July 17: Travel is Relative: Thinking Local at Home & Abroad (with Bethany Betzler)
Wednesday, July 17
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Many of us seek opportunities to travel abroad in order to experience something distinctly different from the world we know at home. Unfortunately, the experiences we gain often cause direct negative impact to the communities we visit. Tourism can literally destroy a place. However, we can mitigate our impact by adopting a local mindset. If we carry with us the values we hold dear in our own communities, we can potentially benefit the people and places we visit—socially, economically, and environmentally—enriching our enjoyment at the same time.
In this shared dialogue, we will explore ways that we can improve both our home towns and travel destinations by adopting a localist mindset. Anchored by her travel stories abroad (largely across Asia), Bethany will highlight some of the problems presented by travel and the inspiring solutions she has seen carried out by communities across the world. She will also share insights on ways we can all do less harm and more good in our travels, and will invite open discourse about how to ensure that we as a community can better protect the Leelanau Peninsula as a travel destination itself.
Bethany is an entrepreneur dedicated to the practice and advancement of sustainable tourism and hospitality across Asia. She is a partner with MyBhutan, a social enterprise focused on travel, technology, and business development in the Himalayan Kingdom. Bethany is also designing travel experiences in Southeast Asia, focused especially on the coffee-growing hill tribe regions of Northern Thailand and Laos. Her personal mission is to facilitate self-reliance and resilience in indigenous communities by helping them understand and apply the tools of travel and hospitality to preserve their unique culture and landscapes. Bethany studied entrepreneurship at London Business School and earned her Master’s from University of the Arts London.