WHAT MAKES A HERO? Uncovering the unsung changemakers of the ecotourism industry
When you hear the word ‘hero,’ what’s the first thing that springs to mind?
Is it a Marvel comic, this Mariah Carey song, or perhaps someone in your family who’s had a significant impact on your life?
We thought it was an interesting question and decided to run a little office poll to see how similar – or different – people’s opinions on the topic might be. Here are the responses:
- A hero is a person who stands up for what they believe in
- A hero is an ideal person, someone you can look up to
- A hero is a national hero
- A hero is a superhero
- A hero is a passionate, driven person doing positive things to help others
Delving deeper, the interwebs are expectedly well stocked with varying definitions of the word hero, with adaptations typically including such words as courage, ability, nobility, achievement, bravery and other admirable adjectives.
Interestingly, the origins of the word go back a very long way – all the way to the 14th Century, in fact, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary*. Back then, heroes referred to people of superhuman strength or physical courage or, even more noteworthy perhaps (at least for the purposes of this article), to people seen as defenders or protectors.
Why is this interesting, you ask? And more importantly: why am I reading about this in an Ecotourism Australia article?
Well – we’re glad you asked!
This month, and all the way until May, we’re going to be running a very special series that we’re calling Everyday Ecotourism Heroes. We want to use this series to highlight the changemakers; the passionate people who push everyone else to do better, to think outside the box, to take action. They’re the defenders and protectors, as it were. The ones who are truly passionate about delivering environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism.
We have close to 500 certified tourism operators right around the country and many of them have created initiatives which have made, and continue to make, an enormously positive impact on their local environment and community. All these initiatives were started by someone and are driven by someone who truly cares. Sadly, we believe these instigators are not celebrated often enough, nor are their projects known.
We want to change that – not only to show off what an amazing bunch of tourism businesses we get to work with every day, but also to inspire others to think outside the box when they consider running or booking travel experiences.
There are better ways to do things, and tourism can be a catalyst for positive change for our planet and its people. It’s our everyday ecotourism heroes which are making this change happen. One by one.
We look forward to sharing their stories with you.
*Etymology is the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.
Are you a certified operator with a hero story to tell? Contact us to get involved in this series.
Want to know more about travelling with a certified operator? Check out our Green Travel Guide.