Your stories: Katie Terrington, The Conscious Travel Foundation

Katie Terrington has always had an interest in sustainable travel, but lockdown gave her the drive to take it a step further.

The travel agent, who owns Katie Terrington Private Travel, launched a sustainable social enterprise called The Conscious Travel Foundation in May together with four industry colleagues – Amy Welfare of AW Private Travel, Joro Experience’s Henry Comyn, Georgina Coke of By Georgie and Olivia Cryer of Olivia Cryer Communications.

The platform, which is now open to member applications, aims to bring small, sustainably-minded travel businesses together to pool knowledge, raise money for grassroots charity projects and promote travel as a force for good.

“The founders all started speaking back in March when we were all in lockdown,” Terrington says.

“We were discussing what we could do to help support the incredible initiatives so many of our travel partners usually support through tourism but who were losing money for the projects they were so passionate about.

“Ultimately, as the world stood still, we couldn’t ignore the questions that kept coming up around sustainability, diversity and better work practices.

“These are all areas the founders of The Conscious Travel Foundation want to explore further, and we saw the need for a platform for smaller companies who could learn collectively, helping to make travel a force for good when we emerge from the pandemic.”

Members of The Conscious Travel Foundation receive mentorship from sustainable travel experts like Charlie Carlow, founder and owner of luxury Australian travel agency Alquemie, and Portia Hart, owner of eco-luxury beach club Blue Apple in Cartagena, Colombia.

Members also abide by a ‘sustainability code’. Its pledges include working with suppliers that have a clear policy on sustainability and, where possible, local owner-run businesses; ensuring clients’ trips are fully carbon-offset through an accredited scheme; and working towards eliminating single-use plastic from all trips and offices.

All of The Conscious Travel Foundation’s fundraising proceeds and membership fees are also donated to projects and charities around the world directly impacted by the tourism industry.

Membership of The Conscious Travel Foundation opened this month to owner-operated travel firms with up to nine staff.

After welcoming a small number of agents initially, The Conscious Travel Foundation hopes to extend membership to hotels, lodges and destination management companies.

“The response since launching has been really great,” Terrington says.

“There’s been lots of interest from the industry, with loads of support and a number of people who already want to join in. It can be hard as a small company sometimes to know what to do and how to make an impact. As a collective, we hope to do this.”

Related Articles

Comment: Elegant Resorts’ Lisa Fitzell

Strictly Business: Alex Cheatle

Si Morris-Green to welcome Ukrainian mother and daughter