Villains determined to contaminate the planet have met their match! Sustainable Suzie—tour operator guide by day, superhero by night—is ready to fight the good fight towards a more sustainable future for travel around the globe.

The United States Tour Operators association (USTOA) has launched a first-of-its kind comic book whose star, Sustainable Suzie, is a superhero for responsible travel.

“Traveling sustainably means being aware of the impact of tourism on the environment and the communities we visit, and our goal for the comic book is to break down barriers travelers might have to understanding that even small steps can make a big difference,” said Terry Dale, president & CEO of USTOA. “While a comic might seem unorthodox, Sustainable Suzie conveys the core messages of responsible travel with humor, a much more digestible way to understand the issues, the stakes, and the solutions,” he continued.

By day, this comic superhero is a USTOA tour operator guide named Susan who provides tips for travelers as well as examples of destinations and travel companies that are adopting workable, sustainable practices to ensure there is a world to explore for future generations. Meanwhile, her alter-ego Suzie just can’t stand it when she spots wasteful, destructive, insensitive travel practices…that’s when her superhero powers are unleashed.

The story line artfully uses classic comic book tropes—superhero defeats villains—to illustrate that sustainable travel is about choices. “Awareness is key,” said Dale. “And that’s the purpose behind Sustainable Suzie, to make ‘sustainability’ approachable and achievable so that we can all make responsible travel decisions that respect the places and people we visit, leave a smaller footprint, and, most importantly, do no harm.”

Sustainable Suzie
Jinhae Gunhangje Festival. (Photo credit: Korea Tourism Organization and Live Studio_

Tour operator guide Susan leads a small group of travelers to destinations that are at the forefront of sustainable tourism, including Korea and Norway. In Korea, which leads the way in green growth initiatives, travelers can experience green growth through well-preserved sites, spaces, transportation and infrastructure projects. Songdo, for example, is a new city that combines the world’s best technologies, building design and ecofriendly practices. Norway’s sustainability strategy, meanwhile, is aimed at preserving the physical and visual landscape so that future generations can enjoy the country’s mesmerizing natural wonders.

Sustainable Suzie
Northern lights over-Aldra in Aldersundet, Helgeland. (Photo credit: Hans Petter Sorensen, FarOutFocus, and Visit Norway)

Among the main responsibilities of sustainable tourism highlighted in the comic is the need to protect the natural resources and wildlife in destinations, and to conserve cultural heritage while creating authentic experiences for tourists. On that front, USTOA tour operator members provide truly local experiences for guests in destinations throughout the world, such as sampling Korean street food from some 5,000-odd vendors at Gwangjang Market in Seoul or visiting one of the nearly 1,200 fjords along Norway’s 18,000-mile coastline.

And protecting those experiences for decades and centuries to come is Sustainable Suzie, the only superhero, as noted in the comic book, “fighting not only to save earth in the present, but to make sure there’s still an earth worth saving in the future….”

To download the “Adventures of Sustainable Suzie,” visit USTOA.com/SustainableSuzie.