Tourism as a Force for Good
By Roy Ortiz, Founder of the TouristEd Chile
I had just quit my job in a big consultancy company after working for some years in corporate social responsibility and seeing that at the time very few companies had a real commitment to the communities where they were operating. I decided to visit my cousin who lived in Canada and went for a road trip which at the moment did not know but would change my life, it would connect different interests and learnings that I had in my life and would make me find my purpose.
I was born in an overcrowded destination in Europe so; as I always say, I learned tourism by osmosis as I studied environmental studies in university. I´ve been fortunate to have travelled since young and have grown my interest in getting to know and experiencing new cultures and ways of thinking. But this time it was different, I was in a critical point in my life where my dreams of having an impact on the world had been confronted with reality.
Was I going to be able to share how visiting other cultures had helped me to understand that no one has the absolute truth…
How nature has taught me the importance of being humble…
I embarked on this trip with three friends and travelled in the vast and wild landscape of British Columbia realizing how small and insignificant our lives are compared to the natural beauty and spectacular scenery. Each day travelling long distances, canoeing in turquoise lakes, rafting in white water rivers, trekking in the mountains, camping under the stars and more importantly getting to know the local culture.
I can’t remember the exact moment but; during those nights watching the night sky, talking to local people, mesmerised by the waterfalls or just listening to the sounds of the forest; I realized that my purpose in life was to associate adventure tourism and sustainability my two passions in life. During that trip, I was able to connect the dots, to understand that I had to follow what I believed in and be brave enough to follow my dream. As soon as I arrived back to the civilization I set up my first company and have been promoting sustainable travel in remote and off the beaten track destinations to responsible travellers since. I believe that “Sustainability in no longer a competitive advantage but a need for survival…”
The purpose of “TouristEd – Tourism & Education” is to educate through tourism so that it can be a force for good and can put into value cultures, help develop of remote areas and protect environmental diversity. We believe that travellers are initially attracted to a destination by the scenery and natural beauty but they return due to the human connections that are generated with local people.