Australia’s most popular TV presenter, Costa Georgiadis, believes travel professionals are in the box seat to enact positive, environmental change in the world.
Delivering his keynote address at Travel DAZE on Wednesday in Sydney, Gardening Australia’s Logie-award-winning presenter said travel professionals as influencers are in a prime position to impact positive change in the world – but only if they’re authentic.
“What you offer people is either sustainable or it’s single-use consumption, and there’s lots of ways your influence can change the narrative,” he said.
“You are the frontline in this changing world, whether you kind of realise it or not.
“Your industry is not a niche player – it’s a big player when it comes to influence, but more so from my point-of-view, impact.”
While Georgiadis wants big businesses to phase-out single-use products, become more environmentally aware and promote local communities, he believes the real force for change comes from the authenticity of the individuals working for these companies.
He’s calling for travel professionals, as individuals, to live and breathe the values they enshrine in “mission statements” to “say ‘no’ to convenience” and embrace the power of “sending a message” with simple acts of kindness.
“Convenience is the biggest weight around our necks if we really want to take on this new paradigm moving ahead,” he told Travel DAZE attendees.
This means doing something as simple as using reusable coffee cups and cutlery, or even recycled toilet paper, and saying ‘no’ to single-use consumption. Because, as Georgiadis pointed out, “If we’re gonna talk a sustainability narrative … you have to live that.”
“Each and every one of you are a different aspect of a collective … and I think that’s where you can really start to push the parcel so that it’s not just ‘ships in the night’ – it’s currents, waves … building this narrative at each and every level.”
He added that travel professionals have a part to play in shifting the negative, nihilistic sustainability narrative by choosing to sell tours and partner with businesses that endorse the travel agent’s personal values.
“Ask yourself what you’re advertising to these different groups … but understand that the billboards that you bring in become you,” Georgiadis said.
That could mean questioning whether to send a client to places that aren’t sustainable, asking suppliers to be more environmentally aware and partnering with small businesses to “give corporate gifting the bird”, according to the TV presenter.
He also called for travel professionals to promote local communities, whether through small business partnerships, farmstead visits, or community garden projects, echoing fellow Travel DAZE keynote speaker Bob Brown in urging travellers to “promote visitor understanding” and a celebration of nature.
Kudos to all the sponsors for Travel DAZE 2019, which you can check out below…