Travelers of the Year Logo 2014

Melinda MacInnis, Director/Producer of The Price documentary, was honored in October 2014 with the prestigious National Geographic Traveler of the Year award.

Melinda explains in a National Geographic interview that “The power of ecotourism is a very real thing. It has the power to change lives, transform communities, and save wildlife all in a sustainable way. But you can’t just tell indigenous communities that ecotourism is good for them if it’s not. There has to be a real and lasting economic and social benefit for all parties involved.”

“I’ve learned that traveling to the source is the single greatest way of understanding something. If you want to be an authority on something, you need to go see the facts on the ground for yourself. It allows you to share in each other’s humanity, and it allows you to bear witness in a way you just can’t replicate.”

The filmmaker was also interviewed by Denver’s 5280.com.

“We didn’t just want to make a film showing the slaughter of rhinos. I didn’t want people just to cry. We want to inspire people to make changes. We want to show that this is a global issue; these changes don’t come from giving $25 to a nonprofit and then being done with it. The changes need to come at the international level. There’s a group called CITES—Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species—which acts as a forum for countries to come together and vote upon legally binding agreements regulating the trade in endangered plants and animals. Lack of enforcement is one of the big problems — each country is responsible for enforcing its own laws. There is no one international body that enforces environmental laws; it all must be based on the cooperation of each member country. Therefore it’s all so weak in reality. We, as global citizens, need to demand an adherence to these trade agreements.”

Listen to a podcast interview with Melinda on National Geographic weekend.