David reached out to me on Twitter — and I found myself intrigued by his use of affiliate marketing to raise money for causes that offset the social economics costs of tourism. The statistic I’ve heard is that only 5% of your tourism dollars typically go to the local economy that you visit. Quite often we go and stay in chains or resorts or eat in restaurants that are owned by individuals that aren’t part of the local economy… but, if we change our thinking and book locally or seek out local restaurants, tours, bed and breakfasts and other activities, then much of our dollars can make a huge impact in the world.
David’s story is quite interesting — he was in advertising (still is), but at the time he was marketing plastic sachets for some product. The next day, he went on vacation far away and was scuba diving… only to come up with handfuls of plastic debris which reminded him of what he was selling. This continued to eat away at him and he started to research how he could travel better, and make less of an impact.
From this, he started Merriness Mapped which is “A Travel Directory Of Causes, Charities, Social Enterprises & Local Businesses Adding Value To The Global Traveling Community”. He researched and vetted locations, to build up a pretty cool database — worth checking out.
Over time, he pondered how he could put his advertising knowledge to good use, and in the end dove into exploring affiliate marketing, and building the site All Good Travel — where you can click links through to any of your usual travel sources (Expedia, Booking.com, G Adventures, Trivago, and tons more) — and the affiliate revenue earned will help to support good causes that help local economies throughout the world, such as Bali WISE whose mission is to empower marginalized women through skills education, as a means to develop sustainable communities in Indonesia.
Overall, I love the idea that David is taking one of the most unpleasant aspects of travel (booking the trip), and adding a little sweetness to it, knowing that you’re helping to support a good cause. It’s a cool application of using internet marketing to make a difference.
Discover more about David here:
- Instagram: @MoreMakesMerry
- Twitter: @MoreMakesMerry
- Facebook: fb.com/MoreMakesMerry
- TravelMassive: travelmassive.com/davidshekleton
- YouTube: MoreMakesMerry
The two sides of the island. One for clean swimming, one for discovering your impact on the planet