“Tourism can either be something that is "done" to a destination by outside forces – a colonial and extractive industry. Or it can be something driven by the destination: stimulating investment, entrepreneurship and small business development”

Jeremy Sampson is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Foundation. Before taking the helm at the international tourism charity, he was already well-known and respected within tourism and conservation networks with a wealth of experience in Sustainable Tourism, having worked across the spectrum of destinations, industry, NGOs, and academia. He has held leadership positions for a range of organisations, including as President of international tour operator GreenSpot Travel and Vice President at Sustainable Travel International. More recently, Mr Sampson has led large-scale sustainable tourism initiatives for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Mediterranean Cooperation Centre, working across Southern Europe and North Africa. He holds a BA in Mass Communications from University of California, Berkeleay and was an Adjunct Professor at the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University. His motto is "do good work with great people"!

The Travel Foundation (Web: www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk) is a charity that works in partnership with leading tourism organizations to improve the impacts of tourism and shape a positive future for destinations. Since it was set up in 2003, with seed-funding from the UK Foreign Office and major tourism industry players, it has worked in 28 popular holiday destinations around the world. Its head office is in Bristol, UK and it has a global network of project managers.

Ecoclub: Congratulations on assuming your new, important position as the CEO of the Travel Foundation! What attracted you to this organisation and this role and what real difference do you aim to bring? 

Jeremy Sampson: I’ve worked with the Travel Foundation in the past and I’ve always been impressed by the way it seeks to tackle the root causes of issues and take a commercially savvy approach. It has a great reputation for the quality of its work and its credibility as a partner organisation. Over the last 16 years it’s grown from a UK-based collaborator to become a leading global organisation and during that time it’s tested many methodologies and developed its approaches. The sustainable tourism movement is gaining momentum and I hope to capitalise on that with the Travel Foundation. We have a lot of experience and talent in the team and we aim to build on that and become even more innovative and collaborative in our approach. We understand that we’re a small team and we can’t work alone - so we’re actively and strategically finding new partners to work with. Our Invisible Burden report [how destinations must uncover and account for tourism’s hidden costs] is part of our strategy to help the industry address systemic change across the private and public sector. Tourism can’t continue to be managed in the way it currently is.