Travel more for a sustainable future? How the transformative properties of tourism play a pivotal role in sustainability.

☀️ Introduction ☀️

We all know that the majority of current tourism is inherently unsustainable, it’s not only a massive contributor to environmental degradation but social and cultural too. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, however, tourism has unique transformative properties which can play a pivotal role in achieving a sustainable future!

This quick article will cover:

  • Educating for sustainability & behavioural change
  • The attitude-behaviour gap and why we don’t ‘walk the talk’
  • Transformative learning and tourism
  • Educational tourism for sustainability

☀️ Body ☀️

So it may sound contradictory that tourism is vital for sustainability, but hear me out!

So far, progress towards a sustainable future has proven to be slow and extremely challenging. The UN states that at the heart of our efforts to adapt, to change, and to transform the world for the better, is education.

Educating for sustainability, however, is really difficult – it not only needs to inform but also to drive behavioural change. Frustratingly, most of our current teaching around sustainability neglect the socio-emotional processes which underpin our behaviour.

As a consequence, we have created a massive mismatch between our attitudes around sustainability and our actual behaviours: we tell our friends we think sustainability is important, but many of our unsustainable behaviours continue as usual. Basically we don’t “walk the talk”.

This issue is known as the attitude-behaviour gap, a phenomenon whereby positive attitudes fail to translate into positive behaviours. It’s suggested that this gap is due to a social desirability bias – that we often overstate the strengths of our beliefs in order to appear more socially acceptable. 

? So how do we bridge this gap and turn our words into action?

Well, one of the best ways is through an educational technique called transformative learning. Transformative learning techniques are perfect for educating about sustainability as they not only aim to inform but they also address how we act on our beliefs.

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The best way to facilitate transformative learning is by being exposed to new cultures, opinions and experiences; as such tourism presents an ideal environment.

Research has shown that the novelty associated with travelling to new places, observing foreign cultures, and participating in non-routine activities provide unique opportunities for self-exploration which can serve as vehicles for personal transformation and long-lasting behavioural change

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Photo: Sustainable tourism company Kogelo Tours

Linking tourism with opportunities to learn about sustainability could therefore increase the likelihood of us ‘walking the talk’ and facilitate the long-lasting behavioural change we need for a sustainable future.

In addition, if done right, these changes could also increase the sustainability of the whole tourism industry! One way of achieving this is by creating authentic and engaging educational opportunities that help support and serve the local communities and environments around which a company operates. 

Kogelo Tours, a sustainable tourism company which operates in Kenya, is a fantastic example of how to deliver quality travel experiences that drive positive behavioural change while also supporting the local communities.

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Photo: A life changing trip to Kenya with Kogelo Tours

Side bonus – these opportunities can help enhance the travel experience and offer a competitive advance for those who implement such changes. Educational and cultural tourism experiences are now becoming popular options for many individuals. Research has shown that educational and cultural trips in particular are becoming popular with the older adult market with large disposable incomes

? If you’re interested to learn more or if you want to create similar opportunities for sustainable education at your hotel, resort or lodge, feel free to reach out by popping me a direct message > Becky Fox

? References ?

Wamsler, C. 2020: Education for sustainability Fostering a more conscious society and transformation towards sustainability:

UNESCO 2015: Rethinking Education: Towards A Global Common Good?, UNESCO, Paris:

Higgins-Desbiolles 2020: Socialising tourism for social and ecological justice after COVID-19:

Lück 2015: Education on marine mammal tours – But what do tourists want to learn:

4. Pan et al 2018: Advances and challenges in sustainable tourism toward a green economy:

Pitman et al 2010: Transformative learning in educational tourism:

Kirillova et al 2017: Tourism and Existential Transformation: An Empirical Investigatio:

Kim et al 2016: Green practices of the hotel industry: Analysis through the windows of smart tourism system:

Sie 2016: Towards an understanding of older adult educational tourism through the development of a three-phase integrated framework:


E4: Camp Glenorchy voted world’s top 100 greatest places to stay

Travel post-covid? This is really how we should be travelling and the types of tourism operators we should support in the future.

Camp Glenorchy: S


Times Top 100:…

About the owners:…

Islandwood in Seattle:


E3: Chatting To The Most Luxurious Sustainable Resort in the World

Chatting with Soneva Resort in the Maldives about how to balance luxury and sustainability. Thank you so much to Arnfinn and Soneva for their time and I hope you find the conversation as interesting as I did!

Podcast Uncategorized

E2: Raglan Coconut Yoghurt!

I love Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, not just for the taste but also for their approaches to environmental and social issues in sustainability! I sat down with them to find out more 🙂

Thank you so much to Tesh and Raglan Coconut Yoghurt for taking the time to sit down and talk to me! I hope you guys find this video as interesting as I did 🙂 Raglan Coconut Yoghurt:


My Second Brain!

Following on from my post about making time for everything including time off I thought I would share my second brain so you can build your own.

If you’re unsure how to build your own you can check our my resource section for some templates!


How To Make Time For Everything (including enjoying time off!)


This article will go over how to make time for everything that is important to you! Which should include time for guilt-free rest.

This article is not trying to promote getting MORE done, or working 24/7. The aim of this article is to help you feel more empowered and to have more control over your time, increase time off and decrease stress.

So, here are my six tips on how to make time for everything that is important to you.

1. Build A Second Brain.

A second brain is basically an uber to-do list. A place where you can down load your brain in an organised way. Think of a filing cabinet filled with all the things you need to remember.

“Research on distributed cognition proves that your brain is great at thinking and having ideas, but not great at remembering them. Studies show that unfinished goals, actions, and projects (a.k.a. open loops) weigh heavily on your mind, decreasing your clarity and ability to focus.” Getting Things Done by David Allen

Second brains can be made using old-school pen and paper, but I recommend finding some software that works for you. I use Notion, but you could also use a simpler platform like Monday or Asana.

Here is a post on how I structure my second brain – LINK and you can find some pre-made templates on my resource pages

You can also check out

2. Priorities Tasks

Now that you have all your tasks out of your head and in your second brain, you’ll want to give them some weight as to how important they are to you or your work. This can be a simple as labelling them as “urgent, high, or low”

During this process you will probably find tasks that are not actually a priority or are not helping you towards your personal or professional goals. These tasks should be removed or put aside for reviewing.

“People often prioritise work that shows up by default, just doing what’s in front of them and seemingly urgent. But that approach leaves them feeling behind, not in control, and bothered by every interruption.” Getting Things Done by David Allen

Weighing tasks and removing things which are not a priority is also a vital part of being able to get everything done that is truly important to you. Check out Oliver Burkeman’s book “Four Thousand Weeks” where he discusses a realistic approach to time management and getting things done in our short finite lives of 4000 weeks.

3. Time Block

Most people will make a to-do list but never go any further. This massive list, however can be really overwhelming. The list also fails to show how long each task may take or when they will occur.

“Research shows that the most effective way to achieve goals is through implementation intentions, or making a plan that includes the necessary actions and the contexts for completing them.” Getting Things Done by David Allen

By time-blocking and scheduling your to do list on your calendar it will not only help keep you accountable in completing them, but it will also prevent you from under or over scheduling yourself.

“time-blocking makes you more consciously aware of your workload, so you can make well-informed decisions about whether or not to make future agreements.” Getting Things Done by David Allen

When you time-block your tasks on your calendar, be sure to add the hardest and most important tasks at the start of the day when you have the cognitive ability to deal with it.

4. Be Specific

When you are entering your tasks from your to-do list onto your calendar, make sure to be very specific about what it is you need to do.

We all suffer from decision fatigue, and vague simple tasks can easily become overwhelming when there are not clear actions for how to complete them, and as such we can end up avoid them.

Instead of writing down in your calendar “work”, try breaking it down into the smaller actions you will actually be doing such as “check policy and send back to David” or “email the accountant for tax return”

This way when you come to that task in your calendar you wont be faced with needing to make any decision and can simply follow the instructions laid out.

5. Don’t multi-task!

Multi-tasking feels good but having a lot of things on the go – lots of tabs open, multiple active conversations or emails, is actually a really big waste of time and we just end up doing a lot of things badly.

Research from Stanford has shown that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. This is because when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.

Instead of multitasking, try and focus on one task at time. Use your second brain to see what is the one most important thing to do that day, time block it in and focus on it until it’s done. It may feel strange at first to focus on one thing and leave others unfinished in the back ground, but you will get so much more done in the long run. And as long as you have your second brain organised, you can relax knowing you wont forget what needs to be done next. Check out The One Thing by Gary Keller

Sometimes it can be difficult, however, to focus on one thing at time when we have multiple tasks with the same deadline. For example we could have four reports all due in a months time. When this occurs you will want to split the reports and give them new personal deadlines. The first report will have a deadline for one weeks time, the second in two weeks, the third in three etc.

6. Taking time off and actually enjoying it!

With the construction of your second brain, a clearly prioritised to-do list and time-blocked tasks that you are focusing on one at a time, you should find you have freed up a bunch of time.

(I like to imagine this working in a similar way to how we used to run the disk defragmenter on our computer hard drives; consolidating items and freeing up more space!)

As a bonus, not only will you have more time, you should have more enjoyable time without any nagging feelings of tasks that need doing as everything is nicely filed away in your second brain and scheduled into your calendar.

“When you feel in control of your life and your to-do list, you can be present in each moment without the nagging feeling that there’s something else you should be doing. You can only feel confident about what you’re doing if you also feel confident about what you’re not doing at any given moment.” Getting Things Done by David Allen

A word of warning – don’t fall into the trap of becoming more productive and then taking on more work! Oliver Burkeman in his book Four Thousand Weeks warns that increased productivity can easily lead to increased work load, for example the quicker we clear our inbox the faster we receive replies.

So make sure if you are strategic with you new-found free time, schedule it on your calendar and be sure to enjoy it. Remember work smarter, not harder or longer!

PS: Dont leave your second brain to become stagnant, make sure you clean it out every now and then. Check your priorities haven’t changed and update tasks if it has. Clean out tasks that have been done and input new ones to be scheduled and time blocked.

Books and resources mentioned in this post

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential by Tiago Forte