Otago tourism masters graduate Eliza Raymond loves travel but wants it to be meaningful and to do good, so has co-founded a company that focuses on mindful travel experiences.
Her new business GOOD Travel’s vision is to inspire travellers and tourism businesses to transform the travel industry into a force for good, offering themed tours and personalised trips, plus a directory of good hotels, restaurants and tour operators for independent travellers.
Wellington-based Eliza’s role at GOOD Travel includes researching good businesses to add to their directory, and organising trips.
“My goal is to inspire travellers to support socially responsible businesses that are positively contributing to their local community and environment, and at the same time inspire other businesses to change their practices to do good.”
With global tourism generating $1.3 trillion in export earnings in 2012, the potential for the tourism industry to make a positive global impact is huge.
“From my experience living and travelling in developing countries, the first thing you can do to make a difference is to be mindful about how you spend your money - both at home and when you travel.”
Eliza’s passion for travel started as an Otago undergraduate when she undertook an exchange programme at Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Chile. After graduating she worked as an international Programmes Coordinator in Peru, co-ordinating international volunteer programmes.
This was followed by a job at the Global Volunteer Network Foundation in Wellington, as Grants Coordinator and then as Executive Director. She led fundraising treks to Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu, researched good practice in children's homes in Kenya, and set up a volunteer programme in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
She now combines her GOOD Travel role with work as the International Programmes Coordinator for Family Planning, spending time in Kiribati.