Interview: Eliza Raymond (GoodTravel)

In this quick chat, we speak to Eliza Raymond, co-founder of GoodTravel, a voluntary tourism agency in New Zealand and one of our early partners!

Bee+ Hive: Tell us a little about yourself? 

Eliza: Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be an ‘explorer’. I have always been fascinated by other countries and cultures, and I feel happiest when I am traveling. 

Bee + Hive: Why and how did you get involved with tourism?

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to travel and I have been interested in how travellers can make a positive impact when we travel. I did my Masters in Tourism at the University of Otago in New Zealand looking into good practice in volunteer tourism. I then worked for seven years with different volunteer tourism organisations in Peru and New Zealand. I loved my experiences with these organisations, but I felt that perhaps there could be a better alternative to volunteer tourism for short-term travelers wanting to make a difference. I subsequently co-founded GOOD Travel with three wonderful friends from Peru, South Africa and the USA.

Bee + Hive: What do you think of the “transformative travel” trend?

Eliza: I feel excited and hopeful about the transformative travel trend. I think travellers are demanding more from their travel experiences because they are recognising the value of connecting with local people, experiencing new cultures and learning while they travel. Tourism businesses specialising in transformative travel experiences also have an opportunity to develop experiences that have a positive impact on the places they visit. This is important from a sustainability perspective and it also provides a more unique and authentic experience for travellers.

Bee + Hive: Who’s responsible for spreading the word about sustainable tourism – tourism businesses or travellers?

Eliza: Both. Travellers are responsible for generating demand for sustainable tourism, spending their money at GOOD tourism businesses and taking the time to learn about the local culture and environment. Tourism businesses are responsible for continuously working to improve their practices in order to protect the places and people their businesses rely on. GOOD Travel’s focus is on travellers. We aim to inspire travellers to make a positive impact when they travel and we provide the information and connections to help them achieve this. We provide a GOOD Travel blog with tips on how to be a GOOD traveller, we offer GOOD trips that have been carefully designed to ensure the local community, economy and environment benefit, and we will soon be launching GOOD traveller memberships!

Bee + Hive: What do you love about travel?

Eliza: Everything! I love the way that travel helps me to be completely present. When I am traveling, I feel a different sense of awareness and connection. The most memorable parts of any trip for me are always to do with the people I meet during my journey. I have met the majority of my closest friends (and husband!) while traveling and I think this is because travel forces you to be completely yourself and to often share highly memorable experiences. The thing I value most in my life is experiences, and when you travel you get so many unique, surprising and often hilarious experiences that you’ll never forget!