Has Social Awareness Affected Travelling?

Do we know more about the world we live in because of social media?

It seems to me that there’s a correlation between social awareness and global consciousness; the more we know the more we seem care. Due to the rise in social media, people’s perceptions are being challenged every single day, and it’s having a huge effect on the society we live in.

When we log onto Facebook and Twitter we’re greeted with a barrage of activity of what’s going on in the world. Take the recent Boston bombings as an example. How many times did you read the message “Pray for Boston” or “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the tragedy in Boston today”? How many times did it make you think? How many times did it make you say to yourself “I wish I could do something to help…”

You can hide from the news – all you have to do in turn off the TV and not buy a newspaper – but you can’t hide from social media. Every time you log onto social media you’re tapping into this social awareness, this global consciousness, and it’s this rise in the prominence of social media that has affected travelling as we know it.

Long gone are the days of personal and collective irresponsibility; in today’s society people not only want to have a good time when they’re on the road, but they want to make sure they’re doing it in a responsible manner, that they’re doing good. And this isn’t just understanding a particular political conflict in a country or giving money to a beggar. It’s much more than that.

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A number of travel companies have become wise to this and instead of promoting all-inclusive packages they’re now promoting responsible tourism.

One such company is G Adventures. They’ve just set up a new project, aptly titled the G Project, with not-for-profit foundation Planeterra, and they’re encouraging people to submit ideas, no matter what they are, to help solve social and environmental issues at a local level.

Submissions will be collated and showcased on the The G Project website and the four people with the ideas with the greatest potential will be invited to pitch to a panel of high-profile judges in Costa Rica. The person with the idea the judges believe will have the most positive impact will receive a US$25,000 development grant and the backing of Planeterra to bring the project to life.

Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of G Adventures, said: “The G Project is more than traveller philanthropy or charitable giving. It’s a unique initiative designed to bring people from different backgrounds together to lead, build and foster positive change all over the world.

“The G Project was devised as a means to help and enable aspiring change-makers to take their idea from conception to action and impact.”

There’s no doubt about it, this is great awareness for G Adventures and Planeterra, but a local community will directly benefit from such a project, and with the backing of US$25,000 that’s going to have quite an impact. Not only that, I have no doubt in my mind that a number of the other ideas will also be implemented over time. As Poon Tip says, positive changes will occur all over the world, and as long as we’re tapped into this social awareness then we’re going to be in for one hell of a ride.

This is just one example of how social media and travel companies are directly affecting the world in which we live in, and that can only be a good thing… the question is, what’s next?

This article was published on the Huffington Post.

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