ONLINE startup Cohica Travel recently launched the world’s first blueprint for sustainable travel, providing country specific how-to guides and listings of where to stay, eat and visit that support responsible tourism.
Speaking to the founders in Paris, Ryan Matthews and Megan Hardesty will travel to Africa, South America, and Central America within the next four months to add to a destination list that includes Europe and Asia.
“Our goal is to change the way people travel,” Matthews says. “Sustainable travel is more than being environmentally aware, it’s also about making a positive contribution to the places you visit.
Cohica Travel was founded earlier this year when Matthews and Hardesty made the decision to leave their management positions at Adecco (on-site at Google) in San Francisco and the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui to travel around the world. With a shared background in sustainable business development, marketing and journalism, they blogged about their personal travel experiences before launching the sustainable travel website.
“It wasn’t until we were traveling that we saw a need for a complete sustainable travel resource,” Hardesty told Conscious Travel Mag.
“After visiting some very impoverished areas, we began seeking out businesses and organizations that are making positive environmental and social contributions to their communities. We were instantly inspired to share this information with other travelers.”
In addition to sustainable how-to guides and listings, the website includes feature stories on businesses and organizations with notable environmental or responsible initiatives. One such feature spotlights Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), an animal refuge center that focuses on protecting the Asian elephant. The foundation accepts visitors and volunteers, an alternative to the popular Thailand activity of riding elephants. In coming months, Cohica
Travel plans to launch a T-shirt line with a portion of each sale benefiting nonprofit organizations such as WFFT, as well as contribute to media outlets and travel blogs to educate travelers on how to be sustainable and socially responsible.
Founders Ryan Matthews (San Francisco, CA) and Megan Hardesty (Boulder, CO) created Cohica (co-hee-ca) Travel in 2015 with the goal of changing the way people travel. Offering sustainable travel tips and destination guides to cities and countries throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, the website identifies local businesses and organizations that support responsible tourism. Travelers can find the best places to stay, including hotels and guesthouses with sustainable initiatives, community support and employee education policies; eat, including local, vegetarian, and restaurants with NGO give-back programs; and go, including responsible transportation methods, activities, tours and volunteer opportunities. To learn more, visit www.cohicatravel.com or become a fan of Cohica at Facebook.com/cohicatravel, Instagram.com/cohicatravel or Pinterest.com/cohica.