Global Family Travels Experiences Highlight Climate Education and Inspiration

‘Learn, Serve, and Immerse to Create a Better World.’ This slogan guides every tour and experience that Global Family Travels (GFT) facilitates for its travelers. Launched in 2010 by Jennifer Spatz, the Seattle based travel company specializes in using regenerative tourism to connect with the local communities and organizations in the destinations they visit and to help solve community challenges. They’ve been featured in Travel & Leisure and design trips for discerning families from all around the world that align with the United Nations Development Goals and the principles of regenerative travel. 

With the emergence of numerous sustainable tourism practices that prioritize environmental conservation, support local economies, and safeguard cultural heritage, many new innovative terms have surfaced, particularly within the adventure tourism sector, such as slow tourism, conservation tourism, ecotourism, community-based tourism, and voluntourism, to name a few. What distinguishes regenerative tourism from these terms and the umbrella of sustainable travel? 

If traveling sustainably means you don’t leave the destination worse off than when you found it, regenerative tourism means you leave the destination better than you found it. Travel companies and operators like Jennifer Spatz are using tourism as a tool to rewild ecosystems, fund conservation, preserve local heritage, and rewrite the sustainable tourism handbook. Regenerative tourism is considered an evolution in sustainable thinking, the natural next step as we become more informed, climate conscious, and impactful travelers. 

In an interview with the Common Ground podcast, Jennifer explains, “What we’re doing is focused on community based tourism, looking at it as a catalyst for positive change, and offering the opportunity for visitors in the host community to create meaningful connections. In the last 3 years of developing the tours, I’ve recognized the principles of regenerative tourism and have shifted the mindset to connect with the destination in a positive and mindful way.” Take a journey with us through five regenerative trips designed by Global Family Travels.  

Regenerate Salmon Habitat in the Olympic Peninsula 

Nestled in the northwest corner of Washington, less than 100 miles outside of Seattle, lies the Olympic Peninsula. A land of unparalleled natural beauty and diverse ecosystems ranging from the wild Pacific coastline and driftwood strewn shores, to alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers, the high peaks of Mount Olympus, and moss-draped trees of the Hoh Rainforest. Indigenous communities like the Quileute, Hoh, Makah, and Quinault tribes live throughout, and within its winding rivers and coastal streams is the vital habitat of wild salmon populations. Salmon holds immense cultural significance for these local communities, serving as a cornerstone for spirituality and identity. Both are deeply interconnected with the health of the region’s various ecosystems, and both face significant challenges from climate change, habitat degradation, pollution and invasive species (NOAA: Impacts of Climate Change on the Pacific Northwest).

Experience the essence of regenerative tourism on Global Family Travel’s three-day exploration of the Northern Olympic Peninsula. Delve into vital work of salmon habitat recovery and gain insight into conservation first-hand from the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Learn about the rich cultural traditions of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe through engaging experiences and a welcome dinner celebrating the abundance of the sea, land, and sky. Designed to immerse travelers in the region's natural beauty and cultural heritage, the trip embodies the core principles of Learn, Serve, and Immerse. It reminds us that you don’t have to travel far to engage in regenerative tourism. 

Forest and Campsite Restoration in Oregon 

Another destination not far from the vibrant city of Seattle is Oregon’s Mckenzie River region, a breathtakingly beautiful area renowned for its lush forests, crystal-clear rivers, and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. In 2020, the region experienced intense wildfires and the Holiday Farm Fire in particular severely affected communities along the Mckenzie River, causing evacuations, property loss and environmental damage. The aftermath of the wildfires along with the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the region’s economy and tourism industry has led to ongoing recovery efforts. Global Family Travels provides access to many of these initiatives for their travelers to volunteer (Travel Oregon Industry). 

GFT’s trip to the Mckenzie River area of Oregon’s Willamette National Forest includes learning of public land management practices, along with developing knowledge and skills of trail maintenance and forest restoration practices.  During their stay, participants engage in volunteer work contributing to tasks such as tree planting, campsite restoration, and trail work, all while hiking, rafting, visiting hot springs, and mountain biking. Who says regenerative tourism can’t be fun?! 

Peru Through the Lens of Chalay 

Right before planting season begins again, Andean farmers gather high up in the terraced slopes of the Peruvian andenes. Under the heat of the mid-day sun they perform a traditional ritual to honor Pachama, the Earth Mother, and seek blessings from the Apus, the sacred mountain spirits of the region. During the ceremony, offerings of coca leaves, chica, and other symbolic objects representing fertility and abundance are offered to these spirits as tokens of gratitude and respect. This practice represents a deep connection to the land and a reverence for nature that is integral to Andean culture. 

This ritual is one aspect of Chalay: the Peruvian practice of barter and exchange. Chalay is not merely an agricultural technique but a symbolic ceremonial practice that emphasizes the importance of reciprocity and respect for the land, recognizing that humans are stewards of the Earth and must maintain a harmonious relationship with the natural world. In a similar way, regenerative tourism acts as a practice of respect for and an offering to the earth. On this Global Family Travels trip: Peru Through the Lens of Chalay: Andean Culture and Connection to Food, travelers are given the opportunity to also become stewards of the Andean terraces. The immersive experience offers first hand encounters with farmers, artisans, and indigenous communities to explore ancient farming techniques and economic practices vital for preserving food sovereignty and biodiversity amidst challenges like climate change and water scarcity. 

Women and Empowerment in Rwanda 

Rwanda is ranked number one globally for women in leading roles in national government. Today, 62% of their parliamentary seats are held by women and 51% in cabinet seats. Alongside this groundbreaking achievement in gender equality, Rwanda has pioneered a revolutionary approach to green growth environmental sustainability. The country's green growth strategy includes visionary policies and investments in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and conservation (Ministry of Environment). 

This commitment to sustainability has also extended to the tourism sector where Rwanda has embraced regenerative tourism practices that promote community engagement, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation (Visit Rwanda). Global Family Travel now offers an immersive trip to Rwanda where travelers can engage in learning and service of Rwanda’s resilient and empowering cultural, environmental and political landscape. 

Immerse in Iceland’s Dynamic Geology 

Glaciers cover roughly 11% of Iceland’s total land area, and scientists predict that the country stands to lose roughly all of its glaciers in the next 100 - 200 years (Icelandic Met Office). Glaciers are a keystone element for Iceland as well as the world. Their melting is already disrupting freshwater supplies, altering river flows, changing temperature and precipitation patterns, eroding coastlines, leading to rising sea-levels and impacting marine life and fisheries among other consequences. 

Immerse in Iceland’s Dynamic Geology: A Transformative Adventure to Inspire Climate Change is an opportunity Global Family Travels offers to travelers wishing to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes of Iceland while delving into the urgent issue of climate change. Speaking about GFT’s custom itinerary in iceland, Jennifer remarked, “It’s my hope that travelers of all ages who immerse in Iceland’s living science during this adventure return home with a deeper understanding of our climate emergency and set some intentions about actions they can take to reduce their carbon footprint and protect our environment.” Read more about this remarkable trip in Travel and Leisure

The power of regenerative tourism lies not just in its ability to transform the travel experience, but also to transform the traveler, equipping them with tools to continue restoring and protecting even after the trip has ended.  

We’re incredibly proud that Tomorrow’s Air is a component of GFT’s climate conscious and sustainability strategy. Thank you for helping us spread the word about climate conscious travel and innovations that can help restore our climate! Learn more about how they personalize educational trips steeped in fun on their website: 

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