Anne Majumdar

With sustainable tourism fast climbing the travel and tourism agenda, we’re discussing the topic with travel industry leaders and change makers and asking them how they think we can #Traveltochangetheworld.

In our latest ‘Travel to change the world’ interview, Alison Roberts-Brown, Australian representative for Visit Monaco, shares her thoughts and ideas on how we can all do our bit to sustain the industry and leave a legacy of goodness.

 

What was it that inspired you to join the travel industry?

Oceanographic Museum ARB Monaco KarryOn
From a young age I’ve always known that life is not meant to be lived in one place and that there is so much more to the world than what meets the eye.

It was this hunger for the new, for the unknown, and realising that there was nothing in my way to stop me from exploring it, that made me pack my bags and live in two of the places that had always fascinated me the most: Europe and Japan.

Knowing that travel was – and still is – my biggest passion and following a ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ attitude, was what ultimately inspired me to join and stay in the industry.

It’s been 30 years now and there has not been a single moment I’ve regretted this decision.

 

What concerns you about the industry today in terms of its long-term viability?

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In a day and age where everything is tweetable, shareable, likeable, and commentable, we’re exposed to a huge amount of information every single day which can sometimes make it easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

As paradoxical as it may sound, by over-connecting we can run the risk of disconnecting, distracting us from those issues that really matter.

That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves every day of what the real challenges are that we are facing and how we can all work together to address those.

At the end of the day there is only one thing we all share and should collectively make our priority to protect: our planet.

 

Do you think travel can change the world?

Monaco Exotic Garden 4 © Monaco Press Center
Absolutely! In fact, if travel can’t change the world then I don’t know what can.

Travel does so many wonderful things to us: making us look beyond barriers, it can teach us some of the most precious values in life: patience, tolerance, empathy and responsibility and that’s to name only a few.

Ultimately, it makes us ambassadors for what we should all strive for: connecting with the planet and its people and inspiring others to do the same.

 

Are you seeing positive change happening in the industry that you really admire?

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We have seen plenty of positive change happening in the industry over the last couple of years.

What amazes me is how consistently consumers have been adopting sustainability as an actual travel need. What used to be a niche has evolved to become an expectation consumers wouldn’t go without anymore.

Thanks to social media but also to the educational work done by our industry, the world is as transparent as never before. We are dealing with an increasingly educated, discerning type of traveller who no longer sees sustainability as a luxury but who chooses to make it a part of his travel DNA.

Businesses reconsidering orphanage tourism and elephant rides are some of the recent examples the industry should be proud of.

 

What projects is Visit Monaco undertaking in this space?

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Monaco has come a very long way in terms of initiating change and developing sustainability strategies.

His Serene Highness founded the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation immediately after succeeding the throne, to support public and private projects in three areas – limiting greenhouse gas emissions and developing renewable energies, protecting biodiversity, managing water resources and combatting desertification.

For 2018, and the years to follow, the Principality is driven by the ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and we’re on the right track!

The feel-good experiences in Monaco are endless: from Mobee, an electric carsharing service available to locals and travellers, to Terre de Monaco, a project whose mission it is to institute urban agriculture, especially eco-friendly vegetable and fruit gardens, on the roofs, balconies and buildings of Monaco and neighbouring municipalities, to its electric bikes available all over the Principality, and an array of amazing organic eateries.

We are really proud to say that Monaco is becoming a pioneer in the field of sustainability.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge the industry faces in terms of the issue of ‘sustaining’ itself?

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Education. We think it’s our job to give our industry guidance on what truly brings us forward in our mission to change the world and what doesn’t.

Sustainable travel has become somewhat of a selling point in itself and, naturally, there are businesses out there who are taking advantage of this.

We think it’s our job to educate the industry on what is genuinely beneficial to our planet and what isn’t.

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READ: Talking travel to change the world with A&K

Do you think travel can change the world? Share your comments below