The Travel Corporation, TreadRight Foundation Pledge to ‘Make Travel Matter’

Brett Tollman, chief executive officer of The Travel Corporation, commits the company and its 42 brands, and the TreadRight Foundation to “Make Travel Matter” for the planet, people and wildlife © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

On one issue I take exception to the courageous climate activist, Greta Thunberg: travel – even airline travel – is not the enemy of the climate action crusade, travel is its best ally. She may have taken two weeks to sail the Atlantic to reach the United Nations Climate Action Summit, but the thousands of diplomats and heads of state she scolded and shamed into action, could not.

“What would happen if we stopped traveling, stopped flying? Would we save the planet or unleash a global conservation crisis? There would be global conservation crisis,” asserted Costas Christ, chairman of The TreadRight Foundation, a philanthropy created by The Travel Corporation’s 42 brands, to preserve and protect the planet, people and wildlife.

“What would happen if we stopped traveling, stopped flying? Would we save the planet or unleash a global conservation crisis? There would be global conservation crisis,” asserted Costas Christ, chairman of The TreadRight Foundation, a philanthropy created by The Travel Corporation’s 42 brands, to preserve and protect the planet, people and wildlife.
© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Christ, who came out of the Wildlife Conservation Society, pointed to the three great forests on the planet – New Guinea, Amazon Basin, Central African rainforest including Gabon. But in the early 2000s, Gabon’s economy was dependent on mining and timber concessions.

The Wildlife Conservation Society went to Gabon’s president and said, “If you continue mining, cutting trees, the party is over in 50 years, but if put aside area for conservation, travelers will come, alleviate poverty and save the forest – your great grandchildren will be able to make their livelihood here.

“With stroke of Gabon President’s pen, he created 11 national parks, protecting 13 million acres – Travel Matters,” Christ said.  “Travel is the alternative to exploitation – preserve and protect instead of poach and encroach.”

 “If travelers did not go to the African continent, the future would be unrelenting poverty. Travel is hope, conservation.”

Colombia, where The Travel Corporation has introduced new travel programs, is one of the 30 places on the planet which are the “Noah’s Ark of Life,” a biodiversity hot spot harboring one out of 10 species.

 “If we are able to help Colombia protect its natural resources we will protect the second largest biodiverse place on the planet.”

“We make an impact when travel supports conservation, protects wildlife and alleviates poverty. Travel matters when it is planned, managed well, sustainable. Then magic happens – we deliver on our promise to make the world a better place.

It is significant that travel benefits the destinations, but travel also enriches individuals, in a mutually virtuous circle.

What is wanderlust and why do we seek out other places? Christ asks. Marco Polo understood. So did John Steinbeck, who, in his Pulitzer-Prize winning book, wrote:

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.

And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless.

We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

Mark Twain, who actually was a travel writer, wrote in “The Innocents Abroad,” “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Costas Christ traveled to meet the Dalai Lama, who travels constantly, to ask ‘Why travel?.’ “He said, ‘in ancient Tibetan ‘gropa’ is the word for human being, but the literal meaning is ‘one who goes on migrations.’ We define the essence of being human to travel – to travel is to be human.

“We think of the word ‘progress’ as hitting goals, but to pro-gress is a kind of travel. In Middle English, “progress” means “to go on a seasonal journey” – so success is a journey, success is linked to travel.”

The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created 10 years ago as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of  brands, takes a percentage of profit from 42 companies to make sure goes to projects that make a difference. TreadRight supports 55 projects in 280 communities in 26 countries in three basic categories: planet, people and wildlife.

TTC, a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, is joining in a commitment for the industry – which accounts for one in 10 jobs around the world and accounts for 10% of the global economy, to become carbon neutral by 2050. TTC will also take steps to eliminate plastics through its supply chain, and reduce carbon emissions.

“We’re committed to be carbon neutral before 2050 and not through carbon offsets. Carbon is what’s destroying climate, not offsets,” Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, The Travel Corporation and Founder, The TreadRight Foundation. said at a reception marking TreadRight’s 10 years.

“We are at an unfortunate tipping point, where unless we careful, this industry will be the poster for all that’s bad,” he said. “We have the opportunity to make change, but we have to be courageous.”

But though travel  – particularly airline travel – does have a carbon cost (until the technologies improve), not traveling would be far worse for the quest of saving the planet and communities from the impacts of climate change and promoting a more just society.

Christ points to places devastated by climate catastrophe that have rebounded because of tourism, communities and cultures destroyed by war and conflict, like Bosnia and Croatia, rebuild and thrive because of the economic support of travel dollars.

For example, working with the Jordan tourism Board, TreadRight supports the Queen Noor Iraq Alamei, a cooperative that employs women as potters and artisans – giving women jobs outside the home but within the village. With TreadRight support, the cooperative built up a gift shop and opened an Air BnB.

New travel programs in Colombia help create a wildlife nursery and install solar panels, while another program in Sierra Nevada, through Trafalgar, creates an opportunity for visitors to be hosted by a family.

“Travel is an incredible gift. It has the ability to open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. At TreadRight, our mission is clear; to have a positive impact on the people and communities we visit, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet we call home.”

Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of WE charity, explained how Treadright’s family of travel companies is partnering with We.org, which builds schools, promotes sustainable agriculture, brings pure water to communities – to offer programs in which travelers can immerse themselves into that community.

The Travel Corporation and TreadRight Foundation are partnering with Craig Kielburger’s We charity to create Me to We voluntourism trips to places like Kenya © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

In partnership with ME to WE, travelers have the opportunity to visit three iconic destinations: India, the Ecuadorian Amazon and Kenya. In conjunction with TTC, guests can book ME to WE Immersive Volunteer Trip extensions on upcoming set departure dates or as a requested custom trip. Travelers  stay among local communities in comfortable lodges, owned and operated by ME to WE. All meals, ground transfers, transportation and local sightseeing excursions hosted by an expert facilitator are included.

You can run with the Masai, help build a school, see what it feels like to have to carry water barrels on your back; stay in a family’s home in Ecuador; in India, visit an elephant rescue preserve instead of riding on one.  (See TreadRight.org site, https://www.TreadRight.org/trips/).

Celine Cousteau, TreadRight ambassador, speaks of the difference between tourists financing the cruel treatment of elephants, versus visiting elephants in a rescue preserve © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Travel is a privilege,” said Celine Cousteau, a documentary filmmaker and TreadRight Ambassador and storyteller. “Experience places and people, become a part of who they are. Travel fosters profound change. Travelers become storytellers. Traveling on an airplane has a carbon footprint, yes, but the value it brings more than compensates.  Travel is an opportunity to bring a thriving economy, conserve, preserve. Make a choice to do good and if travel, make it count.”

TTC’s ‘Make Travel Matter’ Pledge

TreadRight has made #maketravelmatter its mission and its theme and on this year’s World Tourism Day, made this pledge:

The Travel Corporation (TTC) has just announced its new Make Travel Matter Pledge, in celebration of World Tourism Day. Guided by The TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of award-winning  brands,  including  TrafalgarUniworldInsight Vacations, Luxury GoldContikiAfrican Travel, Inc.Lion World Travel, Brendan Vacations and Red Carnation Hotels the pledge serves as the next step in a long standing commitment to sustainable tourism and conscious travel.

“This World Tourism Day, Friday, September 27th, 2019, engaged citizens will examine the positive impact travel has on the globe and TreadRight is making its commitment public to Make Travel Matter,” the company stated.

Inspired by Palau’s First Lady, Debbie Remengesau who introduced the Palau Pledge, every one of TTC’s 10,000 team members and 42 companies worldwide are committing to make travel matter, with its new official pledge standing to help protect people, planet and wildlife. In celebration of World Tourism Day, all members of TTC’s family of brands will use the opportunity to stand up and personally commit to share TreadRight’s ethos as travelers, as travel providers and as members of the global travel industry.

Brett Tollman, chief executive officer of The Travel Corporation, commits the company and its 42 brands, and the TreadRight Foundation to “Make Travel Matter” for the planet, people and wildlife © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Our Make Travel Matter Pledge is another step on our journey and an impactful one as it further solidifies our commitment to helping protect the destinations we work with, its communities and local wildlife,” Tollman said. “As responsible travelers, TreadRight’s ethos has become part of our company’s DNA and what we stand for, and we share our pledge with our guests as well as partners in hopes they will join us.”

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER PLEDGE

I will make my travel matter – for our planet, for people and for wildlife.

When I explore this planet, I will do my best to TreadRight.

I will refuse single use plastics when I can and recycle what I cannot avoid.

When possible, I will offset my travels.

When I meet new people, I will honor their home as I do my own and do so in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. I will purchase locally made items wherever possible and pay a fair price.

When I experience wildlife, I will do so in nature.

I will not ride animals that ought not be ridden, nor support animal cruelty in any way. 

Together, we will TreadRight upon the earth – and we will make our travel matter.

More information at TreadRight.org. #MakeTravelMatter

For more information about TTC, visit www.ttc.com.

TreadRight is not the only entity that facilitates authentic, transformative, responsible travel experiences – there is a whole travel industry subcategory, many represented by Center for Responsible Travel (responsibletravel.org),  Global Sustainable Tourism Council (gstcouncil.org), Earthcheck (earthcheck.org) and the Rainforest Alliance (https://www.rainforest-alliance.org).

See also:

NYT Travel Show: How to Be a Responsible Traveler… and Why

What I Learned From Traveling Around the World in 23 Days

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© 2019 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Devastating Hurricane Dorian Reminds of Vital Link Between Climate Action, Tourism & Sustainable Economy

Tourism creates jobs, provides a sustainable economy that preserves heritage and environment © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

On World Tourism Day 2019, Patricia Affonso-Dass, president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association offered this message:

The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, “Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all”, is particularly relevant for the Caribbean because no other sector creates more jobs or more opportunities in a wider variety of professions and skills. 

In addition to the 2.5 million people employed directly, many more benefit indirectly from the industry’s contributions to Caribbean health, wealth, education and the environment. Our infrastructure, schools, hospitals, public services, and parks and recreation facilities are all helped by this dynamic and growing industry – already the world’s largest sector but also its fastest growing.

The 2017 hurricanes and Hurricane Dorian that devastated some of our destinations reinforced the indispensable role of tourism in our lives. They remind us that for each tourism employee unable to work because of the storms, many members of their families were also affected.

Initiatives such as “Tourism Jobs for Bahamians”, just launched by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) together with the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), are finding interim jobs for displaced industry professionals.

There will be more jobs as tourism recovers from the hurricanes and the industry resumes its healthy growth trend, and our task is to spread the benefits more equitably to a wider cross section of our people. We want to ensure women, youth, minorities, and the differently abled have open gateways to employment, ownership and leadership within the industry. There are over 1,000 different job and career paths in the industry, a fifth of which are at supervisory and management levels. Increasing diversity always strengthens companies and organizations, especially in tourism. Our visitors come from a wide range of backgrounds, so our people who welcome visitors to our shores should also reflect the full spectrum of our rich human diversity.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, with the support of many of the region’s local associations and our members, is earnest about its mandate to develop our industry’s human resources. Well over 500 Caribbean nationals have received higher education scholarships through the CHTA Education Foundation. More than 1,000 chefs and several hundred bartenders have honed their skills through professional development opportunities that CHTA and the industry have provided through our Taste of the Caribbean initiative. 

Thousands of employees have benefited from industry-sponsored professional development training, including over 500 who attended “diversity in the workplace” courses over the past year. Earlier this year, CHTA launched its Young Leaders Initiative, in which dozens of young people are developing their leadership skills and their understanding of the industry and the opportunities it offers. 

This does not include the additional investments that independent hotels, resort brands, airlines, tour operators, attractions, taxi and transportation providers, vendors and other industry stakeholders, with their human resource professionals and employees, are making every day to deliver exceptional hospitality. 

Building upon a rich foundation, we have the responsibility to make more opportunities to develop our people and our industry, anticipating technological and consumer demand-driven changes which are now a constant. The recent collapse of the world’s oldest travel agency offers more lessons. While never losing sight of the fundamentals of hospitality, the dynamics of our industry demands our adaptability and responsiveness to change if we are not to face a similar fate.

Tourism can benefit every corner of our region and so on this World Tourism Day, we celebrate the importance of the industry and the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities it represents. We resolve individually and collectively, as businesses, governments and education and training institutions, to continue to invest in our people. 

In the Caribbean, “Tourism is Everyone’s Business”.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.

World Tourism Day, Sept 27, Calls Attention to Global Importance of Travel

Tourism to Inle Lake, Myanmar, provides an economic foundation to preserve traditional crafts as well as promote understanding © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

As the 74th United Nations General Assembly gets underway, it is appropriate to be reminded of one of the missions, though the United National World Tourism Organization, to promote international travel. Each year, on September 27, UNWTO commemorates World Tourism Day with celebrations led by UNWTO. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the sector can make in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, in line with UNWTO’s overarching focus on skills, education and jobs throughout the year, World Tourism Day will be a celebration on the topic ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’.

This is from the UNWTO website:

Tourism’s role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism generates 10% of world jobs and is included in Sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work.

New policies are needed to maximize tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth. New policies are also needed to reflect and incorporate ongoing advances in technology.

Policies and actions should be geared towards addressing the current mismatch between tourism skills that are taught and those that tourism employers need.

This requires a holistic approach to the future of work in tourism, with heightened cooperation between all actors, including the public and private sectors.

The Future of Work

Creating and ensuring equitable employment is essential to increasing social inclusion, peace and security. The potential of every economic sector to provide decent jobs should be utilized to its fullest.

The emergence of new technologies has led to the development of new forms of work that are rapidly changing production processes worldwide. This both provides opportunities for, and puts pressure, on existing employment, welfare and education agendas.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), global unemployment remains high, reaching more than 190 million in 2018. All sectors and countries, therefore, need to create the conditions for more and better jobs. Embracing new technology can play a key role in achieving this goal.

Making the new wave of technological breakthroughs as inclusive as possible will require considerable investment in training and skills for life and work. Everyone should have a chance to develop their full potential so as to benefit from the new technological era.

To do this we need to examine the impact of technological change on socioeconomic growth, jobs and inequality. We also need to provide tools and skills to those who are looking for a job and as well as to those whose jobs are at risk of automation.

On the occasion of its centenary in 2019, the ILO released ‘Work for a Brighter Future: Report of the Global Commission on the future of Work’. This landmark report takes note of the forces transforming the world – technology, climate change, demography, globalization – to call for a human-centered agenda for the future of work.

By placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice, the path towards growth, equity and sustainability consists of three pillars of action:

Increase investment in people’s capabilities

Increase investment in the institutions of work

Increase investment in decent and sustainable work

Tourism is a leading people-to-people sector, with growth rates outpacing world economic growth and international trade. It is one of the main global export categories and with such a high impact on human workforce, it serves as a natural ally of ILO’s human-centered agenda for the future of work.

Tourism and Jobs

Tourism is a major source of employment because of its labour-intensive nature and the significant multiplier effect on employment in related sectors. It is estimated that one job in the core tourism sector creates about one-and-a-half additional or indirect jobs in the tourism-related economy. Overall tourism accounts for one in ten jobs worldwide.

The ILO estimates that ‘accommodation and restaurants’, together with ‘private sector services’, will create jobs at the fastest rate among all sectors in the economy over the next five years.

Tourism has proven to be a resilient economic activity. In each of the seven years following the global economic crisis of 2010, the number of worldwide international tourist arrivals grew at 4% or above.

Tourism is a contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a target in Goals 8, 12 and 14. The sector’s contribution to job creation is specifically recognized in Goal 8, target 8.9. This states: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.

Tourism’s voice at the UN level is mirrored in other global development and policy fora. The 26th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government concluded in November 2018 with a high-level political declaration on sustainable development in which tourism plays a key supporting role. The commitment includes UNWTO as the designated global partner and marks the first time the tourism sector has been featured in a top-level multilateral cooperation agenda.

More recently, the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration from June 2019 singles out tourism’s contribution to global economic growth and inclusive and sustainable development: “Tourism accounts for a significant share of the world’s GDP and is expected to continue to be an important driver of global economic growth. We will work to maximize the sector’s contribution to the creation of quality jobs and entrepreneurship, especially for women and youth and in the creative industry; economic resilience and recovery; the preservation of natural resources through sustainable tourism planning and management; and the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development.”

However, despite representing 10% of the world’s jobs, tourism’s role in employment generation and entrepreneurship is often underestimated and undervalued in policy formulation and implementation.

mismatch between available qualifications and workplace reality is one of the major factors impacting tourism employment and talent development. The gap between education and skills/knowledge needs, and the resulting shortages of labour with ‘future-proof’ skills, continues to dent economies and harm job creation prospects. Moreover, tourism suffers from important challenges related to attracting and retaining talent and the improvement of working conditions.

Tourism Jobs and the Digital Revolution

Globalization, technological progress and demographic change are trends that, together, have redefined the tourism sector and how it functions. At the heart of our now hyper-connected, hyper-informed world is a digital-led revolution in markets, as well as in the demand for skills and the characteristics of tourism jobs. Recent years have seen the emergence of digital breakthroughs, including new platform tourism services (the so-called sharing or collaborative economy), big data and geo-localization.

Some of the main issues the tourism sector faces in adapting its workforce to the technological revolution are:

The need to review and update outdated legislation and regulation that supports employment, innovation, entrepreneurship and new business models

The low level of awareness and expertise of new technologies and technological trends

A lack of funding to invest in new technologies and training for the jobs needed for the present and future

The lack of cooperation and communication among relevant stakeholders

MSMEs Are Key to Decent Work in Tourism

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are now the major job creators in tourism. OECD/ILO research shows that around half of tourism employees work in enterprises of fewer than 10 people, while around three-quarters work in enterprises of fewer than 50 people.

Tourism MSMEs are also an important source of innovation and economic diversification, helping to shape socioeconomic development in destination countries worldwide.

However, access to finance, prohibiting business regulations and inadequate skills are major constraints faced by all MSMEs including those operating in the tourism sector.

The main challenge related to MSMEs, then, is to create an enabling environment that at once improves their economic prospects, overcomes barriers to decent jobs, and ensures that MSMEs’ economic activities are environmentally sustainable.

Promoting Jobs For All in Tourism – Youth, Women and Rural Communities

The tourism sector employs more women and young people than most other sectors.

Just under half (47%) of people working in tourism in European OECD countries are between 15 and 34 years of age, compared to a third (32%) of workers in the economy as a whole.

In OECD countries, women account for 60% of employment in the tourism sector. This is higher than the share of women employed in the services sector (47%) and in the economy as a whole (43%).

Women play a leading role in tourism entrepreneurship. UNWTO/UNWomen research shows that the global rate of women entrepreneurs in ‘hotels and restaurants’ (36%) is comparatively higher than in all sectors combined (22%).

Furthermore, tourism creates jobs in rural and remote areas, not only directly but also indirectly through the preservation and restoration of traditional activities. Often it is one of the few viable economic sectors in these areas.

The explicit mention of tourism in Goal 8, target 8.9 of the SDGs recognizes its transformational potential on livelihoods and prosperity in rural communities, both through providing access to decent employment and through reviving traditional local industries.

By providing opportunities for women, youth and rural communities in a variety of roles, tourism contributes to several SDG target areas surrounding empowerment of vulnerable groups and more equal and inclusive societies. More inclusion strengthens tourism’s power to unite people across cultures in a celebration of diversity, increasing overall social resilience.

Despite these benefits tourism provides, it must also address serious challenges surrounding employment for all of these groups.

One is a large gender pay gap. In tourism, women are on average paid 20-25% less than male workers for comparable skills. Women are often over-represented in non-standard forms of employment. Women also suffer segregation in terms of access to education and training.

Low-skilled women often find themselves in the most vulnerable jobs, at risk of poor working conditions, inequality of opportunity and treatment, violence, exploitation, stress and sexual harassment.

Temporary and part-time jobs are particularly common among women, young people, and the less-skilled who are employed in tourism. They can often lead to decent work deficits, including inadequate social security coverage, low wages and income inequality, and poor working conditions.  

The tourism sector’s variable demand cycle, with irregular working hours and unpredictable shifts, poses additional challenges for those (of any gender) trying to reconcile work and family responsibilities. At the same time, however, this flexibility may also provide opportunities to individuals wanting to combine a job in tourism with another occupation.

A Policy Framework for Decent Tourism Jobs

New policies are needed to maximize the potential of the tourism sector to create more and better jobs, while reducing the risk associated with an increasing skills mismatch.

There is a longstanding tradition of the tourism sector working in isolation from other key economic sectors. The way forward is for a more holistic approach to the future of work in tourism, with clear links to other sectors that are important for economic development.

The major ongoing changes and challenges around tourism employment require a new approach to skills development and education, policies for innovation and job creation.

Policies should:

Encourage the progress of innovation in tourism that fosters job creation and entrepreneurship, particularly among women, youth and rural communities, through;

Establishing tourism innovation centres, incentives and programmes to connect start-ups, leading companies, investors and governments;

Developing research on the changing demand for skills due to the digital revolution;

Creating initiatives that promote innovation and technological skills development in tourism;

Bring together educational institutions, the private sector, governments and technology partners to review educational programmes and help create the skill sets needed for future work opportunities, including soft skills;

Further bridge the gap between available qualifications and workplace skills needed, by supporting opportunities for appropriate industry experience, such as internships or scholarships, along with specialized education and training;

Include technology stakeholders in national tourism policy coordination structures and mechanisms, in order to ensure an holistic approach that accounts for innovation and job creation;

Include tourism as a key sector in both national and multilateral agenda for employment, education and skills creation, and overall economic development, highlighting tourism’s capacity to deliver on the objectives of creating more and better jobs.

Join the celebration: #WTD2019

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African Travel Donates Funds to Help Support Rhino Conservation at Shamwari Game Reserve

Celebrating 26 years of “conserving a vanishing way of life,” Shamwari Game Reserve has worked to rehabilitate and consolidate their 25,000 hectares of land so that the flora and fauna may flourish.  African Travel’s $100 per couple donation in their name will go towards the building of the rhino boma at Shamwari. a haven to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhino until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.

BOCA RATON, Fla. As World Rhino Day approaches, African Travel, Inc. encourages travelers to celebrate the species and support the future of these critically endangered animals.

In honor of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) 100-year anniversary, African Travel, Inc., will donate $100 per couple traveling on the Majestic South Africa itinerary in support of rhino conservation.

This incredible 10-day journey begins in Cape Town, the stunning port city crowned by the natural beauty of Table Mountain.   Over four nights, guests will enjoy 5-stary luxury at the Table Bay Hotel on the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and feast on African, Afrikaans and European flavors at the hotel’s Camissa Brasserie.  From its culinary scene, to its natural beauty, the best of South Africa’s Mother City is revealed as guests explore the majestic coastline of the Cape Peninsula, the crowd-pleasing penguins of Boulders Beach, or the rich and charming winelands of Franschhoek, the gourmet capital of the Cape.

A different kind of beauty unfolds as guests fly to Port Elizabeth and transfer by road to Shamwari Private Game Reserve.  This premier safari lodge encompasses 61,000 acres of vast, ever-changing vegetation and multitudes of different animal and bird species.

Celebrating 26 years of “conserving a vanishing way of life,” Shamwari Game Reserve has worked to rehabilitate and consolidate their 25,000 hectares of land so that the flora and fauna may flourish.  The $100 per couple donation in their name will go towards the building of the rhino boma at Shamwari. a haven to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhino until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. Guest can also visit the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which helps to rehabilitate and care for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals under the care of their professional veterinary team. Once these animals have been nursed back to health, they are released back into their natural habitat.

“We exist because our goal in life is to make travel matter.  It’s our responsibility to protect some of the species most at risk from extinction in the places we visit, and we are extremely passionate about rhino conservation” said Sherwin Banda, president, African Travel, Inc.  “At Shamwari, this is something our guests will experience first-hand and we’re proud that we’re able to support sustainable tourism through this effort.”

At Shamwari, guests will enjoy twice-daily game drives and nature walks and stay three nights at the cliffside Eagles Crag Lodge, which offers the ultimate in luxury, privacy and spectacular scenery.  Priced from $6,195 per person.

For a bird’s eye view of Shamwari and African Travel, Inc.’s partnership and support of them, enjoy this video.

To book African Travel, Inc. at (800) 421-8907, or visit www.africantravelinc.com.

Follow African Travel, Inc. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using the hashtag #WeKnowAfrica

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has supported some 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, visit us at TreadRight.org

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USTOA Tour Operators Venture to Lesser-Known Corners of the World in 2020

USTOA members bring travelers to less-trafficked places in the world, like cruising in Vietnam © Laini Miranda/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –Each September, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) celebrates Travel Together Month to showcase the unparalleled group travel experiences offered by USTOA tour operators. This year, USTOA is spotlighting new itineraries that lead travelers off-the-beaten path in 2020.

Travelers who explore relatively less-traveled destinations often experience fewer crowds, encounter more opportunities to immerse themselves in the local culture, and discover activities that are distinctly different.

“Traveling to the lesser-known corners of the earth supports the growth of emerging destinations while providing a richer and deeper understanding of local cultures and communities,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Our tour operator members have been taking travelers to off-the-beaten-path places for decades and have an exciting array of new programs available in 2020 to explore.”

New USTOA tour operator itineraries for 2020 include:

Lithuania & Latvia: the Baltics – Cyclists can spin along the Baltic coast, take a private cruise to the Curonian Spit, and join a Lithuanian barbecue with VBT Bicycling Vacations. Departures are available between May and September 2020, starting at $3,095 per person.

Discover Ethiopia –Perillo’s Learning Journeys takes guests on a city tour of the capital, Addis Ababa, home to museums and open air markets, and on an exploration of Lalibela, a town in the Amhara region known for its distinctive rock-cut churches. Private group departures are available throughout 2020 starting at $3,890 per person.

Wukalina Walk – Travelers can take a guided, four-day adventure in Tasmania with Goway.com through Launceston while listening to the stories of this northeast region. Departures are available on Sundays through March 2020, starting at $1,609 per person.

Coastal Wonders of Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland – Adventurers can visit Norway’s spectacular fjords, discover the Viking heritage in the Faroe Islands, and observe nesting seabirds on Iceland’s Látrabjarg cliffs with Lindblad Expeditions. Departure is June 18, 2020, starting at $17,160 per person.

Vietnam & Cambodia – Holiday Vacations takes travelers through these two neighboring Southeast Asia destinations with time for traditional cooking classes, museum visits, and boat cruises. Departures are available in March 2020, starting at $8,299 per person.

Bolivia & Chile’s Atacama Desert – International Expeditions takes guests through Bolivia’s dramatic landscape and wildlife, and to the turquoise lakes and red plains of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Departure is available May 9, 2020, starting at $10,698 per person.

UNESCO Banff National Park & The Rocky Mountaineer – Travelers can explore the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, and Lake Louise by boat, rail, and a glass-domed car with Seabourn Cruises. Departures are available on select dates between June and September 2020, starting at $5,399 per person.

Find all the itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.com/dream-vacation

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

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New Booking Incentives on Small Ship Expedition Cruises to Amazon, Galapagos, Antarctica

One of the most biodiverse regions of the world, the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin, reveals its bounties from the perspective of the Napo River aboard the 40-guest cruise vessel M/V Anakonda, specifically designed to navigate these waters.

TRUCKEE, CA– For expedition cruisers looking for an amazing deal, below is a heady mix of high-end itineraries available through 2019 in three distinct destinations. All offer booking incentives, with some limited offers up to 40 percent off. All are being promoted through the small ship cruise expert Adventure Smith Explorations.
 
40% Savings on Cruise Departures Exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon
 
The Ecuadorian Amazon comes to life on four, five and eight-day Anakonda Amazon Cruises from $2,440 per person double (for four days). Specific departures through Dec. 20 come with savings ranging from 10% to 40%. One of the most biodiverse regions of the world, the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin, reveals its bounties from the perspective of the Napo River aboard the 40-guest cruise vessel M/V Anakonda, specifically designed to navigate these waters. Guests visit Amazonian communities where they are invited to see handicraft demonstrations and to sample traditional meals. Here the varied ecosystems showcase such wildlife as pink river dolphins, giant otters and turtles. Hundreds of native birds and primates signal their presence while navigating along the region’s freshwater rivers. In Yasuni National Park guests may swim, kayak and canoe, birdwatch and trek through the rainforest.
 
The Manatee Amazon Explorer Cruise offers savings up to 40% on cruises departing from Sept 4 through Dec 20, 2019. These are from $1,966 per person double for four days exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. Five and eight-day adventures are also available. Accommodation is aboard the 30-guest M/V Manatee Amazon Explorer.
 
Free Local Air on Nov-Dec Galapagos Cruises
 
Sea Star Journey Galapagos Cruises are five and six-day active explorations of the Galapagos aboard the 16-passenger luxury yacht, Sea Star Journey. Select departures in November and December come with complimentary local airfare and savings of up to 10 percent. The per person double rate is from $4,649 for five days. (Five and six-day programs can be combined with other itineraries to create longer cruises of up to 15 days.) Complimentary roundtrip air from Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos is available on Nov. 3, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15, 2019 departures. Sea kayaking, snorkeling, trekking and exploring the underwater world in a glass-bottom boat bring to life the wonders of this region.
 
On select departures of Seaman Journey Galapagos Cruises from October through December 2019, guests can enjoy savings of up to 20% plus a $300 discount on local airfare. Accommodation is aboard M/C Seaman Journey, a recently remodeled 16-passenger catamaran with one of the best sundecks in the Galapagos. Four, five and eight-day cruises are available starting from $2,599 per person double.
 
Free Round-Trip Airfare Offered on Two Antarctic Itineraries 
 
National Geographic the White Continent is a 14-day cruise from $14,680 aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer, the 102-guest National Geographic Orion or the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance. Bookings made by December 31, 2019 on this classic itinerary to the Antarctic Peninsula offer complimentary round-trip airfare (when booking on the National Geographic Explorer or Orion), as well as a complimentary bar tab and all ships’ crew gratuities. These ships are virtual floating basecamps during the voyage, offering enough kayaks and Zodiacs to send all guests out exploring at the same time. Huge tabular icebergs, Gentoo penguins, whales and more stamp memories in place forever.
 
Complimentary round-trip airfare and waived bar tab and crew gratuities are also offered on the National Geographic Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands cruise throughout a 24-day adventure at a per person double rate from $25,220. Guests enjoy distinguished hospitality aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer, the 102-guest National Geographic Orion or the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance. Opportunities for wildlife viewing are countless. Think a vast colony of king penguins, albatross, king cormorants, nesting rockhopper penguins and Magellanic penguins.
 
For details on these and all of AdventureSmith Explorations’ small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, call 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit the company website.
 

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Truckee, CA, near the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith first joined the ranks of Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list as the leading expert on small ship expeditions, a distinction that is still enjoyed to this day.

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Wildland Adventures Guides Guests Beyond Over-Touristed Sites On Explorations of Turkey

Wildland Adventures to Turkey embrace the culture people flock here to experience.

SEATTLE, WA – Over-touristed sites are now the new norm throughout the world.
 
For example, this year in record numbers, tourists are queuing up at the Blue Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Istanbul.
 
“Travel is an investment in time and money. Istanbul has cultural and historical treasures that extend beyond the Blue Mosque. So why waste hours just to get inside a building you have been told you must see?” asks Kurt Kutay, CEO and President of Wildland Adventures.
 
Instead, Wildland Adventures guides with deep knowledge of Istanbul and Turkey will share the Blue Mosque story with fine-tuned timing that skirts crowds and by introducing historical/cultural takeaways at less selfie-prone places.
 
“This resurgence of interest to visit Turkey is keeping us on our toes,” Kutay says. “We have to be aware, well in advance, where the maddening crowds will gather next. Then we plan contingencies that will connect the same cultural dots that the hot spots do – but perhaps even more effectively without the distractions that come with crowds.” Turkey has 100,000 registered historic spots. If a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site is over-run by crowds, Kutay’s team will choose the best hours to visit or designate a comparable place to fulfill a similar interest and expectation.
 
Wildland Adventures to Turkey embrace the culture people flock here to experience. “We bring our guests as close as possible to real worlds, freed of artifice, must-sees and must-dos,” Kutay explains. Among the takeaways that Wildland Adventures guests enjoy are:

  • Extant Greek and Roman ruins, more numerous here than in Greece and Italy combined.
  • One of the world’s prized cuisines. “We make sure to feature a different dish every day. Dining in Turkey is simultaneously a history lesson served up on a plate,” Kutay exudes, paraphrasing Poet Abdulhak Sinasi who wrote: “Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just, simply food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself.”
  • Visits to less-known alternative sites that are comparable to the crowded hotspots to imbibe history, culture and traditions. “Instead of waiting in lines, our guests talk with local people including merchants, artists and religious leaders.” Most tours focus exclusively on historic sites around Sultanahmet Square, which is less than half a mile in diameter and a stone’s throw from the cruise ship dock. But Constantinople (so named until 1930) is surrounded by 14 miles of walls; the heart of the ancient city is four miles east to west. Wildland Adventures extends tours into old, traditional neighborhoods and to Bosphorus villages for a full understanding of old and contemporary Istanbul.
  • Experiences that move beyond monuments and historic buildings. Guests visit markets, eat street food, visit artist workshops, neighborhood coffee shops, wine bars and panoramic rooftop bars to take it all in on a grand scale.
  • Cruising the Turquoise Coast of the Mediterranean in traditional hand-built Gulets (classic Phoenician-style, wooden yachts). Guests explore along footpaths only accessible from the sea, paths that lead to pastoral grazing lands chalk full of Crusader, Byzantine Greek and Roman archaeological sites. “It’s all about timing as well by avoiding busy coastal towns and beaches where tourists flock by day,” underscores Kutay. “We anchor in quiet coves and wait until tourists disappear for the day. We then serve wine and appetizers in ancient ruins where, sitting in the sunset, we take turns reciting poetry or singing a song in the Odeon (a stone structure specific to the ancient arts).” 

The tours Wildland Adventures offers in Turkey are: 

  • Turquoise Coast Odyssey – a 13-day itinerary from $4,965 per person double. Accommodations include a restored Ottoman home in the heart of a mountain village, a boutique cave hotel and Istanbul inns with rooftop restaurants. Highlights are Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kas, an Anatolian village, Ephesus and a voyage along the Turquoise Coast in a traditional gulet yacht. 
  • Highlights of Turkey – a 9-day exploration from $3,695 per person double. This itinerary embraces Turkey’s three most important cultural and political centers: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus on foot along ancient pathways and by boat. Guests enjoy well-appointed friendly hotels, a boutique cave accommodation and a renovated historic hotel in the Aegean highlands. 

Departure dates are available upon request. Kutay notes that even though there’s more pressure on prices because of renewed demand by tourists, the Turkish Lira has fallen against the stronger dollar.
 
“Our trip prices remain the same as they were three years ago,” he notes.
  
Kurt Kutay, Founding CEO/President, and Anne Kutay, Vice-President, established Wildland Adventures in 1987. As active managing directors, they are continuously refining and evolving their Wild Style of travel. The ‘Wild Style’ is based on an ethic of sincerity, compassion and understanding that breaks down barriers of separation to build lasting intercultural, interpersonal, and environmental bonds designed to enhance rather than exploit the people and places where they travel.

For more information on these itineraries and all of Wildland Adventures’ worldwide offerings, availability and reservations, call 1-800-345-4453 or email info@wildland.com. Visit http://www.wildland.com/. Kutay has also recently published 6 Ways to Travel Responsibly in an Age of Overtourism.

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Ride & Seek Organizes Marco Polo Cycling Expedition

Ride & Seek adventure cycling company has introduced the first two stages of The Marco Polo Expedition, cycling 1900 km from Venice to Athens.

(Provence, France) — Ride & Seek, an adventure cycling company offering itineraries that follow in the footsteps of historical figures, is thrilled to announce its most ambitious project to date: The Marco Polo Expedition. The goal of this newly created tour is to cycle from Venice, Italy to Beijing, China in seven distinct stages. The first two stages are scheduled to run in September 17 – October 14, 2020, leading riders 1,900 km from Venice to Athens, Greece over 26 days.

Guests will bike down the coast from Italy through Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, riding from harbor to harbor.  Accommodations range from charming Soviet-style hotels to agriturismos and modern boutique hotels. Fine wine and gourmet food will be featured throughout the trip. This epic excursion ranges from $5,260 USD to $11,248 USD per person.

 “Our Epic Adventures are all created with a sense of discovery at their core, and this tour fulfills that in abundance,” said Ride & Seek Founder Dylan Reynolds. “Marco Polo is one of the great travelers in history and in many ways, he embodies the spirit of the tours we run.”

Polo was a Venetian merchant who journeyed across Asia at the height of the Mongol Empire. He first set out at age 17 with his father and uncle, travelling overland along what later became known as the Silk Road. Upon reaching China, Marco Polo entered the court of powerful Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, who dispatched him on trips to help administer the realm. Marco Polo remained abroad for 24 years.

STAGE 1 – Venice to Dubrovnik
Leaving Venice by boat, the first stage of The Marco Polo Expedition embraces the essence of island-hopping, which lies at the heart of this tour. We negotiate our way down the stunning Dalmatian coast via Marco Polo’s alleged birthplace of Korcula and take in such jewels as Hvar and Split on our way to the enchanting city of Dubrovnik. 12-days/11-nights, 738 km, September 17-29 2020

STAGE 2 – Dubrovnik to Athens
Leaving Dubrovnik, riders quickly enter the beguiling country of Montenegro before jumping on to the road-less-traveled through fascinating Albania, a true tour highlight and phenomenal cycling destination. The final week take guests first to Corfu, before heading inland towards Athens. 16-days/15-nights, 1,050 km, September 29 – October 14, 2020

For more information, visit https://www.rideandseek.com/tour/marco-polo/.


Ride & Seek is a worldwide adventure cycling company offering unique historical itineraries with quality lodging, fine gastronomy, and cultural immersion. Cyclists can not only ride some of the greatest roads in Europe but also visit some of the most spectacular sites as well. Providing a cultural insight into the areas visited both historically and gastronomically is central. Historical journeys and cultural adventures are the company’s specialties. https://rideandseek.com

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Industry to Gather on World Tourism Day to Discuss Best Practices for Responsible, Sustainable Travel

Biking in India: Travel can provide the economic base to sustain ancient heritage and conserve wildlife and environment but too much can also destroy. Responsible travel industry entities and governments are working to minimize adverse impact. One of the ways for travelers to maximize their contribution and minimize adverse impact is by a bike tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

How can the travel industry better support the communities we love around the world? On World Tourism Day, leaders in tourism and community development will come together in Washington, DC on Friday, September 27, to discuss best practices for travel giving, voluntourism, and corporate social impact.

The 2019 World Tourism Day Forum, Impact Tourism: Giving Time, Talent, & Treasure, is a day-long event focused on how tourism business, travelers, and organizations are successfully making strategic contributions of time, talent, and treasure to social and environmental projects in destinations. Recognizing that “doing good” does not always mean “doing right,” the forum will also examine the downsides of poorly implemented travel giving programs.

Hosted by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Organization of American States, this event will trace the evolution of what was originally referred to as “travelers’ philanthropy” into “impact tourism,” which is recognized today as a core component of responsible travel. Designed to generate insights and highlight innovation, the forum will also discuss the future of this growing source of development assistance.

Select speakers include:

  • James Thornton, Chief Executive Officer, Intrepid Travel
  • Chris Blackwell, Founder, Island Outpost
  • Meenu Vadera, Founder & Executive Director, Women on Wheels/Azad Foundation
  • Katherine Redington, Vice President of Social Impact Journeys and Business Development, Elevate Destinations
  • Carmen Portela, Co-Founder, Local Guest

For a complete list of speakers and topics, visit the event website.

The event is taking place on Friday, September 27, 2019,  8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m at United States Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC (reached by the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines).