On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast we talk about traveling responsibly in Asia and how adventure travel can make it possible for travelers to be more responsible UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4aa8while on holiday in Asia. The reality is that international travel, once only accessible by society’s most upwardly-mobile, has opened up to hundreds of millions of travelers in recent decades. Growing economies, budget airlines and easing of visa restrictions are some of the main drivers. But with increased numbers comes an urgent need to educate travelers about how we travel to ensure we don’t permanently damage the very places we’re exploring to ensure there’s still a world to travel, in the coming decades. On this episode we chat with an expert, Adventure Travel Trade Association CEO Shannon Stowell, about the subject and focus on how we can travel responsibly.

Scott and Trevor talk about how many of our episodes this year have focused on responsible travel, the environment and generally how to travel with low impact. Interestingly, this recurrent theme seems to have happened by accident, though it is a pretty good indication of top issues in travel right now, as well as the personal passions of both Trevor and Scott. 

Scott and Trevor introduce the episode discussing the following:UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_373b

  • Why we’re interested in these topics. Just respect for the land. You wouldn’t do it at home. These places become our homes often. The earth is our home. Hate to get all preachy telling people of other cultures what they should or should not do, but we all need to work together to make the world a better place. Even on vacation.
  • Changes we’ve seen in travel in Asia over tenure in the region. Grand Palace, Angkor Wat, Kyoto, rubbish in the mountains, etc. beaches.
  • Why we’re concerned. – if we don’t as humans take some dramatic steps in the next 5-10 years, many places that are celebrated now are going to be totally destroyed.
  • Campaigns/plights we’re interested in: no straws, less plastic, refillable water and bottles, responsible animal tourism, respecting locals and involving them in tourism, overtourism.


Guest Intro: Shannon Stowell

Our guest today is Shannon Stowell, CEO of the US-based Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)  which he restarted in 2004. He’s spent a lifetime working in travel in one form or another, including authoring a book published by National Geographic and has been widely published in travel magazines around the world. In addition he’s currently on the boards of the Corporate Advisory Council of the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund.His May 2018 TED Talk, Change the world … take a vacation, caught our attention and he joins us by Skype from Seattle.

Listen to episode 83 to hear Shannon’s answers the following questions:

  • Shannon, tell us a bit about your background in tourism, prior to restarting ATTA in 2004?
  • What peaked your interested in ATTA?
  • What does ATTA do?
  • You’re particularly focused on Adventure Travel? How do you define that?
  • As a subset of travel, is Adventure Travel a growing segment in Asia?
  • Is that good?
  • What are some of the highlights of Adventure Travel in Asia?
  • How does adventure travel benefit local communities in Asia?
  • What are the most pressing issues in the Adventure Travel space, specifically in Asia?
  • What should travelers consider and be conscious of when booking an adventure tour in Asia?
  • What are some of the most common mistakes adventure travelers make that negatively impact the areas and communities they visit?
  • What are some of the most impactful steps adventure travelers can take to ensure their Asian holiday is one that benefits all?
  • What are some of the most promising Asian destinations for Adventure travel and why?
  • Tell us about one of your most memorable Asian travel experiences.
  • How can people learn more about how to travel responsibly?


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