After a year of slowing down, we’ve discovered a newfound appreciation for slower travel with an emphasis on responsible and sustainable travel efforts. We caught up with Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director of the Globus family of brands, to find out how travelers can help make travel matter.
Q: Tell us a bit about Globus family of brands and the types of trips the company offers.
The Globus family of brands consists of Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways. Together, these award-winning travel companies offer wayfarers and wanderers unparalleled tours, independent vacation packages and river- and small-ship cruise vacations. With more than 90 years of international travel experience, the Globus family of brands is dedicated to enriching the lives of travelers by turning foreign destinations into familiar harbors where the expense of travel is forgotten and replaced by invaluable experiences.
Q: How is Globus family of brands working to include more travel-conscious trips for responsible travelers?
For nearly a century, the Globus family of brands has cast a light on the world’s most fascinating places and people. Along the way, we’ve helped travelers uncover ancient traditions while meeting the locals dedicated to preserving them; to walk historic hallways while giving back to the societies that safeguard them and to put down guidebooks while picking-up a greater understanding of the world and its people. We’ve done this while also investing in the planet, preserving sacred places and helping humankind.
And, while nothing is more exciting than tracing the paths of historic legends, nothing is more rewarding than doing so with the most minimal footprint.
The Globus family of brands is making every effort to conserve and preserve each destination … to protect waterways and wildlife while shining a light on organizations that do the same. With The Lighthouse Project, we’re not only casting a light on a sea of needs, we’re inviting fellow travelers to get involved – on trip and at home.
Q: How does The Lighthouse Project choose which nonprofit organizations to spotlight each month?
We officially launched The Lighthouse Project on Earth Day and chose The Ocean Cleanup – a global non-profit organization that is spearheading the largest cleanup in history to rid our oceans and rivers of harmful pollution – as our first spotlight organization. We have been proud partners with The Ocean Cleanup for a couple of years and felt compelled to place them in the limelight for our launch, wanting to raise awareness of their great work and give people an opportunity to support their efforts around Earth Day.
Over the coming months, we will spotlight other organizations we work with – and those we visit on tours or river cruises – in timely and relevant ways. We will update our focus and help raise awareness of other needs on a monthly basis.
Q: Is it possible for group travel to also be sustainable and responsible?
Group travel with Globus family of brands (escorted tours and river cruises) provides globetrotters a sustainable and responsible way to see the world.
Touring: As the inventors of “carpooling,” we believe, wholeheartedly, that touring is a responsible, sustainable way to see the world. Globus and Cosmos are advocates for the destinations we visit. When we visit busy “must-see” sites, we strive for balance – for the attractions and our guests. Professional local guides schedule small groups – often at less busy times – to manage our traveler flow and ensure any and all local guidelines are met. These guides also take our travelers through each place in an effort to go against the flow and share behind-the-scenes stories and insights to help our travelers care about and connect with the destinations they explore.
In highly trafficked areas, the Globus family of brands has diversified excursion offerings, taking guests on cobblestones less traveled via foodie walking tours, painting classes, cooking lessons, hiking, biking and canoeing. And, while we take small groups to the world’s most popular places, in the past two years, we have also introduced a series of off-the-beaten-path itineraries, inviting travelers to explore and experience more of the world.
In addition, Globus now offers off-season Escapes to the world’s most popular destinations, helping balance the flow of traveler traffic, while continuing to positively contribute to the local economy year-round.
River Cruising: The vibrant and beautiful natural surroundings of the world’s rivers are a benefit of river cruising. And, Avalon Waterways is dedicated to preserving this precious environment. In the last decade, we have made great strides investing in a state-of-the-art fleet of Suite Ships and top-of-the-line technology to limit energy, consumption and emissions plus waste and recycling programs to reduce our environmental footprint, save water and foster a sustainability culture among crew and guests worldwide.
In the past two years, we have also:
- Eliminated single-use plastics onboard our ships and at operations offices, worldwide.
- Partnered with The Ocean Cleanup, including supporting its efforts to deploy 1,000 interceptors in rivers across the globe that will eliminate the flow of plastics from entering the world’s oceans.
- Reduced paper waste by 80% onboard by favoring digital communications.
- Invested in local farmers to secure locally produced food and beverages, reducing food miles while supporting local economies.
- Worked with dozens of ports to obtain shore energy while docked.
And, in the next two years, our plans include:
- Reducing paper waste to less than 1%.
- Piloting a program to use bio-fuel, aiming to reduce total carbon emissions by 50%.
- Utilizing electric bow thrusters to further reduce emissions.
- Partnering with more destinations to generate sustainable electricity for use while docked.
And, by 2027, Avalon Waterways plans to unveil the first, fully electric river cruise vessel.
The “green” blueprint Avalon Waterways has created will deliver unprecedented, environmentally friendly vacations for guests for many years to come.
Q: How has Globus family of brands changed its offerings in response to the pandemic?
We have used this “time-off” to diversify our offerings for travelers. In touring, we have introduced Small-Group Discovery departures across the globe. We have also unveiled more “Undiscovered” tours that take travelers off-the-beaten-path – including a set of NEW vacations in North America. And, we created – and revealed a whole new way to tour – a you way to tour – with Choice Touring by Globus featuring incredible, flexible itineraries throughout Europe and North America. In Canada, we also unveiled more itineraries for Canadians to explore our own beautiful backyard.
For Avalon Waterways, we’ve unveiled more Active & Discovery cruise itineraries – across all major European waterways. On these special, innovative sailings, cruisers can customize their vacation from start-to-finish with an average of 23 included excursions from which to personalize their experience. We have also unveiled a new Storyteller Series of cruises, inviting travelers to sail with world-famous storytellers including Diana Gabaldon, Cheryl Strayed, Gillian Flynn, Candace Bushnell, Christopher Moore and Edwin McCain.
And, of course, we updated health and safety protocols for both tours and river cruises to ensure responsible and safe vacations for travelers. Before embarking on our vacations, for instance, travelers must show proof of vaccination or proof of immunity or a negative Covid-19 test result (taken within 72-hours of travel). Working with our global health & safety team, we have also invested in enhanced cleaning protocols and, of course, are requiring social distancing and mask-wearing, when the situation calls for it. Those “Trust in Touring” details are expansive and can be found here. Our “Cruise with Confidence” protocols and standards can be found here.
Q: BONUS: For travelers looking to make travel matter, which one thing do you recommend?
Outside of traveling in a sustainable, responsible way – with travel companies that share those values – travelers can choose to go down cobblestones-less-traveled to discover – and support – more of the world with the benefit of personal, authentic and immersive connections.
Image Credit: Globus family of brands