For me being a part of Responsible Travel is emotional. Being a Kodava tribe, I grew up seeing wild elephants and over time, these sociable, intelligent hulks wove their way into my heart. My idea for responsible travel is that it should encompass all types of tourism (not just nature based) and that it should deliver ‘better places to live in and to visit’ – with the emphasis firstly on creating better places for local people and wildlife, and secondly for tourists.
Care and Passion is one of the core value of Enchanting Travels and when Enchanting Travels initiated Responsible Tourism, I said to myself, I have been with the company for more than a decade and Enchanting Travels has been always being into responsible tourism in the way the employees are treated, the itineraries we plan for our guest, the appreciation and recognition we give to our guides and chauffeurs. We as a company were already doing it! For me, being a Responsible Tourism Champion gives me fulfillment in what I do at work by being more responsible in the way we plan our trips, and how we choose our partners, such as hotels and activities to suggest. I am really happy to be a part of the cause and make a small difference from my end.
For me, being a responsible travel champion is just being true to MYSELF. I have been doing my bit from a couple of years like Supporting CRY for children education, making small donations for various causes and recently from last one year I have been doing cross country cycling for supporting NGO for noble causes and spreading awareness. Recently I cycled from Delhi to Anandpur nearly 400 km with Khalsa Aid (Khalsa Aid is an international non-profit aid and relief organization founded on the Sikh principles of selfless service and universal love) and later Delhi to Amritsar 500 km with United Sikhs (Recognize the Human Race as One). This has been a life changing experience for me.
The day I got to know that we have such an opportunity coming up at our workplace and I was super excited. For me, this was another reason to give back to the society, spread the happiness and make our society a place of harmony. This is something very close to my heart and very involved emotionally. I love my team, colleagues and would like to see the pure happiness on their faces. We all want to do something for the society but run out of options and blame for the time. But truth be said, we all need a push and someone to motivate us, that is exactly what I am willing to do this with my Responsible Travel Champion role.
In my view, the feeling of being responsible is contagious, it flows from one and touches everyone around, and affects us in different ways. I feel strongly about giving back to nature, people, and to everyone who surrounds us. I get inspired to drive a positive change or be a part of it whenever I see there is an opportunity. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and self-content whenever I am able to fill in the gap or learn from people’s experiences. Knowingly or unknowingly, I have always been drawn towards making a positive difference by doing what I can in my own capacity. By ensuring excellent quality trips, seeing a smile on my guest’s faces and reading glowing feedback still has an electric effect on me, and it lights up my day. My role as a trip coordination manager gives me the opportunity to overlook and personally enhance the experiences of our guests. Fair practices and honesty have always been the criteria for choosing team members, guides, and partners at Enchanting travels, and by taking many of these values a step further and showing clear commitment and genuine effort in becoming a responsible travel company started from the year 2018. This gave me an opportunity to do things in a more refined and structured way and my knowledge about being responsible has been evolving ever since. I am very fortunate to be a part of Enchanting and be able to contribute by adopting responsible practices and also spread the spirit and awareness among others by becoming a responsible travel champion.
Hearing stories from our guest about India and learning about the image they had of us when they first thought of visiting us and how it changed after coming here changed something in me too. I feel that it’s my responsibility, more so because I am in this profession where I can make a difference and ensure that our guest takes a true, yet beautiful picture of each country they visit with a feeling of enchantment. As individuals, we can only take the responsibly of our own actions and adopt responsible ways first and lead by example to spread the same later. I would like to share an example, during a recent group activity and initiative where we took on the task of picking litter and cleaning the nearby park. It was a 10-minute activity post our lunch. We were collecting plastic cups, bags, any other litter from the park and keeping them aside, and within minutes there was a huge pile. We were pleasantly surprised to see the reaction of nearby shopkeepers who were watching us, they started helping in clearing that pile in the bins. Small kids who were playing in the park joined us in cleaning the area and people resting in the park started looking around themselves to see if they have thrown something. It is just an example of a small initiative that started with 6-7 people and ended up involving so many who contributed to its successful accomplishment (a beautiful example of ripple effect). Being a responsible travel champion, I find my job to be more enriching and fulfilling.
I believe, that we cannot change the whole world alone. We need to work as a team. Then only we can bring change in the society. We have to honestly understand our responsibility towards nature and society. It should not only reflect in our words, but also in our deeds. Our deeds can speak much louder than a speech. With this great initiative, I feel that I’m playing a small part in a big game and I’m sure one day we will definitely reach our goal. If we are able to bring more smiles to faces, I think, that is the true service to that almighty. I am proud to be part of the Responsible Travel Champions team. It always gives me the good feeling when somebody appreciates and recognizes our efforts.
After years working in hospitality for many years and wanting a more meaningful career, I found myself going back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development where I learned about development from a global perspective. I then found myself living in a village in Botswana, serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer where I had the opportunity to experience development work first hand. After arriving back the US and beginning to work for Enchanting Travels, I was able to in talk about my experiences that I had while living in Africa but could not always make the connection back to my passion for development work. Becoming a Responsible Travel champion allows me to talk with guests not only about safari but also about the importance of supporting the communities that we work in, traveling with more of a conscious, and doing what we can to preserve both the incredible nature and wildlife that we are all so lucky to have the opportunity to visit.
I have volunteered as Responsible Travel Champion for our office in Feldkirchen as I found it a wonderful opportunity to engage in and deepen my commitment to the environment as well as social initatives by helping them in action. I think that most of us have this wish and that therefore many of our guests appreciate that they are not “only” having a perfect vacation with us, but that the same time they can give something back to the local people and nature.
I wanted to be a Responsible Travel champion because I know that it is my responsibility to ensure we all make the world a better place for us and posterity to enjoy over and over again!
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