Catching up with Cam McDonell from G Adventures always warms my heart & I love seeing and hearing about all of his world adventures & getting insights into the supplier side of things.
Today I get to share him with you as we talk about why he chose to work with a company that embodied his travel beliefs.
Thank you, Cam, for letting us peek into your life, career, and purpose. Here’s a bit of our chat:
First of all, I’d love to know why out of all the opportunities to work in the travel industry you choose to work with G Adventures?
Wow, what a great question – I do CHOOSE to work at G Adventures – it’s a conscious choice. I have always wanted to choose something that involves people at their best. I came into travel in 2013 with G Adventures and love it so much here.
The company aligns with my Purpose in life – to pursue happiness!
Not only that, I also get to see the incredible impact we have – from the Parwa community restaurant in Cusco Peru, where our travellers visit a community-run restaurant and learn about the local foods and customs, to our support of organisations like Sasane, the sisterhood of Survivors in Kathmandu Nepal, working against human trafficking, to Women on Wheels, a social enterprise in Dehli India, giving employment pathways to women.
These are only a few of the projects G supports, in fact, there are 60+ globally in countries where tourism can deliver a social need. It’s a huge reason why I love my job! Travel is an amazing, empowering vehicle, and I get to be a part of what I love every day.
Tell us what impact has G Adventures seen in travel/tourism in the recent years.
Whilst it’s always been a part of our DNA, I think we’ve seen a real movement around both the travel industry and beyond for brands to stand for something and be more conscious of their own footprint. As consumers and travellers are becoming more knowledgeable about their own impact, they’re holding brands accountable which is creating real change – look at what happened in the Galapagos last year with the region announcing they will ban single-use plastics! Socially and environmentally conscious travellers did that, they have an enormous impact.
Peoples decisions matter and G Adventures has always been there to facilitate that.
Imagine simply choosing better ways to engage with local communities on our travels through trade; as opposed to handouts and aid packages? To give these local people the certainty they will have viable businesses, with numerous customers, that support them and their families. To leave profits, not just wages, in the places we visit as invited guests. That’s the power of travel if it’s done well, in a socially sustainable way.
What do you think we as tourists or suppliers could change/do to make travel more ethical/sustainable/mindful?
Education. It’s up to us in the industry to have this kind of discussion first with ourselves, and then with the traveller. I truly believe the old days of “leaving footprints and taking photographs” is a little simplistic we must consider what is BEST for both words.
How do we engage in sustainable practices that deliver value to the traveller, but also deliver benefit to the community providing the experience?
I believe companies should be more transparent about their own operations and educate travellers on how to make the best decisions whilst overseas.
To this effect, G Adventures has introduced the RippleScore – an honest score on every tour of how much money stays local on your tour. Some scores are high (100%) while others are a little lower – that just means we have work to do to improve our impact.
We’ve also introduced a public statement on Child Welfare – encouraging travellers to think “if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it there!” For example, if you wouldn’t take pictures of children in a public playground at home, without their parents around, or their permission, maybe it’s not such a good idea to do it on your adventure either. Kids are kids everywhere, let’s leave them to their schools and playgrounds. Let’s not encourage them by buying souvenirs or giving money – otherwise, your donation may have the reverse effect.
What destination/s would you recommend to our readers who are looking to make a big social impact or to “be a part of the solution not part of the problem”?
The destinations that stand to benefit most from your adventure dollar today would be those places recovering from recent disruptions – places like Egypt, Colombia, Cambodia, the Philippines, where the locals rely on the tourism trade to operate their businesses.
Even relatively stable places like Uganda, Bhutan, Peru, and Nepal are places the locals stand to make a huge social benefit from engaging the traveller in a local way. Where ever we go with G Adventures, we aim to meet the locals, to hear their stories, their experiences, their knowledge it’s what makes the world a better place.
Amazing Cam, I appreciate your time, your mission and I truly resonate so much with your passion & purpose, thank you so much for allowing us a sneak peek through the supplier window today.
- READ: Mindful travel, a new beginning in the industry
- READ: G Adventures’ new 2019 destinations & alleviating poverty
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