What makes Jessica Blotter a Global Shaker?
Jessica Blotter is the co-founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of Kind Traveler. Launched in 2016 alongside her partner, the aim is to make every trip, no matter how short, a journey that improves local lives. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) (See Martha Honey profile).
Jessica began her career as an earth science teacher, teaching 130 students a day at UCSD’s Preuss School, a school for under-served students who want to be the first in their family to go on to higher education. She then began working for travel and lifestyle magazines and she wrote about hospitality, sustainability, animal welfare and social impact for organisations including Fast Company, CBS Los Angeles.
She writes that she had always dreamed of setting up a purpose-driven company, which was supercharged when she and her partner Sean were on a trip in Belize and witnessed “heartbreaking poverty, families living in tiny shacks near polluted swamps and emaciated dogs wandering the streets for food.” Deciding to help out inspired other tourists to do the same, and she realised that travelers want to help, but just needed a catalyst. “Last year alone, more than 1 billion trips were taken. That’s 1 billion opportunities for travelers to become a force for good,” she writes.
The result was Kind Traveler, which she writes is a way for travelers to make a difference every time they travel. It’s styled as the first socially-conscious Give + Get hotel booking and media platform that helps travelers to positively impact the communities and destinations they visit.
Kind Traveler’s aims are aligned with the United Nations’ Global Goals for sustainable development.
It works by unlocking exclusive hotel rates and perks when travelers make a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that positively impacts the destination visited. 100% of donations are given to charities. The idea is that these charities support the forests, fight for equality, provide arts education, end trophy hunting, etc.
Since launching Kind Traveler, Blotter has been featured in outlets including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and Travel + Leisure. She’s delivered a TEDx talk — The Future of Travel: Purpose is King. She’s been a guest lecturer at UCLA and USC on social impact and social entrepreneurship. She holds an MA in Education from Ottawa University, and a BS in Biology from Arizona State University.Tags: Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Travel, tourism