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Sustainable Travel: It's Not Just About the Environment

The term “sustainable travel” has a green glow to it, connoting eco-friendly practices and environmental responsibility. But the human side of sustainability, as defined by the World Tourism Organization, addresses community impact, both social and economic, and is newly gaining traction among travel companies.

Social impact travel aims to ensure money spent on a tour or a trip stays in the community. A vital source of income to developing nations, travel is the first or second source of export earnings in 20 of the 48 least developed countries, according to the W.T.O., yet a 2013 report from the organization noted that just $5 of every $100 spent in a developing country stayed in that destination.

“There’s a lot of people who think ‘eco-tourism’ when they hear ‘sustainable tourism,’ but that’s a piece of the puzzle,” said Kelley Louise, the executive director of the Impact Travel Alliance, an industry nonprofit organization that focuses on sustainable travel. “Sustainability has a positive impact not only on the environment, but the culture and the economy of the destination you’re visiting.” Read more.

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