Magazine article Geographical
New Horizons: Anita Roddick, Co-Founder of the Body Shop, Is an Outspoken and Active Supporter of Responsible-Travel and Sustainable-Tourism Initiatives. Christian Amodeo Asks Her What She Thinks the Future Holds for This Kind of Travel. (Travel for a Living)
What do you see as the future of the travel industry? What part will the responsible sector play within it?
The tourism industry is just waking up to a new type of curious, thoughtful, culturally and globally aware, and vigilant traveller. These people are fed up with tourism `discovering', exploiting and discarding destinations before moving on to wreck the next unspoilt paradise. Responsible travellers want experiences rather than packages, authenticity rather than superficial exoticism and holidays that put a little bit back into local communities and conservation. This is the future of tourism.
You've been involved with a lot of work `on the ground.' How have you developed a more responsible approach?
I've always enjoyed meeting new people with a totally different world view to my own--in many ways travel has been a university without walls for me. However, during my travels it's been impossible for me to escape the issues of extreme poverty, lack of health care and access to education faced by many communities. My reaction to this has been an unusual one--I've always sought to trade with these communities by buying ingredients or accessories for The Body Shop. Even more unusually, I've tried to ensure good working conditions and to pay a fair price rather than the cheapest price. Finally, we've reconnected the local farmers with high-street consumers by telling the story of how and where the ingredients or accessories were sourced. We call this Community Trade, and it's something the tourism industry could do too.
What are your aims with regard to Western businesses?
I want to shake up all categories of business. I want business to measure itself not just against the profits they generate, but also against their social and environmental impacts. I want business to know that today's consumer is measuring them against this. I'm just off to share my experience of ethical retailing at ABTA's conference in Cairo and will be talking about my travel experiences at the Daily Telegraph Destinations Travel Show at Olympia on 30 January. Finally, I'm supporting Responsibletravel.com.
What personal victories have you had? …