we have the wisdom, resilience and desire to do better…to be better. Let’s not squander this opportunity folks – this awful Omicron wave will eventually subside and travel will again be our release, our passion, our adventure – let’s use it to make this World a better place for those communities in the places we are fortunate to go visit.

Planeta

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