With climate change high on the global news agenda, community tourism pioneer and adventure travel specialist, G Adventures, has made a significant financial investment in restorative travel technology start-up, Reforest, to start taking action via tree-planting.
Reforest, which is based in Brisbane, Australia, is a digital platform connecting travellers with local communities that are actively restoring their ecosystems using reforestation. This enables travellers to give back by having their own trees planted in places where community tourism relies heavily on the preservation of the local environment. The platform will then provide travellers with tangible, visible, scientific data measuring the positive impact of the trees planted on their behalf.
Reforest has also been designed to help travel companies looking to tackle environmental challenges through emission removal to understand their carbon footprint, and then connect them with local projects to support their reforestation efforts. The platform is innovative in the way it converts the hard science of climate action into simple yet compelling personalized interactive experiences for companies’ customers, who can then continue to plant trees themselves.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, says travellers are increasingly looking to ensure their travels have a meaningful impact and tree planting is an effective way to both reverse climate change and support community tourism, a concept Poon Tip pioneered more than 30 years ago.
“The preservation of local environments is critical to supporting community tourism as it helps improve air and water quality for local people, and supports wildlife habitats. Travellers want to see natural beauty, so we need the world’s most beautiful places to be around for as long as possible, and to stay as pristine as possible. The Reforest platform will help us achieve that goal and help combat climate change, as planting trees is one of the easiest ways to help decrease emissions."
“I’ve never been a fan of carbon-offsetting. The idea that you can have a negative impact in one place and do something positive somewhere else, and that somehow balances the scale, is not science to me, and most of all it doesn’t change people’s behaviour. Reforest provides a solution that truly has benefits for the places tourism touches, and presents the results in a way travellers can see the positive change they are enabling. I’m also excited for us to be able to broaden our reach and impact by providing this service to more travel companies,” says Poon Tip.
Daniel Walsh, co-founder of Reforest, says G Adventures’ stake gives the company the means to improve its technology, and expand its offering by marketing the platform more widely within the global travel industry.
“At Reforest we are leading the conversion of hard climate data, for example kg CO2, into visual, understandable measures such as ‘trees planted’. A customer can see the trees a travel company is planting on their behalf and track the cumulative restorative impact of their trip as a result. We apply drone-based footage and satellite imagery to bring ground breaking tangibility to the restoration projects, and offer powerful impact personalization."
“Having G Adventures as an investor provides us with the funding we need to bring our innovative new platform to market. Together we will also create a showcase example of restorative tourism at work as we build the G Adventures’ tree-planting programme together over the coming months."
“The opportunity to support the transition of this industry to become restorative is compelling for me both in terms of the positive impact we can facilitate and the purposeful business models we can help to build as we do so,” says Walsh.