There is more to sustainability than protecting the natural environment. Modern-day companies must consider their social, economic, and cultural impact as well. Dubai-based global travel platform Welcome to the World does exactly that, it considers its social and economic impact in all its affiliates, destinations, and that of its users.
By Arthur Blok
In essence, sustainability is more concerned with the future. It is the ability to meet current needs, locally and globally, without compromising our future generation’s ability to meet their needs. That is exactly what the recently established Dubai-based travel platform Welcome to the World tries to do.
With an annual fee that’s less than an advertisement in a local newspaper, Welcome to the World offers travel, leisure, and tourism operators the opportunity to create their online merchant profiles that leverage content revitalization features.
Individual users book directly with the merchant, the money lands where it’s earned instead of landing at foreign-owned commission-driven aggregators. In addition, users unlock free local and venue-related welcoming benefits can create a personal account.
Stefanie Schachtschabel Founder & CEO of Welcome to the World emphasized that sustainability is “rooted” in her new company’s vision and business model. It envisions to be a video-destination platform that by inspiring, welcoming, and directly connecting travellers to destinations, lets tourism grow sustainable on a global level.
“We are founded for the industry, by the industry. An industry that suffered hard during the Covid-19 pandemic. The simple fact that we save the industry commissions often paid to online travel agencies located in a foreign country has a deep impact on local economies. By doing this, more money stays inside the country, which creates jobs and thus sustainably strengthens local communities”, Schachtschabel said.
Welcome to the World’s content gives users a comprehensive overview of each destination’s best options in six segmented categories – Sleep, Eat, Do, Discover, Socialize and Shop – and allows them to click-through and book directly at merchant-owned booking portals.
Yvette Watson co-owner at the Holland-based PHI Factory & The 2B Collective explained that any organization that “seriously” wants to work on a sustainable future needs to have an integrated corporate approach just like Welcome to the World does. Her co-owned consultancy firms support organizations in translating their sustainable ambitions into practical projects and solutions.
“Matters like climate adaptation, biodiversity, health and well-being, and social and economic inclusion are all important aspects for a future-proof built environment”, said Watson who developed herself in recent years as an authority in the field of sustainability.
“It all comes down to a process approach versus a usage approach. It has to be designed from scratch, for it to contribute to good business operations and potentially to positive sustainable social impact”, she added. “Work environments in such a way that the potential social impact is included in the design for it to succeed.”
To further illustrate Welcome to World’s sustainability in practice Schachtschabel mentions the city of Paris: “How many camera crews annually visit that city to make that one beautiful shot of the Eifel Tower or the Champs-Élysées? I can assure you that there are many. Why not re-use images already shot by someone else? That is also sustainability.”
In addition to helping the tourism industry reach sustainable growth, Schachtschabel’s video platform will launch in 2022 the so-called Planet First category in which every city around the globe can showcase its transition to and successes in the field of sustainability. “So the modern-day sustainable traveller can take this into consideration when choosing his next holiday .”
Late September, His Highness Sheikh Mana bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Mana Al Maktoum signed an exclusive local partnership agreement named Welcome to the UAE. Preparations are well underway for similar agreements with partners in France, Greece, Italy, Qatar, and Mexico.
Welcome to the World is still open for other investors who drive business leadership as a Force for Good. The current investment round closes by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.