Céline Cousteau has big shoes to fill. The filmmaker and socio-environmental advocate descends from two legends of filmmaking, who gave her a privileged insight into the world of travel from a young age.
Céline’s grandfather Jacques Cousteau was the famed French naval officer, explorer, and co-developer of the Aqua-Lung. His son – her father – is the oceanographic explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau.
But Céline didn’t just learn from her forefathers the art of documentary film (although she learnt that well, having founded CauseCentric Productions, a film company that profiles cause-focused content, as well as The Outdoor Film Fellowship). Responsible travel, which keeps communities and the environment in mind, was ingrained from young age.
“The ethos of travel that I inherited from my family is to always travel with purpose,” she says. “Whenever I get on a plane, it’s to go somewhere where I will be sharing purposeful stories of people, ecosystems and species. My travel has to have the intent of giving back somehow.”
Céline Cousteau is now an ambassador for the TreadRight foundation, a socially minded travel operator and the not-for-profit arm of TTC, with the tagline ‘Make Travel Matter’. Who better to grill for responsible travel tips?
Engage with the issues
Céline says: “In the past decade I’ve seen a growing interest in sustainability, environmental protection, social justice and women’s rights. I believe this will influence the entire travel industry because people are looking for the added benefit when they travel – they don’t want to go to a country and have the same experience as everybody else. And hopefully they want to use their experience to give back.”
We say: Get a first-hand viewpoint of women’s experiences via new, female-only itineraries around the world – we’re into Intrepid Travel’s Women’s Experiences in India, Nepal, Iran, Morocco and more. Then there are tours of women’s weaving cooperatives in Peru, or the Women on Wheels project that employs female professional drivers in New Delhi – both run by the Planeterra Foundation, a travel company that invests in community-run social enterprises. Then there’s the opportunity to visit the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative on Contiki, Insight Vacations and Trafalgar trips to Jordan. Run by local women, it employs over 150 women from the region’s villages to make handicrafts.
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