Africa Travel Week
Marie Louise Kellet

Think small, local, authentic and be environmentally aware

Marie-Louise Kellett owns Gravity Adventures with her husband, Andrew. She has an honours degree in Environmental Science and has been in adventure tourism for over 20 years. 

Where did your love for travel start?  

I am fortunate to be part of a large, multi-cultural and multi-national family, so I’ve always had a global view of the world.  

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?  

My definition of a ‘real job’, is one that earns me a living, that makes me a better person, and the world a better place. I love that being in the adventure tourism sector ticks all three boxes.  

What is your favorite destination/place to visit and why?  

I love travelling and I’m not particularly fussy about where, as long as it’s out in nature. Each of the places I’ve visited becomes my new favourite, so based on that, my most recent trip – a horseback safari with Horizon Horseback in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana – was definitely something I’d love to do again.  

Tell us about one of your most memorable travel experiences and why it stands out.  

I almost never travel just for pleasure, there is always a work or a family component. One of the most memorable trips was from Cape Town to Salta, Argentina, to attend the Adventure Travel Summit and then a flight back across the world to Mauritius for a family reunion.  

Give us a travel tip you don’t think anyone else gives… or that isn’t given enough…  

Think hard about the impact your travel choices have on the social and natural environment and adjust them accordingly. Think small, local, authentic and be environmentally aware. 

Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you… 

Like to see: Functioning natural ecosystems, in all their diversity 

Like to taste: Fresh and tasty with a range of flavours. But I’m not wild about overly spicy dishes. Currently loving poke bowls.  

Like to feel: Physically active and outdoors as much as possible 

Like to hear: The sounds of nature. Falling asleep in an open-air bed to the sounds of owls, lion and leopards in Mashatu was heaven for me.  

Like to smell: The ocean, the forest, the bush, the desert 

Suggestions on resources for other travel and tourism stakeholders. Any websites, publications, podcasts, thought leaders you can recommend or newsletters we should sign up to?  

I enjoy the resources provided by the Adventure Travel Trade Association – 

Lastly, what do you love about Africa Travel Week (WTM Africa) and what you are sentiments on the evolution of trade shows being part virtual?  

Virtual is part of our reality now and I think there are definitely benefits. There was too much gratuitous travel in our pre-Covid reality. Having said that, nothing beats personal interaction and discussion. I hope we will see smaller, more focused events in future, rather than big budget trade shows with all the bells and whistles. 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.