5:30 – 7:30pm, September 19th 2023
5:30 – 7:30pm, September 19th 2023
The power of travel as a force for good is undeniable. To build bridges, melt egos, challenge stereotypes, protect ecosystems, and bolster economies. But what about the power of the individual? For so long travelers have found themselves asking how one person can make a difference.
Join us in person during Climate Week 2023 for a panel discussion with four travel industry experts and change makers, moderated by travel expert and writer, Jessica Nabongo, as we bring together five unique and deeply experienced voices to discuss the power and agency that individual travelers have to turn the switches, move the dials, and catalyse positive change within the travel industry.
Tuesday September 19th, 2023
5h30 – 7h30pm
Museum of Arts and Design
Jerome and Simona Chazen Building, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
Five voices come together to discuss the influence and impact that travelers can have when using their voice and agency to catalyze positive change within the travel industry; shifting status quos and taking world travel to new horizons.
Jessica Nabongo is a global citizen, master storyteller, and travel expert, who is the first black woman to have traveled to every country in the world. She is the author of best-seller The Catch Me If You Can published by National Geographic, and a celebrated keynote speaker known for her TED Talk The World is Our Neighborhood.
Named one of the 50 Most Notable People in Travel, by Travel and Leisure, Jessica uses her platforms to educate and inspire others to experience the world around them and build a global community, with an emphasis on bringing untold stories to the world.
From an early age, Jessica developed a deep appreciation for exploration and cultural exchange. Her upbringing in a Ugandan immigrant family fostered a strong connection to her African roots, instilling in her a desire to showcase the beauty, resilience, and diversity of the African continent. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in English from St. John’s University in New York City, Jessica embarked on a remarkable journey to redefine the concept of global travel.
In 2009, Jessica launched The Catch Me If You Can, which serves as a platform for sharing her travel experiences, inspiring others, and challenging the stereotypes associated with travel and race. Through her platform, she emphasizes the importance of responsible tourism, sustainability, and cultural sensitivity. Jessica believes that travel can be a powerful tool for fostering understanding, breaking down barriers, and promoting global citizenship.
Follow her at @jessicanabongo
Amanda is a Chinese American, New York-based brand strategist, travel expert, community builder and change-maker committed to help the travel, tourism and hospitality sector become a force for regeneration and healing.
Representing a leading voice in the travel industry, Amanda is recognized for her commitment to making travel a force for positive change. As the Co-founder & CEO of Regenerative Travel, Amanda has spearheaded a global movement towards regenerative tourism. Regenerative Travel is a travel company that helps travelers, hotels and the travel industry develop a regenerative mindset and foster positive change to create a more equitable future through education, advocacy, and collaboration. Under her leadership, Regenerative Travel has built an association of hotels and travel agencies that are committed to environmental and social responsibility.
Before co-founding Regenerative Travel, Amanda was the founder of a multi-media lifestyle publication where she honed her craft as a storyteller & producer for luxury hospitality, real estate and lifestyle brands with a passion for sustainability.
Follow her at @amandahonyc
Javier has more than two decades experience in the travel and media industries. He is currently Vice President of Sustainability at Virtuoso after almost two years as General Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prior to joining Virtuoso, he founded and ran Travesias Media for 20 years up until 2021. As founder of Travesías Media he had a hand in creating one of the leading luxury travel media brands in Latin America – as well as Gatopardo, Local.mx, travel guides, books, apps, and websites.
His experience includes working with leading global brands from the luxury and travel segments as well as tourism boards on content and experiential projects in multiple languages. He also launched and ran Club Travesias for 6 years: an experiential membership club focused on arts, design, architecture, archaeology, history, food and travel. Javier is also co-founder of T Journeys, a boutique travel agency. He is an Endeavor entrepreneur and mentor and a member of the board of PAC-Patronato de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City.
Follow him at @_javier_arredondo_
One of the world’s top sustainable tourism experts; Costas served as National Geographic Senior Advisor for Sustainability; helped establish UN Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria; author of “Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism’s Global Footprint.”
An ecotourism pioneer, Costas Christ helped to establish and officially define ecotourism for the first time more than 30 years ago as, “Responsible travel to natural areas that protects nature and sustains the well being of local people.” In 2023, Costas was inducted as a Fellow of The Explorer’s Club, founded in 1904, joining a roster of some of the most renowned explorers in the world, including Sir Edmond Hilary, Jacques Cousteau, Buzz Aldrin, and Amelia Earhart. Costas is also a co-founder and member of the Steering Committee of the Blue Climate Initiative, bringing together innovators, community leaders, scientists, investors and global experts through evidence-based action to address climate change. His travels have taken him to more than 140 countries across six continents, and his life’s work to transform tourism into a force for good has been featured in two award-winning films, including the 2022 feature documentary, The Last Tourist. He has served as a strategic advisor to heads of state, travel corporations, conservation organizations and non profit associations, connecting tourism to the protection of natural and cultural heritage and community-based economic development.
His National Geographic column, Tales From The Frontier, was the recipient of multiple awards, including best travel writer. Costas was recognized with legendary conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall, celebrated Oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Philanthropist and conservationist Ted Turner, for his life’s work to save the planet. NBC News said: “For the past 30 years, Costas Christ been at the leading edge of the green travel movement, since way before it was ever called green or even a movement.”
Costas is the lead author of Transformational Opportunities: Tourism and Conservation (BCI 2022), Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism’s Global Footprint (UNEP 2003), and a co-author of Wilderness: Earth’s Last Wild Places (CI 2004), Transboundary Conservation: A New Vision for Protected Areas (CEMEX 2005), and Echoes of Bhutan (Schaffer 2017). Costas’ articles and essays have also appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, and Times of London, among others. His television and radio appearances include Good Morning America, Travel Channel, BBC World, CNN International, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Weekend and National Public Radio.
Tshewang Wangchuk is the Executive Director of the Bhutan Foundation.
After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, he returned to Bhutan and worked for the Bhutan Government’s Nature Conservation Division. He was actively involved in its extensive protected area management system as one of the first Park Managers in the country. Later, he coordinated WWF International’s Global Tiger Program covering many tiger-range states in Asia from 2003-2005. For his doctoral research in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana, he traversed the mountains of Bhutan collecting snow leopard scat for genetic analyses. He continues to stay connected with the many mountain communities he has visited over the years. Tshewang is also the first National Geographic Explorer from Bhutan, a member of the Explorers Club, and serves on the board of the Snow Leopard Conservancy.
5:30 – 5:45pm
Nicole Robinson, CMO of andBeyond
5:45 – 6:30pm
From Traveler to Change Maker: Unleashing your power for positive change
Amanda Ho, Co-founder & CEO Regenerative Travel
Javier Arredondo, VP Sustainability, Virtuoso
Costas Christ, Blue Climate Initiative
Tshewang Wangchuk, Bhutan Foundation
6:30 – 7:30pm
Even the smallest stone
makes ripples in the pond
In the spirit of sharing our knowledge, as well as inspiring and educating others, we bring together some of the top experts in the fields of conservation and sustainability to discuss a wide range of topics that are relevant to today’s world.
Missed our other live events? Here’s your chance to catch up.