WHILE Australian travellers are becoming increasingly environmentally and socially conscious, their generosity tends to focus mainly on local and national causes, according to The Intrepid Foundation (TIF) General Manager Biheng Zhang.
Speaking to travelBulletin, Zhang (pictured) shared “I’ve seen that Australians can be somewhat generous but a lot of our generosity in philanthropic giving stays within Australia”.
Zhang joined Intrepid Travel in Jan 2023 as the first-ever GM of its Melbourne-headquartered not-for-profit philanthropic arm, which has contributed more than A$12 million to local and global community partners over the past two decades.
“I’d love for TIF to be the vehicle to inspire more courageous giving internationally,” Zhang said, adding she also wants to see the Foundation “play more of a leadership role in the travel sector and in philanthropy, and inspire more generosity from our travellers”.
Drawing on her 14 years of philanthropy experience in Australia, Zhang leads all aspects of the Foundation’s fundraising, and has already welcomed 27 partners new partners from across the globe during her first six months in the role.
Many of the projects supported by the Foundation are environmentally-focused, with Eden Reforestation Projects and Greening Australia, which plant trees en masse to protect landscapes and habitats, counted among its many partners.
TIF also supports grassroots organisations such as EcoThailand Foundation and WildAct Vietnam, both of which focus on educating the next generation in their respective countries to caretake the environment and become future leaders in climate action.
“We can’t do it on our own, so let’s as an industry band together to address…some of the very big issues in this world,” Zhang urged, emphasising the “critical role” that industry partners including travel agents play in helping TIF to affect positive change.
“We continually invite and engage our industry partners to work alongside us on major campaigns,” the GM said, highlighting Intrepid’s recent call for the industry to help fundraise for the company’s upcoming annual charity event, the Blue Dragon Marathon Walk.