Meet Nancy Molina — a Peruvian/Argentinian tourism professional & travel blogger with a big passion for people, the outdoors, conservation, and exploring South Africa and the world.
Nancy is a member of Travel Massive Cape Town. She is a former international tour guide with extensive travel experience in South America, now living in Cape Town. She blogs at Explore, Inspire, Repeat (exploreinspirerepeat.com).
How did you get into the travel industry?
I grew up in Cusco, Peru — a well-known tourism hub in South America. I observed thousands of international travelers visiting our city, and this made me curious about the world.
I decided to study Tourism Management (as I love languages, history, and storytelling) with big hopes it will give the opportunity to showcase my beloved country to others and allow me to travel to discover other cultures and places – and it worked!
Through my career in the industry I held exciting positions, traveled to unique places, and had the opportunity to meet incredible people. From traveling throughout South America leading tour groups to being part of a start-up team who built a successful international tour operator in Southern Africa; my knowledge about the tourism and travel industry has evolved and matured. Now, with a more holistic view, I am a firm believer that tourism can change the world for good!
My blog – Explore, Inspire, Retreat (exploreinspirerepeat.com/blog/) (a joint passion project with my husband) often shares travel stories and tips but also reflections and information about the tourism industry.
What should travel businesses know about conservation and responsible tourism?
I believe the conservation of the species, the environment, the people, the cultures and communities; together with responsible tourism practices for both, hosts and travelers, are absolutely crucial for travel businesses.
Without this understanding, we will drive a part of tourism that is destructive and selfish.
The travel industry has the potential to become the fairest way of wealth distribution in the world. Travel businesses that are ethical and understand their role in the industry are catalysts for economic growth, equal job opportunities, and a positive impact on our society.
In the midst of a global pandemic, we all have the unique opportunity (including travel businesses) to redefine how travel can look like in the future: more inclusive, more conscious, more resilient, more adaptable.
How can the industry be more inclusive?
It is important to recognize that diversity has a unique offering for the travel & tourism industry. Accepting and embracing diversity means accepting and embracing that everyone is different – that is the beauty in all of this.
We all have unique perspectives and experiences that need to be valued and understood. Past business models typically planned to achieve success in standardization and homogeneity.
When we think of diversity in the industry we need to look at several areas:
1. Diversity in the workforce: creating and nurturing equal employment opportunities for all without regard to race, gender, or nationality.
2. Diversity in the product offer: incorporating experiences that are inclusive of local communities, indigenous communities, and other minority groups.
3. Diversity in the source market: more diverse people groups are accessing travel, the travel industry needs to put efforts into understanding their newly discovered customers better.
As travel provides us with a deeper and greater understanding of the world, the tourism industry can help create a more meaningful connection between the traveler and the destination.
What are some responsible tourism projects you admire?
The following are some of the responsible tourism and conservation projects I admire.
Planeterra (planeterra.org), the leading non-profit organisation using community tourism for poverty alleviation. I am a huge fan of the work they do all around the world. Planeterra works through local partners in over 40 countries, their community partners are local nonprofits, community organisations, and existing social enterprises, they focus their efforts to empower women, youth, communities, and the conservation of the environment through travel.
The Akashinga, (web.facebook.com/akashinga/) female anti-poaching unit: or “brave ones,” women who survived abuse and exploitation are now amongst the wildlife’s fiercest protectors in Zimbabwe. They manage the Phundundu Wildlife Area, they are armed and trained as special forces. Their stories of bravery, resilience, strength and dedication are absolutely incredible; a true inspiration for community work and female empowerment. Risking their lives to support their families and protect their environment.
!Khwattu: (www.khwattu.org) This one is close to home, only one hour from Cape Town on a beautiful farm located in Yzerfontein, !Khwattu (www.khwattu.org) works with San communities across Southern Africa striving to restore the dignity, cultural pride, and preservation of the indigenous knowledge.
What are some other travel bloggers you follow?
Stephanie Marthinus: I met her right at Travel Massive, I joined a travel bloggers LIVE Event a few months back, enjoyed her story and how against the odds she became a travel blogger and got to travel. She focuses on exploring the Western Cape Province in South Africa “because small towns matter” and inspire others to do the same, she also lives about 20min from my house.
Analucía Rodriguez: Leaving everything to go and see the world? This is a reality that changes Analu’s life. She is a digital marketing professional with her own company, she’s a travel blogger and a digital nomad. I admire her easy-going personality and her capability to connect with her audience. She is one of the leading female travel bloggers and I got to meet her in one of her trips to Cape Town (the power of social media).
Jared Ruttenberg: known as Jaredincpt, he is a South African journalist, content creator, writer, and tour guide. He is well known in South Africa and I love his stories and curations about South African experiences, anything from accommodation, activities, where to eat and dine.
— Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story!