Talking responsible travel with Trafalgar’s Sustainability Officer Gemma Myhill - Real Word

We’re sitting down today with Gemma Myhill, our Global Marketing Manager and newly appointed Sustainability Officer for Trafalgar and Costsaver.  

As a marketer and keen traveller Gemma’s job has taken her around the globe, but it was only after joining Trafalgar that the Australian native started to think about sustainability.

After more than a decade working in the travel and tourism industry Gemma started to notice the broader impacts the travel industry has on the planet and its communities and now actively helps push for positive change at Trafalgar. 

We asked Gemma some questions about our “doing good DNA” and how Trafalgar truly makes a difference both in our offices and on our trips.

Gemma Myhill

How did working at Trafalgar influence your approach to sustainability?

When I joined Trafalgar one of the first things I noticed was the incredibly dedicated approach to sustainability in our offices. There is a strong commitment to recycling and waste reduction programs, as well as a clear stance on single-use plastics. Of course, this rubbed off on me and subsequently I became an enthusiastic campaigner not just at work but in my everyday life.

Influenced by the actions that we as a brand were taking in the office as part of our sustainability strategy, I noticed myself making sustainable swaps at home. My buying decisions have been influenced for the better! 

How have Trafalgar’s sustainability efforts changed over the years?

We were one of the first guided tour companies to offer Be My Guest experiences over a decade ago – these experiences are an opportunity to break bread with locals, share in their stories and heritage and gain insight into the daily lives of those around the world. 

While our Trafalgar family is well versed in making a difference by supporting local communities, we’re constantly being challenged to think “outside the box” and to ensure doing good is at the forefront of everything we do. 

Does Trafalgar have sustainability goals?

Earlier this year, we launched our five-year sustainability strategy – How We Tread Right – in partnership with the TreadRight Foundation, which addresses our sustainability goals. This strategy sets the direction for sustainability at Trafalgar and at our sister brands and is anchored to 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Trafalgar has a unique and longstanding partnership with the foundation, and thanks to an inspiring leadership team and support from the very top, we’ve been able to drive some serious industry-leading change and support sustainable tourism projects around the world.

Can you give us an example of one of the goals?

Absolutely! One of our cornerstone goals in our strategy is that of Goal 7, which initially was to ensure that we included at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on 50% of all our itineraries by 2025 – for context a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience is a conscious travel experience that benefits both the guest and the local community or environment – but recently our CEO Gavin Tollman encouraged our team to rethink our commitment to Goal 7 and if we could do better.

Naturally, we did just that. 

So, how is Trafalgar doing better?

This World Tourism Day we are thrilled to share that both Trafalgar and Costsaver will ensure that there is at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience offered on all of our land tours by 2023.

Amazing news! How will this change have a positive impact on the world?

It really is amazing and absolutely the right thing for us to do as we take yet another step toward tourism for inclusive growth. Each of our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are chosen with great care based on the positive social or environmental impacts they provide for local communities as well the education opportunity for our guests who experience them. Our teams measure the impact of these experiences against a robust set of criteria directly tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, using a special proprietary assessment tool, endorsed by industry experts.

By committing to this new benchmark, not only will our guests continue to have incredibly rich experiences when they tour with us, but they will also know their travels will meaningfully give back to local communities, wildlife and the planet, no matter the destination they choose. 

How many Trafalgar itineraries currently include a Make Travel Matter experience?

Right now, we’re currently sitting at around 35% of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences across our global itineraries, which means we still have a bit of work to do, particularly in Europe! But our teams are so inspired by our sustainability goals that they are already working on gathering the very best responsible and sustainable experiences in every destination we visit. 

I personally can’t wait for the day we’re able to share all these incredible experiences with our guests.

Do you think about the impact of your travels? Let us know in the comments below…

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