MatKon Travel

We help the tourism industry drive sustainable change

The tourism industry and the general mentality of tourism is currently working against sustainable future. Is it possible for tourism to become a catalyst for improved environmental action, improved intercultural learning and less inequality? If we can find a way to fairly distribute the economic outcome of tourism and remove the obstructions that stand in the way for the average tourist to understand and interact with the destination’s people and nature, we’re going in the right direction.

Did you know?

In 2019, 4.5 billion passengers used air travel – but only about 15% of the world´s living population has ever been on an airplane.

The nations that welcomes most tourists in the world or show the highest growth rates in inbound tourism, also happens to have the highest inequality rates, lowest minimum incomes and poverty rates for it’s region, highest unemployment numbers as well as high corruption, social insecurity and often a complete inability to sustainably handle the waste generated from tourists.

Developing countries hold the only biodiversity hotspots left on Earth – the same countries also have the fastest growing tourism sector – history shows, that a direct consequence of that is a fast destruction of these important areas.

What we do

Developing future tourism infrastructure

The infrastructure for tourism at the destination, determines the impact of every single tourist, socially and environmentally. With this is mind, we develop and manage the total tourism infrastructure for the established tourism industry – agents, operators, national and international tourism organizations.

Holistic approach

When creating a tourism infrastructure, we take into account all the parts of society and environment at the destination, that currently are under influence – and which are in risk of being compromised by the current ways of tourism. Every part of the infrastructure is delivered by local businesses who themselves wish a more sustainable direction.

Changing the impact

Most current tourism infrastructures are based on maximizing the number of visitors in the most comfortable surroundings, with as little cost as possible. The values with which MatKon Travel develops, puts impact first. The first thing we ask ourselves, is how to leave minimal impact on the environment, while impacting the destination’s society greatly, in a direction of well distributed economic security and more sustainable set of values.

How we do it

12 key points are the foundation from which we work and in the solutions we deliver

Travel less – stay longer when you do travel. Travel with train, bus or car.

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All of the destinations we work with, are reachable by train and bus.
If air travel somehow is the only thing that works for you, travel only once a year and stay within your continent. Tourism needs to change – and this is where it starts. Many of us wish to see the world. The current situation, regretfully, calls for a different focus – a focus on impact. We urge tourists and operators to understand and adapt to the pressing situation that we are all a part of. At the same time, it is of great importance that this industry supports the societies that are now so dependent on it – in a way that corresponds with the environment. International tourism has to change it’s fundamental characteristics: From a leisure experience centered around the desires of the tourist, to leisure the goes hand in hand with the gift of learning how the world really works.

Support local non-profit organizations which are improving the life’ of specific vulnerable groups of society.

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By applying our tourism infrastructure, businesses and organizations will be supporting non-profit organizations in the country of the destination. These organizations are selected by MatKon Travel for the crucial work they do for groups of the local communities. An example is a Childrens’ Hospice in the country of Georgia, providing holistic, palliative care for the most vulnerable younglings and their families. We work closely with the selected non-profit and create events together in the local communities, raising awareness about their work and topics/activities related to the general health of the community.

Focus on renewable energy.

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Accommodations and other partners in our infrastructure will be supported in the transition towards renewable energy supply. Depending on the location, solar panels and windmills will be the preferred sources.
Instead of a thought target set in a future we don’t know much about (for example x amount of solar panels in 2025) we continuously look for opportunities to develop the supply of renewable energy in our tourism infrastructure.
We do not consider energy from a dam renewable because of the severe consequences it can have for especially the sorrounding environment.
Funds will be allocated from income from tourism, investments and donors.

Focus more on travels that include voluntary work.

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Voluntary work to us means: Understand, develop and act with local communities. MatKon Travel is dedicated to find the right local initiatives that needs a long-term effort, gives long-term results and long-term understanding, with special focus on merging learning and preservation of nature with a constantly developing society. We and our local partners can help agencies make itineraries for travels that are fully or partly focused on voluntary work.

Our 4 main understandings of voluntary work:

  • We have to learn before we can help
  • It’s not sympathy tourism (Feelings of pity for someone else’s misfortune). It’s empathy tourism (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another)
  • I’m here to learn from you – I’m not here to teach you
  • Sustainable solutions to the biggest problems of humanity

Provide a waste management system.

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A crucial part of our tourism infrastructure is a local waste management system. Most popular tourist destinations are so, among other reasons, because they are cheap. One of the downsides of that is that the public cannot supply an effectful waste management. MatKon Travel and the selected local partner will collect waste generated by tourists, accommodations, restaurants, and other partners. The waste will then be upcycled into new products sold nationally and with a focus on enabling buyers to return it back to us after use.

Avoid using facilities which have no relevance to the local community or the nature around it.

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Tourism today, is for many people a short stay in a “bubble” located in a foreign society – we do not interact, understand and learn from the little time we have on our holidays. An important ingredient to add more of, if we want to see a future with a more tolerant and less destructive world society. Avoiding the use of facilities like international hotels, restaurants that does not focus on local and organially grown foods, spa’s or other such installments, often offer very little relevance to- and support for local communities, as well as spending an unnecessary large amount of material and energy.

All tourist services and accommodations must be owned and managed by active members of the local community.

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An important part of making tourism into an actual contributor to the local economy and community, is making sure that the money spend at the destination, actually goes to local residents and can create long term value in the community. MatKon Travel works only with local guides, destination managers, guesthouses, and restaurants and other suppliers – always fully owned and managed by local residents. Furthermore, booking platforms offering short-term housing, often makes long-term housing needed by locals, unaffordable or unavailable. In cities, this often results in exces construction, because an additional part of the city have to be build, in order to make room for both locals and tourists. For this reason, we focus on small-scale and minimalistic accommodation that locals can provide, for example as guesthouse/camping on their own properties, annexes, etc. Our partners build with durable and upcycled material.
This is also a way to counter urbanization and support the local communities which are often already based on much more sustainable lifestyles.

Create a network of local businesses.

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The local partners in our tourism infrastructure will not only supply goods and services to tourists but be business partners as well. This means that all the partners involved will exchange goods and services between themselves. Example: an accommodation will generate waste which they sell to the waste management in our network. The waste management team will recycle or upcycle the waste – and sell to another accommodation or restaurant in our network.

Local accommodation means local foods.

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Locally owned restaurants and guesthouses will work with us to provide guests with local food. Through our direct involvement with and investment in local farms and villages, MatKon Travel helps to maintain a steady supplychain. The goal for our accommodation partners is that they can rely on year-round, local, organic foods, supplied by means of regenerative farming. We also recognize the well researched fact that eating plantbased food is one of the biggest single contributions a person can make to a more sustainable future. We will make sure that tourists are always given a highlighted choice of eating plantbased, at our partners’ accommodation and we work continuously with our food supply in an effort to highlight the many advantages of such a transition.

Avoid using animals as transport or entertainment.

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In the future, ways to make animals a product without abusing them in the long term as demand grows, might exist. However, for now such a concept have not been established.

Leisure can be a time of healing that lasts and relevant learning.

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In those few and precious weeks of holiday, we have a rare break from a hectic daily life consisting mostly of repititive work and tasks that does not give us a sense of personal fulfillment. Seeking knowledge and understanding of the world and societies we live in, is also a rare factor in many peoples lifes. The time of holiday – leisure – is a time where we can plant seeds in ourselves, that we can take home with us and develop further. Seeds that will help ourselves live a life of more purpose and joy, as well as gaining a basic understanding of why and how things around you happen the way they do.
The tourism infrastructure we develop are focused on bringing leisure together with purpose and relevant understanding via curiosity – of ourselves and the world we live in.

A new method of philanthropy and volunteer work.

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The tourism infrastructure we develop is also a platform that enables philanthropists to make sure efforts and resources are put in the right places and supports long-term and sustainable growth in communities.
Our network of local partners is each a link in a chain, where the success of one link spreads to the rest of the chain because the network is based on internal trade and promotion.
The members of the networks we establish, share a common foundation of values with MatKon Travel; We all aim to be relevant in a transition towards a much more sustainable society and each of us contribute with concrete competences and actions.
As an individual or organization that wish to contribute through donation or long-term volunteer work, you will be invited on an assessment trip to the chosen location, which includes a thorough discussion with the aim of clarifying and aligning each our visions and values.

Reuse what can be reused – this simple yet vitally important principle remains a cornerstone in our way of doing business. During the last 10 years we have put all our efforts to create a locally closed loop, which would allow to prolong the life cycle of most of the physical products that end up in Matkon, as well as reduce (and eliminate in a longer perspective) the waste.

Partners and Clients