Navigating the Intersections of Luxury Travel and Sustainable Tourism with Taruna Seth: Redefining the Paradigms of Conscientious Exploration in the Ever-Evolving Landscape of Global Travel

In the realm of luxury travel and sustainable tourism, where experiences transcend mere itineraries to become transformative journeys, Encompass Experiences stands as a beacon of innovation and responsibility. Co-founded by Taruna Seth, on the bedrock of extensive academic insights in international relations and organizational studies, coupled with a kaleidoscope of global experiences, the journey of Encompass Experiences reflects the intricate interplay of diverse influences, expertise, and a relentless commitment to redefining the paradigms of luxury travel.


From academic insights to global experiences, every step of our journey at Encompass Experiences has shaped our commitment to innovation and responsibility


With your extensive academic background spanning across international relations and organisational studies, alongside your diverse professional experiences, could you delve deeper into how these facets have intricately shaped your entrepreneurial journey, particularly in founding Encompass Experiences? 

Travelling the world right from a young age and interacting with people from different nationalities and diverse backgrounds is something that I’ve always enjoyed and thrived upon. I do believe that we are nothing but the sum of our experiences. So all the experiences that I have accumulated while studying, working, and living abroad have given me a strong international perspective that I do believe led to my entrepreneurial journey in travel. 


Travel has the power to shape perspectives and ignite passions. Discover how our founder, Taruna Seth, blends academic expertise with a love for adventure to create unforgettable experiences with Encompass Experiences


Reflecting on your journey from studying and working abroad to launching EE, can you elaborate on a specific moment or realization that ignited your passion for blending luxury travel with sustainability?

I’ve been in the luxury experiential travel space for over a decade now. While I can’t recall a specific moment, I did realize and appreciate, quite early on, the power of travel, in particular sustainable travel, which is the only way forward for us on this planet. Educating our audience and raising awareness about sustainable travel is our way to make an impact in a space where we feel we can make a difference. I believe in the positive influence travel can have. Not just for individuals and their experiences but for the destinations that receive them and the world as a whole. Luxury travel has always helped fund local economies and, in recent years, in particular, become increasingly adept at preserving culture, supporting the conservation of lands, and protecting ecosystems. Travel creates empathy and understanding, and it can inspire and educate. It creates the human-to-human and human-to-nature connections that the world needs right now.


At Encompass Experiences, sustainable travel isn’t just a trend—it’s a way of life


As the co-founder of EE, you’ve emphasised the importance of attention to detail in luxury travel planning. Could you elaborate on how your team goes beyond the conventional notions of luxury to curate truly immersive and authentic experiences for your clients?

Attention to detail is the holy grail of our business proposition. Whether we curate trips for couples, families, or small groups – we ensure that personalization remains at the heart of everything that we plan. Right from the seat preference on the aeroplane to the right accommodation to the curated unique experiences at the destination. No stone is left unturned to ensure a superlative overall experience. We encourage our guests to immerse themselves in local culture, forging deeper and more meaningful people-to-people connections that go beyond the superficial level of ticking off a destination.


Discover how our commitment to responsible tourism drives every decision we make, from destination selection to immersive experiences


Given the growing concerns of over-tourism in many destinations, how does EE navigate this complex issue while still delivering exceptional travel experiences? 

We help our guests choose off-the-beaten-path destinations. We urge them to consider exploring lesser-known destinations that offer a more authentic and exclusive experience. Avoiding peak travel times when popular destinations are overcrowded with tourists can help avoid crowds and enjoy a more peaceful and relaxing vacation. We help our guests navigate through crowded tourist attractions and provide insider tips on how to experience luxury travel more sustainably and responsibly. We offer unique and exclusive experiences that support local communities and minimize the negative impact of over-tourism.


Join us in curating immersive and authentic experiences that go beyond the conventional notions of luxury


In your view, how can luxury travel and sustainable tourism coexist harmoniously? Could you provide insights into the strategies or principles that you and your employees use to strike this balance effectively?

While ‘sustainability’ has become a buzzword used by most businesses now, both in a good and bad way. Good as it shows there is some level of engagement, progress, and education, even if small, but bad because some companies brand themselves as sustainable without knowing what it even means. The term sustainable tourism means different things to different people in the industry. But like ecotourism, sustainable tourism has become virtually meaningless as it is often tied to cursory efforts, which are very limited, rather than organization-wide commitments, strategies, and actions. We at Encompass promote sustainable travel experiences as part of our portfolio and do our bit to raise awareness. We can’t claim to be 100% sustainable, but we take conscious steps in this direction daily. We do this by being transparent in our communication educating our audience about the best practices in sustainable travel and promoting conscious tourism. If we feel one of our partners is in gross violation of sustainability protocols we do red flag them. However, in the high-end travel space, most hotels and experience providers are already on the conscious tourism bandwagon- so it’s a good place to be. 


Navigate the complexities of over-tourism with Encompass Experiences as your guide. Discover exclusive destinations and insider tips that promise exceptional experiences while minimizing negative impacts


Considering your background in communications and media, how do you leverage storytelling and branding to promote EE? 

We consistently highlight what sets Encompass apart from competitors and why customers should choose our services. We create visually appealing content that showcases the luxury experiences our travel business offers. We also use high-quality images, videos, and graphics to bring your brand story to life and captivate potential customers. Creating a consistent brand identity is key. Ensuring that our branding is consistent across all platforms, including your website, social media channels, marketing materials, and customer communications. This helps build brand recognition and establish trust with our audience. We strive to use storytelling to engage and connect with our audience on a deeper level. By sharing customer testimonials, success stories, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of our offerings, we hope to create an emotional connection with potential customers.


Join us in leveraging storytelling and branding to promote sustainable travel and create meaningful connections with the world


How do you craft narratives that resonate with your audience and inspire them to make environmentally conscious choices during their journeys?

We tailor our storytelling to resonate with our audience’s beliefs and inspire them to make environmentally conscious choices during their journeys. By showcasing and talking about the positive impact of environmentally conscious choices, such as preserving natural habitats, supporting local communities, and reducing carbon footprints, we hope to make a tangible difference. Further, we use storytelling to demonstrate how sustainable travel can enhance the overall travel experience and create lasting memories. We craft narratives that evoke emotions and connect with our audience on a personal level to evoke empathy and a sense of responsibility towards the environment.  


Cultural nuances shape our approach to sustainable travel at Encompass Experiences. Discover how we navigate diverse contexts and collaborate with local communities to promote responsible tourism worldwide


You’ve mentioned the concept of ‘slow travel’ as a means of fostering deeper connections with local cultures and environments. Could you elaborate on how EE embraces this philosophy and encourages travellers to engage more meaningfully with the destinations they visit?

The post-pandemic world has changed for the better. Living through that time has been a great learning experience, and the whole sustainability movement has become more mainstream than ever before. The pandemic years taught us to slow down and be in the moment. Even when it comes to travel, the trend of immersive travel experiences has gained momentum and is here to stay. People will travel to fewer places and stay longer at each destination, engaging with the locals and experiencing a destination in depth. The coming years will see a growth in travellers establishing repeat connections to people and places that have captivated them before, ditching “bucket list” tourism in favour of putting down roots and creating a home away from home. “Slow travel” is here to stay. Travelers now realise it’s the best way to discover a destination’s nuances and, over time, to feel like a local. 


Wellness, mindfulness, and meaningful connections—discover the future of luxury travel with Encompass Experiences


Given your international experience, how do cultural nuances and regional differences influence perceptions and practices related to sustainable travel? How does EE adapt its approach when operating in diverse cultural contexts?

Cultural nuances and regional differences play a significant role in shaping perceptions and practices related to sustainable travel. Different cultures may have varying attitudes towards environmental conservation, social responsibility, and ethical tourism practices. Luxury travel businesses need to understand and respect these cultural differences when operating in diverse regions.

Some cultures may have a strong tradition of environmental stewardship and conservation, while others may prioritize economic development over environmental concerns. This can influence how sustainable travel practices are perceived and implemented in different regions. We at Encompass Experiences collaborate with local communities through our ground partners. By engaging with local communities and stakeholders, we better understand their perspectives on sustainable travel and involve them in decision-making processes. This collaborative approach can help build trust and support. The main idea is to effectively navigate diverse cultural contexts and promote sustainable travel practices that are respectful, inclusive, and impactful. It’s still early days, but we have set the ball rolling. 


Discover the soul of modern travel with Encompass Experiences, where responsible luxury is the heart of everything we do


In your opinion, what are the most significant barriers to achieving widespread adoption of sustainable travel practices, both among businesses and consumers? 

One could argue that tourism cannot be sustainable and that sustainability is impossible. Negative effects on the environment are inherent to the industry, such as the emission of greenhouse gases and waste generation, which are currently difficult, if not impossible, to avoid.  Slow travel might be the answer. It should never be about ticking off the boxes. But staying in one place for longer and immersing. Take fewer flights. It’s a long road ahead. We hope there will be a day when we can power aeroplanes with zero emissions. Battery-operated cars are already becoming a reality, so we are treading along the right path. 

When it comes to consumers, especially Indian luxury travellers, it will take many more years to raise awareness, which may lead to sustainable travel becoming the norm. As of now, that is certainly not the case and not what most consumers expect or aspire towards. Further, the tourism sector’s commitment to sustainable development is rather weak. It’s understandable when considering tourism, which is, like most other industries, growth-oriented and profit-driven with a relatively short-sighted approach to planning and development. The primary focus is generating a return on investment to increase shareholder value as quickly as possible, which is similar to many politicians, to appease constituents to foster the probability of re-election.


Elevate your travel experience with Encompass Experiences, where luxury and responsibility intertwine seamlessly


Looking towards the future, what are your aspirations for EE in terms of its impact on the travel industry and the broader sustainability movement? How do you envision the company evolving in response to emerging trends and challenges in the years ahead?

As a luxury travel company, our aspirations for the future are centred around making a positive impact on the travel industry and contributing to the broader sustainability movement. We aspire to empower travellers to make informed and responsible choices when planning their luxury vacations. Through education, transparency, and engagement, we aim to raise awareness about sustainable travel practices and encourage travellers to support environmentally and socially responsible initiatives. We aspire to stay agile and adaptable in response to emerging trends and challenges in the travel industry.

In the coming years, there will be a greater focus on immersive and transformative travel experiences. Wellness travel is another trend on the rise. People want to invest in themselves. Health, well-being, and mindfulness will take centre stage. It is more about connecting to your loved ones and connecting to the world at large while immersing in the local culture and experiences. We envision our company evolving in response to emerging trends and challenges by embracing innovation, fostering partnerships, and prioritizing sustainability in most aspects of our operations.


Join us in creating positive impacts, supporting local communities, and preserving the beauty of our planet—one trip at a time


As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of luxury travel and sustainable tourism, Encompass Experiences remains steadfast in its mission to pioneer a new era of conscientious exploration. With a portfolio that epitomizes personalized luxury intertwined with environmental stewardship, the company continues to inspire discerning travellers to embark on journeys that transcend boundaries and foster meaningful connections with the world. As we gaze into the horizon of possibilities, Encompass Experiences stands poised to not only shape the trajectory of the travel industry but also leave an indelible imprint on the broader sustainability movement, embodying the ethos of responsible luxury that resonates with the soul of the modern traveller.


Image Credits: Taruna Seth

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