Can you tell us about the concept behind Beautiful Destinations?
Initially, it began as a community on Instagram. Individuals from all over the world sharing a love for travel and creating content. As mobile and social media usage grew, so did our community and before long we were connecting with millions of people around the world on a daily basis and started to be contacted by companies. We decided to open a creative and strategy agency to work with clients on making content and teaching them how to use social media to drive their businesses. Now the community is one of the largest in the world with over 30 million people across all our channels and FAST Company voted us one of the most innovative companies in the world.
Beautiful Destinations is known for its inspiring social media channels. How has social media impacted today’s travel industry?
In positive terms, it has connected people in a way that we never thought possible and enabled the travel industry to showcase the best of itself on easy and convenient platforms. I’ve been most inspired seeing how social media has levelled the playing field for travel businesses – if you have an attractive product, know how to make great content and engage with your audience you can build direct, profitable relationships whether you’re a multinational hotel giant or a small boutique property.
On the negative side, some destinations have become a victim of their own success on social, with people travelling there only for the photo or video. We’ve seen cases of overtourism where travellers care only about their content and not about the local communities or environment. This is why at Beautiful Destinations we push the importance of sustainable tourism and always search for undiscovered places to highlight.
As the world reopens, what can we do personally to be more sustainable and considered travellers?
Travel domestically or shorter distances using electric vehicles (if possible) or trains. Short-haul flights are some of the most polluting so if your budget or personal circumstances mean this is your only option, use carbon calculators like the WWF UK tracker to measure the impact of your trip and then offset that impact by supporting projects from organisations like goldstandard.org
What do you love about travelling?
I passionately believe that travel is a force for good in the world and can be an antidote to so many of the societal challenges we see today. I believe it teaches you to respect and embrace other people and cultures, and gives you a perspective that is invaluable for how you live your life. If done sustainably, it can be enriching, both personally and for the destinations you visit, and profitable for the industry, so everyone wins.
What travel essential could you not live without?
I take my health very seriously and whether travelling for business or leisure, I know there is an impact on your body. I always have Athletic Greens travel packs with me, it’s a daily supplement with more than 75 vitamins, minerals, probiotics and antioxidants.
As Panerai’s new ambassador, what was it about the watchmaker that led you to this partnership?
We both share a love for adventure and sustainability and while I’ve loved the brand since I was young, their recent push into leading the industry in sustainable and circular watch manufacturing was a big draw for me. Beyond making beautiful timepieces, they have invested years in improving their supply chain and even sharing what they’ve learned about sustainable development with their competitors, so as an industry watchmaking can improve.
Which Panerai watch do you wear, and why?
The Luminor Marina eSteel is the watch we launched together and I love it for all the reasons above – beautiful timepieces that have a positive impact on the environment.