Sustainability is Responsibility
By Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA
Strong and symbiotic partnerships are key to the sustainability mission. Here are a few of the many USTOA tour operators who have firsthand experience in building these types of relationships.
Quark Expeditions launched a sustainable strategy framework named the Polar Promise that’s dedicated to protecting the Arctic and Antarctica. Working with scientists, community leaders, and innovators, Quark Expeditions contributes $500,000 USD each year through donations and funding for more research and development projects. Partnering with the Inuit Cruise Training Initiative, they hire Nunavummiut guides, while other training programs are available for people to become ambassadors of the polar region.
In addition to many other sustainability initiatives launched over the years, Intrepid Travel released a free 10-step guide in 2020 that is designed to guide travel businesses towards decarbonizing their operations. As a B-Corp certified tour operator and carbon neutral company since 2010, they have offset more than 351,000 tonness of carbon emissions worldwide. During guided trips, Intrepid Travel prioritizes public transportation and minimizes the number of flights included in each itinerary. With expert advice and experience, they are helping other tour operators join the zero emissions movement.
With more than 50 years of responsible travel experience, a focus of Lindblad Expeditions’ daily operations is to source food from local farmers and fisherman whenever its possible. In the Galápagos, they collected 27 percent of provisions locally in 2019. This supports the local economy and preserves the ecosystem by reducing the threat of invasive species entering through imported foods. With a strong sustainable seafood policy, they do extensive research to ensure that they are keeping oceans healthy and fish stocks constantly regenerating. In the assessment, they measure fish quotas, stock levels in ocean zones, method of catch, maturity levels, and feed.