Sipping sustainably in California wine country

More and more travellers, particularly Millennials, are becoming acutely aware of the need to travel responsibly, and in response their desires numerous organisations are emerging to help travellers achieve their sustainability goals. One organisation has worked with California’s wine country to create a stewardship framework for travellers in the region.

In a report titled ‘The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2019’, The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) stated that “while tourism demand is higher than ever, there is increasing awareness among travellers that their choices have an impact…consumer demand will continue to push companies and destinations to rise to the occasion”.

The report cited the work of Kind Traveler, a social impact looking platform that is working with destination marketing organisations (DMOs) and hotels on integrated give-back programmes.

Kind Traveler created a two year partnership with Sonoma County Tourism as they shifted from a DMO to destination stewardship organisation (DSO). Three local charities were designated as beneficiaries of the Kind Traveler platform, and more than 10 participating hotels in Sonoma County offer exclusive rates and perks when travellers give a USD10 nightly donation to a designated charity.

According to the CREST report, the donations have fuelled the clean up of more than 5,000 pounds of trash from the Russian Rivers, a resource vital to Sonoma County’s sustainability.

This kind of impact tourism will be increasingly beneficial for businesses. CREST cited a 2106 study by Sustainable Travel International and Mandala research that found 85% of 2,292 travellers surveyed agreed that making a concerted effort to ensure the local community would benefit from its presence would positively increase the brand perception of a corporation.