Why Sustainable Travel Matters to Classic Journeys
You make a real and happy difference in the places you visit on a Classic Journeys vacation.
Sustainable Travel Matters
At Classic Journeys, our founder Edward Piegza has always seen the travel industry as a force for good. When Edward started the company in 1995, it was right around the same time as the Kilometer Zero food movement. That looks like less of a coincidence now, considering that what propelled the farm-to-table movement in Italy was the desire for minimal transportation from the farm to the restaurant or store, keeping the food fresh and local, while also minimizing the impact on the environment. At Classic Journeys, we took that a step further by applying the Kilometer Zero philosophy to all aspects of a tour: exploring on foot, staying at locally-owned hotels, visiting with local artisans and craftsmen, dining at locally-owned restaurants, and leading all of the companies’ tours with expert local guides.
That Kilometer Zero approach to tour operations has earned us accolades for the quality of our tours, but even more, it’s meant that all of the revenue from our guests has been invested in the regions where we operate trips. This stands in stark contrast to some of our most significant competitors that utilize a model of flying in guides or staying at global hotel brands. “Industrial tourism certainly offers a higher margin on every guest,” says Edward. “But we saw an underserved segment of travelers who wanted to redefine group travel; first to a small group, then to the micro group. And the smaller we make our groups, the more access we’re able to offer them. Large wineries can be replaced by little vineyards. Restaurants with parking to accommodate motor coaches can be replaced with private homes. And that money flows right into the pockets of the local people.”
Kilometer Zero works hand in glove with sustainable travel at Classic Journeys in that both are based on a leave no footprints approach; whether it be to food or people. Edward sees the next stage in creating a better, more sustainable travel industry for the future by leading the way into regenerative travel. He explains, “It used to be the best we could contemplate was ‘leave no footprints.” Now, that goal has been replaced and elevated to ‘plant a seed.’” To accomplish the goal of leaving a place better than you found it, Classic Journeys has been partnering with local organizations to support women’s economic empowerment and children’s education in second and third-world countries where we operate our trips. Says Edward, “We saw a chance to raise the bar for what travel could do. Our travelers didn’t just want a way to leave a place as they found it. They wanted to help make it better for future generations. We could see no better way to do that than to educate children and to help women become independent economically.”
Giving Back While Touring The World
Knowing shepherds, village elders and chefs is good business.
Local tourism is what we’re all about at Classic Journeys. We put our pesos, dirhams, and euros into the pockets of the folks who live where we travel. From tour leaders to glacier guides to truffle hunters, village elders to geishas, llama herders to gelato makers, restaurateurs to hoteliers, we work with the local people to support their livelihoods. It’s your guarantee that you’ll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person business dealings help sustain their ways of life. These wonderful friends reciprocate by welcoming you into their worlds.
We have soft spots for childhood education and women’s economic issues.
You’ll find that we have a special affection for tiny village schools in regions from the Peruvian Andes to the Mekong Delta. So that you can be a part of the experience, we suggest supplies that will make meaningful and useful presents to the students. As a company, we directly donate resources to the schools. We’re also proud to support community programs and women’s collectives around the world. Many of them work to preserve traditional crafts and folkways as diverse as weaving or the harvest and processing of argan oil in rural Morocco. Your explorations with Classic Journeys help to preserve the past and positively shape the future of developing countries.