COMMITMENT TO SMALL BUSINESS
At Heart of Travel we are here to challenge the status quo about when, where and how business is done. We combine the flexibility and creativity provided to us by modern technology with good old fashioned customer service and personal relationships to create an experience that is both efficient and enjoyable for not only our customers, but our staff, vendors and partners too.
As a tiny startup ourselves, we are fierce proponents of small business and are most fulfilled when working alongside other inspiring entrepreneurs. Strong believers that we live in a world of abundance, we prefer to cast competition aside and focus on collaboration, working with individuals and small organizations whenever possible particularly ones based out of hometown, Sacramento CA and our Latin America base in Antigua Guatemala.
Our love and commitment to Sacramento, CA and Antigua Guatemala is reflected in our personalized brand and in our partnerships with many small businesses in these two incredible cities. By bringing these two communities together we seek to stimulate the small business economies in both regions while breaking down cultural and geographical barriers, learning from one another and reminding ourselves that we are all connected.
Our Mission & Vision
The Heart of Travel was born out of Chelsea and Ana’s shared vision to bring a different approach to tourism in Latin America. With words like “ethical, sustainable, responsible, authentic, green, eco-friendly” etc. being thrown around many industries, not just the travel industry, it becomes difficult to define these concepts and discern what organizations are legitimate in their claims.
In an effort to be fully transparent, we’ve outlined our definition of what constitutes as sustainable, ethical and responsible travel. Each day we are looking for ways to improve in these areas and we know will still have a long way to go. We are excited to continue learning and applying new lessons and techniques and we welcome open discussions and suggestions related to these topics.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
A system which can be supported and upheld on its own without being harmful to itself or the external environment, doesn’t deplete available resources and places higher value on longevity over short term gains. In the context of tourism, it’s tough to argue that the industry is completely sustainable as it requires host countries to be reliant on an ever changing market of foreign demand, therefore eliminating it from being a fully closed feedback loop. Within the context of the industry, sustainable travel or tourism, is one that returns as much as possible to the host country, keeps money in local economies and has a highly activated conscious in terms of the impact tourism has on local economies, culture, communities and ecological systems.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ETHICAL TRAVEL?
Ethical travel boils down to asking yourself if you’re taking more than you’re giving back and if you’re directly benefiting from the active exploitation of the local people, customs, culture, flora and fauna. If the answer is yes, you might need to do some additional research on ways to give back more and enjoy without exploiting.
We encourage people to engage in safe conversations about this topic with open hearts and minds as we are all trying to find answers together. We are here to foster growth, including our own, not judgement.
We define the responsible traveler as one who takes time to develop a basic of understanding of the culture, history, language and socio-political climate of the host country instead of imposing their own beliefs, values and standards onto the country and the people they are visiting.