Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a Canadian citizen, Keith Bellows was named editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine in January 1998 and a vice president of the National Geographic Society in March 2000. Under his stewardship, the magazine has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards, won more than 60 Lowell Thomas Awards for best travel writing (it has been named best magazine eight of his 11 years), and seven Folio Awards for Best Travel Magazine. As a tip of the hat to new media, Traveler has won an iTunes People’s Choice Award for Best Podcast of 2006, for which Bellows wrote two scripts. Its Intelligent Travel won a 2007 Travvie and a 2009 Lonely Planet Award as best travel blog.
In addition to editing Traveler, Bellows developed a major spinoff of the magazine’s website built around the award-winning special issue 50 Places of a Lifetime. He also writes “One on One,” a regular interview column with compelling figures—Al Gore, hotelier Ian Schrager, Steve Case, Dolly Parton, futurist Andrew Zolli, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell—who have something important to say about how we travel and where we go. He helped position Traveler as a leader in sustainable travel and has made it the travel photography magazine (it runs the world’s biggest travel-photo contest, the only travel cellphone photo contest, and a series of city-based photo seminars regarded as the best in the business). He also helped create journeystreams, an innovative open-source Web program to help students tell stories.
Prior to joining National Geographic, Mr. Bellows was developing Internet content as early as 1994. He worked for Rupert Murdoch’s Delphi Web service; as creative director launched BabyCenter.com (now owned by Johnson & Johnson); was the executive producer of Excite.com; and was founding partner of WestWorld Media, which developed Metallica’s first website and created the college-based Campus Voice.com.
He was the editor of the Smart Health/Smart Parenting Division of the New York-based Meigher Communications, and he was founder of the Media Development Group, Inc., which created print properties for Disney, Utne Reader, Vegetarian Times, and others.
As President/Creative, Whittle Communications, he was the editor of its flagship Special Reports magazine and executive producer of the companion “Special Reports TV with Joan Lunden” (combined, America’s largest TV/print network at the time, with more than 40 million consumers). In his 14 years at Whittle he launched and edited 30 magazines.
He has written for Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Parenting, AARP, and many other magazines. He also wrote The Canuck Book and the 1998 Winter Olympics ACCESS Guide for ABC-TV.
He is now writing 100 Places That Will Change Your Child’s Life, part of a program he is developing to encourage parents, corporations, and schools to view travel as a critical learning tool. It will be published in October 2011.
Mr. Bellows is a graduate of Gordonstoun School (Scotland) and Dartmouth College. He lectures extensively around the world (and is part of the National Geographic Speakers Bureau), and his more than 200 television appearances include the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and a regular segment on National Geographic Today.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.