“In a few years, or actually sooner rather than later, we will have an increasing share of travelers who perceive carbon footprint as permanently present throughout their experience. And something that they should pay attention to, something that they understand, something that they can influence because it is constantly present.” - Milena
It’s a super interesting episode this week, as we are joined by Milena Nikolova. Milena is an applied behavioral scientist and entrepreneur with passion to translate knowledge about human behavior into ideas, actions and tools that help make travel more sustainable by design. Her background combines human psychology, business administration and tourism sustainability. Part of her career is at academic institutions where she has served as researcher and educator. She has also worked as advisor and consultant in tourism competitiveness and sustainability in more than 30 countries across four continents. Today Milena is growing her own startup, BehaviorSMART, that blends insights from behavioural sciences and responsible travel in ways that support the sustainability efforts of destinations and companies. In this conversation, Milena shares first about her professional roots in Bulgaria, and how her background in psychology serves her today to apply knowledge about human behavior to connecting people more strongly to environmental stewardship. We talk about how Finland can be used as a model to reduce the carbon footprint and the importance of getting a smart start while we also embark on more complex and expensive solutions. Milena also shares her perspective on how we can use social media as a tool to normalize sustainability and carbon footprint considerations in travel, and shares some great advice for those trying to communicate the subject of climate-conscious travel to travelers.