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Monday, November 14, 2016

11/14/2016 - Making a Difference in Travel: G Adventures and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada

Slow Living Radio is always thrilled when we can support and bring you the stories of groups and individuals who make a difference for the good in the world.  G Adventures, it's foundation Planterra, and the Jane Goodall Foundation are all up the top of that list, helping improve the lives of animals at risk, caring for the environment and bringing travelers an experience like no other at the same time.

About G Adventures 

G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer and social enterprise offering the widest selection of affordable small-group land, sea and river tours in nearly 100 countries on all seven continents. Headquartered in Toronto Canada and with offices in more than 20 countries, including here in the U.S. in Boston, G Adventures was founded by Canadian entrepreneur and owner Bruce Poon Tip in 1990.  Today, it offers sustainable, award-winning trips that embrace local accommodation, cuisine and transport, and promise 100 per cent guaranteed departures. With more than 700 different itineraries and a nonprofit foundation called Planeterra that partners with local communities to support community development, G Adventures’ approach to small-group travel is intimate and local. This gives people traveling with G Adventures the chance to make a positive impact, simply by having the time of their lives. For more information about G Adventures and its Planeterra Foundation, please visit:

Jamie Sweeting
Vice President for Sustainability, G Adventures
President, Planeterra Foundation, Massachusetts

 Jamie has spent the last 20 years working in tourism, conservation, development, and business management. In his decades of traversing the globe, he has yet to encounter another organization that is leading in creating jobs for some of the most under-resourced people on this planet — especially marginalized women, disadvantaged youth, and a priority focus on indigenous communities. Prior joining the leadership teams of G Adventures and its Planeterra Foundation, Jamie was a senior business advisor and director for Conservation International. He also held the role of Chairman at Sustainable Travel International and continues to engage in policy and destination management as part of the board. When Jamie is not working, you can find him enjoying time with his family or fishing.

Andria Teather
 Chief Executive Officer,

Andrea with Jane Goodall
In 2002 following years of corporate-based community work, Andria began working full-time in the not-for-profit sector on diverse projects for organizations such as Volunteer Vancouver, Volunteering Western Australia and YWCA Vancouver.  She was the Executive Director of the Giving in Action Society and Vice-President, Grants and Community Initiatives at Vancouver Foundation. Andria studied communications and holds an executive MBA with a specialty in Leadership from Royal Roads University.  She has been a volunteer for a number of organizations and is pleased to be working at the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada where her personal and professional goals align – to make a difference for people, animals and the environment. For more information, visit:

The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada:  Founded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute is a global nonprofit that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. Its work builds on Dr. Goodall’s scientific work and her humanitarian vision, with a mission to: (1) Improve global understanding and treatment of great apes through research, public education and advocacy; (2) Contribute to the preservation of great apes and their habitats by combining conservation with education and promotion of sustainable livelihoods in local communities; and (3) Create a global network of young people who have learned to care deeply for their human community, for all animals and for the environment, and who will take responsible action to care for them. JGI is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian program for youth of all ages, with groups in more than 130 countries.

Travel Agent,
G Adventures sales partner, radio talk show host and owner, TravelWize (based in Sonoma County):

Alyse Cori is a travel industry veteran of more than 25 years, who began her career as a flight attendant for a charter airline, finding a niche in the world of corporate travel.  Soon, she found herself booking travel for rock bands on tour such as the Grateful Dead, Primus, Rusted Root, Art Garfunkel and the Cranberries, just to name a few. An entrepreneur, Alyse opened her own Sonoma County-based agency in 2006 called Travelwize, to specialize in areas of travel she’s most passionate about: themed group tours, fundraisers, corporate meetings, reunions, honeymoons, active biking, hiking, and kayaking trips, and male-only or female-only getaways. And she hosts a public radio program on KSRO, 103.5fm – on Tuesdays at 12pm – called “Travel Tuesdays”, where she shares insider tips to getting the most out of your trip. For more information, visit:


How is G Adventures approaching the issue of ethical travel involving animals?

Two years ago, G Adventures undertook an extensive and voluntary assessment of its line of more than 700 different tours around the world to determine which ones offered experiences with animals that were either in captivity or at risk of being exploited. After completion of that review and in partnership with our local tour suppliers, in early 2015, G Adventures adopted a best-in-industry Animal Welfare Policy. It was developed along the guidelines developed by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, a third-party organization whose mission it is to protect vulnerable animals from abuse.

After this audit and the adoption of our policy, we removed any travel experiences that we did not feel were in compliance including but not limited to elephant rides. We also phased out trips that had included, as part of the itinerary or optional extras, trained elephants performing for the public. Beyond elephants, we made the decision to dissuade local suppliers from using distressed working animals such as pack mules on G Adventures trips, unless absolutely necessary, and we stopped including experiences such as running with the bulls, visiting snake charmers, and dining in restaurants with caged birds.

G Adventures’ vision is that all animals encountered while on a G Adventures tour are treated humanely, with respect and in accordance with transparent and robust animal welfare standards that adhere to the Five Freedoms, which emphasize: (1) Freedom from hunger and thirst; (2) Freedom from discomfort; (3) Freedom from pain, injury or disease; (4) Freedom to express normal behavior; (5) Freedom from fear and distress. We believe that tourism can and should be a means for positive interactions between tourists and animals and it support local conservation efforts, not threaten them. As a sustainable tourism operator, we aim to do everything possible to encourage travelers to consider the well-being of wildlife during their trips.

What advice would you give travelers looking into choosing responsible experiences and operators?

•               Ask about your tour provider’s animal welfare policy. If the tour operator, resort or expedition you use can’t point you to one, it’s probably a sign that it’s not a priority to the operator. For small group tour operator G Adventures, the policy is detailed right on the website.
•               Ask your travel provider about efforts to reduce single use plastic. Again, if a tour operator / airline / hotel can’t tell or show you, it’s likely not a priority for them. G Adventures encourages travelers to bring reusable, refillable bottles, and guides them toward places where they can refill with clean, safe, drinkable water.
•               Use pedal power. Reduce your carbon footprint by making mud footprints! Biking trips and hiking trips, like those offered by G Adventures, put your muscles to work and reduce emissions from transportation. 
•               Consider train travel. In addition to seeing some beautiful vistas at a comfortable pace, you’ll help reduce carbon emissions from many additional cars on the roads. G Adventures offers 24 different of Rail Journeys to 21 countries.
•               Hail the sails. Taking a sailing trip is a great way to not only reduce energy use in favor of wind power, but it allows you to completely unplug and refresh. G Adventures offers sailing tours to Thailand, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, the Maldives and the British Virgin Islands, among others.
•               When in doubt, go local. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. It’s about social good and human well-being, too. The more local suppliers, hotels, guides, and accommodations you use, the more likely your travel dollars will stay in the local community and benefit those people’s families. 

Beyond animal welfare, how is G Adventures making travel a force for good in the world?

At G Adventures, preserving the places we love and helping the people who live there aren’t just the right things to do – they’re part of who we are. So when the business marked its quarter century milestone in late 2015, our leaders looked toward the future and envisioned what they most want it to stand for in the next 25 years. G Adventures for Good is an overarching approach to responsible travel that centralizes the business’s commitments to social enterprise development, animal welfare, environmental preservation, and sustainable supply chain management. Put more simply, G Adventures for Good represents a big part of the “why” we’re in business.

G Adventures for Good projects are community development initiatives supported by G Adventures and implemented by the Planeterra Foundation, our non-profit organization. Experiences at these projects are built into G Adventures tour itineraries that connect them to an existing customer base, helping them become self-sustaining enterprises, and allowing local communities to invest gains back into their own development goals. We are constantly evaluating the potential new G Adventures For Good projects across the business and around the globe, and selecting them according to the biggest impact in terms of community benefit and traveler numbers.

Here are a few more of the ways we’re making “good” central to our products and work:
50-in-5 Campaign – G Adventures plans to raise and spend CAD $5 million over the next five years to establish 50 new G Adventures for Good projects that will bring underserved communities into the tourism economy, growing our global project total to 75. By 2020, over 90 per cent of our travelers will be connected to these vital community initiatives, allowing us to impact even more lives.

Environmental Commitment
- We strongly believe in protecting the natural environment in the places we travel. This means reducing waste, conserving water, never leaving trash behind and thinking about how our actions impact the environment. As a member of the International Antarctic Tour Operators Association we help advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private sector travel to Antarctica.

Responsible Travel Code of Conduct - Our aim is to provide opportunities for our travelers to interact with environments and communities around
the world in an ethical, supportive and responsible way. This means promoting respect for different cultural practices and beliefs as well as avoiding exploitative controversial activities.

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