Category Archives: ecotourism

Lindblad Expeditions Celebrates the Blessing of National Geographic Islander ll Before Inaugural Galapagos Voyage

Lindblad Expeditions celebrated the blessing of National Geographic Islander ll before its inaugural Galapagos voyage. Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, commended Lindblad Expeditions as a “great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development.”

NEW YORK, NY, AUGUST 3, 2022 — Lindblad Expeditions celebrated the official blessing of the newest addition to their award-winning fleet, National Geographic Islander ll in Salinas, Ecuador this past weekend.  Attendees included Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, and Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, industry colleagues, local partners, and members of Lindblad’s beloved crew. The 26-suite best-in-class expedition vessel will make her inaugural Galápagos voyage on August 19, 2022, for year-round expeditions in the islands.   

The traditional blessing was administered by a local priest, followed by short speeches from the Ministries and a toast offered by Ana Esteves, Lindblad’s Vice President of Hotel Operations, and ship Captain Gonzalo Cifuentes. Both Ministers’ speeches highlighted Lindblad’s commitment to Galápagos and conservation. 

“Lindblad Expeditions is a great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development  how they are buying supplies from the local communities, employing people from Ecuador to connect with the local cultures, and introducing their guests to our amazing cuisine,” stated Minister Olsen.

Minister Manrique applauded “this kind of investment in Ecuador that is something between tourism, investigation, science, and education” and thanked Lindblad for “trusting in Ecuador.”

Guests enjoyed Ecuadorian cuisine, and tours of the 48-guest vessel that showcased her elegantly appointed suites, bridge, the Science Hub, the Global Gallery, new Marina, impressive Observation Deck, and ship wide enhancements that will elevate the Lindblad guest experience to an entirely new level.

The event was followed the next day by a special reception for members of the ship’s crew and officers, capped off by an exuberant welcome by dozens of small fishing boats in the area for the local Santa Rosa festivities. 

“We pioneered expedition travel in Galápagos, and National Geographic Islander ll is truly the best of both worlds,” stated Ana Esteves, Vice President of Hotel Operations.  “She’s gracious like a private yacht, offers space and comfort, a culinary program that highlights the regions of Ecuador with locally sourced ingredients, a spa and a 1-1 guest-to-crew ratio.  But she is also a world class expedition vessel designed for active exploration, with a fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, a glass-bottom Zodiac, snorkel gear for all guests, and a flotilla of Zodiacs. We are so ready to head to the Galápagos Islands and could not be more excited,”

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

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EF Go Ahead Tours Designed to Travel with More Meaning: Itineraries Promote Animal Welfare, Local Communities and the Planet

EF Go Ahead Tours’ trip to India: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur hits the “Golden Triangle” and include must-sees like the Taj Mahal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

EF Go Ahead Tours believes travel is a powerful way to foster understanding and respect for the people, cultures, and places of the world. From protecting and promoting animal welfare to more sustainable tourism practices and support for local communities, EF Responsible Tourism Initiatives work toward a more sustainable world and fulfill its mission of opening the world through education.

  1. South Africa: Cultural Cities & Wildlife Safaris (NEWLY OPENED): A 17-day tour of spectacular scenery, cities, and amazing wildlife sightings are a given. This tour integrates education via living history walking tours of apartheid to world animal protection initiatives within some of the world’s most endangered populations. There’s learning in pleasure too! After a long day of touring, let the unique ecology of the region and its botanicals, tease your palate with a Gin workshop and tasting. Who knew flora played such a critical role in creating fine gin! 
  2. Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & WildlifeA 9-day tour of this majestic land that is leading the world on sustainable travel practices with meaningful education highlights that encompass all aspects of land and sea. Visit and eat on a carbon neutral ranch, work with endangered toucans and owls and see first hand how sea turtles bear the brunt of environmental challenges. 
  3. Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands and Thailand: The Golden Kingdom: Two ways to see Thailand through the eyes of its most beloved treasures — elephants and ancient farming practices. A pioneer in World Animal Protection, the Changchill Elephant Sanctuary allows visitors to prepare medicine and food for the elephants and chat with the mahouts, or elephant caretakers, and enjoy an included vegetarian meal overlooking the elephants’ natural bathing spot. These itineraries also include a visit to the Thai Organic Farm & The Sampram Model Movementwhich originally started an organic farm to grow produce for hotel and restaurant guests. They saw the impact that organic produce had on their family and guest’s overall wellness and wanted to extend those benefits to the entire community. In 2010, they gathered local organic farmers and created The Sampran Model Movement, which connects farmers with the same values and encourages them to grow organically, which then provides consumers with more organic produce at a fair market price.  
  4. Greece, the Balkans & CroatiaFrom Athens to Dubrovnik, spend 17 days exploring mountains to sea and the rich history of Greek and Adriatic nations. Visit Lake Ohrid, Europe’s oldest and most biodiverse lake for an expert-led talk on conservation efforts there to preserve the local biodiversity, threatened by unregulated development and poor waste facilities in the region, and preservation of archaeological sites like the Bay of Bones. Tease your palate with farm-to-table experiences in North Macedonia, Albania and Croatia; then compare notes later. From vegetables, to honey, to wine to oyster farms, learn how this part of the world is pioneering sustainable food practices through tourism. 
  5. India: Delhi, Agra & JaipurNot only does this trip hit the “Golden Triangle” and include must-sees like the Taj Mahal, living history via the Gandhi Museum, and Qutub Minar, an early Islamic tower; but you will start one morning off with the time-honored ritual of yoga. Finally, one whole day is spent with the Dhonk Craft workshop, to learn about socially responsible enterprise and anti-poaching initiatives aimed to protect tigers. 
  6. A Week in Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Rainforests: 9 days in Belize is like a mini trip around the world and equally beckons beachgoers, history buffs and nature lovers! Home to the world’s healthiest barrier reefs, archaeological sites once at the center of Mayan civilization and a lush rainforest. Go Ahead Tours’ travelers snorkel side-by-side with a marine biologist who will explain the Mesoamerican — the Western Hemisphere’s longest reef — ecosystem. Swim among beautiful animals and learn how to protect them better in Belize and at home. 
  7. Ireland: A Feast of Culinary Flavors & Local Traditions: Start in Dublin, go clockwise through lush Irish scenery and culture ending in Galway. A country steeped in tradition, the Irish food scene has evolved significantly from Granny’s pot roast and potatoes. Whisky distilleries, pints of good beer are requisite, of course. Timeless, yet current? Work on a farm to learn how one modern family is implementing ancient farming techniques so that all animals, plants and water on the farm work together for a truly sustainable practice. 
  8. Israel: Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea & JerusalemHoly Land for three world religions and home of the infamous Dead Sea are what you’d expect in a tour to Israel. EF Go Ahead’s tour digs deep into the exploding food scene in Israel with memorable meals. Also, eat lunch with a Kibbutz and then spend a day with an Olive Oil farm, Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-led non-profit, which is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. A large part of their mission is to connect Arab farmers with the Israeli market, specifically by introducing modernization techniques like climate resistance crops and forming cooperative relationships between Jewish and Arab producers. 
  9. Grand Tour of Peru: Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca: From city to sacred mountains to indiginous floating islands on a lake, this tour marries ancient footsteps with modern wonders. Sink into Spain’s colonial influences in Lima, then travel back to ancient Inca learnings in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. New for 2021, travelers will meet members of the Inka Roots Experiential Tourism Association for a walk to Raqchi Village. Inka Roots is a tourism cooperative intended for a balance between environmental care, income generation for locals, and fostering respect for local traditions. 
  10. Tanzania Wildlife Safari: Sure, you’d expect to see the “Big 5” on Safari in Tanzania. And you will: 12 days exploring the Tarangire, the legendary Serengeti and the “Garden of Eden ” at Ngorongoro Crater. However, this tour goes beyond the obvious! After visiting the Nunqwi village, you will visit the Mnari Aquarium, which is a sea turtle conservatory run by a community group. 
  11. In addition, a brand new tour from EF called Ghana: A Cultural Adventure is designed to promote animal welfare, support and give back to local communities, and sustain the planet.This brand-new tour is rich with cultural immersion, education, history and sustainability. Highlights include learning about how Ghana started the wave of independence across Africa, visiting Trashy Bags, a factory that pays locals to collect and wash single-use plastics to be turned into resalable products, and a visit to Global Mamas, a wholesale seller of fair-trade products produced across Ghana helping Ghanaian women gain economic independence by connecting them to global markets.
  12. www.goaheadtours.com,800-590-1161 

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Ecuador President Conserves Ocean Around Galapagos While Marking Historic Milestone

(From left to right): Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition; President Ivan Duque of Colombia; President Guillermo Lassa of Ecuador; Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Sven Lindblad, Lindblad Expeditions; Niels Olsen Peet, Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism; former U.S. President Bill Clinton (photo supplied by Lindblad Expeditions).

NEW YORK — The decades-long effort to protect the Galapagos Islands realized an important milestone on January 14, 2022 when Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso signed a decree to conserve more than 23,000 square miles of ocean around the Galápagos Islands and beyond.  

The new Hermandad Marine Reserve expands the current Galapagos Marine Reserve by almost 50 percent and extends northwest to the Costa Rican maritime border. This swath of ocean will safeguard a migratory corridor known as the Cocos-Galápagos Swimway, which is used by sea turtles, sharks, whales, rays, and many other marine species.

Lindblad Expeditions has had an enduring connection to the islands, ever since Lars-Eric Lindblad brought the first citizen explorers to the archipelago and funded the very first Galapagos Park Rangers. Lindblad’s founder and Co-Chair of the Board, Sven Lindblad, who first visited the Galapagos Islands in 1967 as a 17-year-old, was honored to witness this historic moment alongside Gustavo Manrique, Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition; President Ivan Duque of Colombia; former President Bill Clinton; Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, and other dignitaries.  

Following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad noted, “This is a really valuable and important step for marine protection…And hopefully these extensions will only get larger and larger over time. It’s been a tremendous joy. People have come from all over the world to celebrate what Galapagos has done. These islands are a jewel of our planet.” 

See Video of the Signing of the Marine Reserve Decree

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Grab a BOGO Deal from TRIPS by Culture Trip During Holiday Sale

Vietnam is one of the destinations offered by Culture Trip © Dave E. Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

TRIPS by Culture Trip is offering a BOGO deal from Nov. 22-Dec. 3, 2021: book a spot on one of their trips and bring someone along for free to places like Scotland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Italy, Nepal and 20 more destinations.

Travel must take place before May 31, 2022 (the Iceland itinerary in Jan. 2022 is excluded).  All trips available are on a first booked, first served basis. Space is limited and certain conditions apply.

TRIPS by Culture Trip are unique small-group adventures that help people experience extraordinary destinations in unexpected ways, together with other culturally curious travelers. Curated by travel experts and led by Local Insiders, the multi-day adventures offer itineraries that combine immersive activities, hyper-local experiences and unique places to stay. Thoughtfully planned with ample free time to unwind or explore, the itineraries offer the right balance of exploration, action, and relaxation.
 
Some of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are part of TRIPS by Culture Trip and can be enjoyed with this Black Friday deal:

Welcome to the Jungle: Exploring Northern Thailand
10-day trip from $1,599* per person; based on departures 20 February and 14 April 2022
Watch the sunrise over the highest mountain in Thailand and feed elephants in a sanctuary during this 10-day adventure. Take in Chiang Mai, Pai and the Doi Inthanon National Park and float through a 5,466 ft. cave and watch the sunset over the scenic Pai Canyon. In between jungle trekking and waterfall swims, enjoy a slice of slow living at a geothermal hot springs and savor local Thai delicacies. This off-the-beaten-track journey will showcase an authentic side of the former Lanna Kingdom.

From the Amalfi Coast to Puglia: the Complete Southern Italy Tour
10-day trip from $2,029* per person; based on departures 2 April and 7 May 2022
Discover cliff top villages, secluded beaches and authentic Italian cuisine on this journey across southern Italy. Sample street food in Naples, cruise along the Amalfi Coast on a private boat tour, uncover the secrets of Altamura bread at Il Frantoio and explore the ancient hilltop town of Matera, featured in the latest James Bond movieRound off the trip by relaxing on the secluded beaches of Polignano a Mare and explore the Salento peninsula.

Riches and Ruins: Wine, Dine and Step Back in Time in Rural Georgia
9-day trip from $1,369* per person; based on departures 5 May 2022
Whether hiking in the Caucasus Mountains or whipping up a feast from a farmer’s market, this nine-day journey yields an immersive Georgian experience. Begin in the Old Quarter of Tbilisi and visit UNESCO World Heritage sites at nearby Mtskheta. See the ancient wine-making – and drinking – before exploring Lagodekhi National Park. The spectacular Truso Gorge, a hike up to Gergeti Church and a ramble beyond remote Juta village showcase the best of the High Caucasus. 

La Vida Local in Mexico City
5-day trip from $1,209* per person; based on departures 10 February, 17 March and 14 April 2022
Climb ancient temples in Teotihuacán, watch lucha libre wrestlers in action and toss back mezcal shots on a five-day trip to Mexico City. Stay at the artsy Cadillac Hotel near Roma, before hitting the streets on a walking tour of the Condesa district. Enjoy sizzling meat tacos in Roma, visit Frida Kahlo’s house, then sing with the mariachis floating along the Xochimilco canals.
 
TRIPS by Culture Trip offers over 30 itineraries in some of the world’s most captivating and off-the-grid places, with new itineraries added regularly. TRIPS range from four to 13 days, welcoming a maximum of up to 18 travelers aged 25 and over who can join solo or with friends. With a focus beyond mass-market offerings, the itineraries often put local people at the center and avoid areas of over-tourism as well as unethical activities or wildlife interactions that aren’t in the best interest of the animals.
 
TRIPS by Culture Trip offers its Ultimate COVID Booking Guarantee, so if COVID regulations change a customer’s plans, they can rebook for free (valid for bookings made by Nov. 30, 2021 for travel before Feb. 28, 2022). For bookings outside these dates, no change or cancellation fees are imposed and customers can get a full refund should they need to postpone or cancel a trip up to 30 days prior to departure. All trips have COVID safety measures in place.

Full terms and conditions can be found at:  https://theculturetrip.com/bookable/booking-terms-and-conditions/

To book a TRIPS by Culture Trip Black Friday deal visit culturetrip.com/trips or contact tripssupport@theculturetrip.com or +1 (678) 967-4965

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New Week-long Galapagos Glamping Plus Island Hopping Adventure

Scalesia Galapagos Lodge, Isabela Island.

(Quito, Ecuador) — The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel (on Santa Cruz Island) has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge (on Isabela Island) to offer a new week-long program in the Galapagos. Highlights include: touring Quito’s Old City, glamping in safari camp-style tents, snorkeling with sea turtles, hiking active volcanoes, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station and tortoise breeding facility, and exploring islands by motor yacht. Prices start at $4,658 per person double.

The tour begins in Quito, Ecuador’s charming Andean capital, where guests will spend a night in an ornate Renaissance-inspired mansion in the heart of the Old City. Next, travel by air to Isabela Island, taking in the breathtaking scenery from a twin engine light aircraft, before ascending into the highland forests that envelop luxury safari-style tents at Scalesia Galapagos Lodge. Nearby volcanic islands of twisted lava and sparkling sandy coves await exploration, with daily excursions from the lodge to encounter the graceful marine creatures and trusting wildlife that make the archipelago so unique. The tour finishes off at the stylish Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, located on a tranquil beach within easy reach of the region’s oldest and most beautiful islets.

The program is available year-round.

Day 1 – Private transfer to a luxurious boutique hotel in the main square of Quito’s Old City. Casa Gangotena is a restored Renaissance-inspired mansion, with ornate neo-classical furnishings and spacious rooms. Relax in the terrace bar or the quaint patio garden, sample delicious food in the small restaurant and enjoy the complimentary cultural activities on offer.

Day 2 – Journey to Isabela Island on a twin engine light aircraft. Enveloped in wild forests, the Scalesia Galapagos Lodge features an ultra-contemporary glass-fronted main building housing the restaurant and lounge areas. Stay in one of the 16 safari camp-style tents, fully-equipped with a king-sized bed and modern facilities. Soak in the easy-going atmosphere and choose from an astounding range of excursions and activities on offer, including hikes, volcano visits and snorkeling trips as well as wildlife-spotting.

Day 3/4 – Choose from a wide range of excursions on offer at Scalesia Lodge, with different activities scheduled each day. Visit the white tip reef sharks and penguins of islet Tontoreras, or the thriving mangroves, natural pools and solitary beaches of Los Humedales, frequented by magenta-hued flamingos. One of the best snorkeling destinations is Los Tuneles, a marine paradise where lava flows have produced many arches and tunnels both under and above water. 

Day 5 – Transfer across the Itabaca channel to Santa Cruz, the most populated island in the Galápagos. Drive up into the rugged highland forests to reach the twin volcanic craters Los Gemelos. At 600m above sea level, these volcanic sinkholes are home to many Darwin’s finches. Finch Bay overlooks the lush greenery and glittering waters of Punta Estrada.

Day 6 – Join highly-qualified naturalist guides for a day of exploring nearby islands on Finch Bay’s own motor yacht. The island you visit will depend on the day of the week. In the evening you have the option to dine al fresco, enjoying a 3-course meal set up especially for you on the beach.

Day 7 – Divine Bay is a tranquil haven for wildlife, protected from ocean swells by natural volcanic reefs on one side and a gallery of mangrove trees on the other. Hundreds of herons cross the bay each morning and return at sunset, while noddy terns and blue-footed boobies perch along the cliffs. Snorkel in the inviting waters of the cove, where sea turtles graze on seaweed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature.

Day 8 – Head home

Scalesia Galapagos Lodge is situated in the highlands of Isabela Island on the slopes of a volcano, about 20 minutes from the town of Puerto Villamil. The modern, luxurious, safari-style tent resort is in the middle of 16 a hectare (40 acre) property of a magical forest with a spectacular view of the coast of Isabela Island, the Pacific Ocean, and other Islands of Galapagos dotting the horizon. http://www.scalesialodge.com/

Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is a beachfront base from which you can discover the wildlife of the islands aboard its private yacht and create your own adventures on land and sea. https://www.finchbayhotel.com/.

For more information, visit Scalesia Galapagos Lodge

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Adventure Travel Rebound: 9 Trip Ideas for 2021

Sacha Lodge, an ecolodge set on a 5,000-acre ecological reserve in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, is a haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers.

Adventure travel is expected to recover about three to four years before mass travel – and grow more rapidly, according to a recent report by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) at the first-ever Adventure Travel Xpo,. In fact, tourism ministers and secretaries around the world have identified adventure and nature travel as leading segments in the travel industry’s restart.

Here are nine adventure travel vacation ideas for 2021. 
 
1. Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure: Sacha Lodge, an ecolodge set on a 5,000-acre ecological reserve in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, is a haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers. It features luxury accommodations, first-class meals and expert native guides. Step into the heart of the animal and bird kingdom, home to eight species of monkeys, 50 species of bats, anteaters, three-toed sloths, ocelots, and birds of more colors than you could ever imagine. https://www.sachalodge.com/

2. MTB Hut System in Southern Utah: The new Aquarius Trail Hut System offers a backcountry mountain biking experience like no other in the region. A system of five huts furnished with beds, a bathroom and a fully stocked kitchen has been strategically placed along a 190-mile route through some of Utah’s most scenic backcountry.  https://aquariustrail.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV: Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, free annual national park pass and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com/

4. Ride the Mighty Mississippi: Join Cycle of Life Adventures on a 2,057-mile bike tour from the humble headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota’s Lake Itasca to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans. Along the way, pass Minnesota’s many lakes, the metropolises of Minneapolis, St. Louis and Memphis, the rolling farmlands of Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, and the levees of Louisiana. And while the tour is southbound, it isn’t all downhill. Take on the entire 33-day trek or any one of four shorter stages. https://cycleoflifeadventures.com/

5. City Slicker Dude Ranch Retreat: At Red Reflet Ranch, a 28,000-acre guest ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, guests stay in fully stocked private cabins and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine while participating in equestrian programs, cattle branding, hiking, mountain biking, ATVing, fly fishing, shooting, family-friendly activities and cooking classes. https://red-reflet-ranch.net/

6. Galapagos Glamping: Scalesia Galapagos Lodge is situated in the highlands of Isabela Island on the slopes of a volcano, about 20 minutes from the town of Puerto Villamil. The modern, luxurious, safari-style tent resort is in the middle of a magical forest with a spectacular view of the coast of Isabela Island, the Pacific Ocean, and other islands of the Galapagos archipelago dotting the horizon. http://www.scalesialodge.com/

7. Tiny House Basecamp: With sustainably built, LEED-certified “tiny house” cabins, Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, embraces modern, yet rustic design and presents a fresh approach to luxury lodging. Nestled in a wooded setting at the foot of the Teton Range, the cabins allow guests to get back to nature while enjoying the intimacy of a boutique hotel and the ambiance of their own cozy residence. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/

8. Cycle Across the USA: Plan an epic bike tour or bikepacking trip of your own with the assistance of the Adventure Cycling Association. To help riders find their way, the organization offers maps for 50,000 miles of bike routes through the U.S. and into Canada, the Bicycle Route Navigator app and other resources. Cross the country on the TransAmerica Trail, ride the Rockies on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route or try a shorter adventure in between. https://www.adventurecycling.org/

9. Yellowstone Adventure: A stay at The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana, offers the opportunity for outdoor adventures in the surrounding mountains, rivers and Yellowstone National Park. Go hiking through shaded forests and wildflower-filled alpine meadows, float or fly fish a clear, cool river, experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking, or tour the natural wonders and wildlife of the world’s first national park. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

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In Celebration of Earth Day, The Travel Corporation Implements New Climate Action Plan to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2030

Xigera Safari Lodge, part of TTC’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection, is powered by a Tesla solar-hybrid system which supplies more than 95% of the lodge’s energy needs. 

The Travel Corporation is celebrating Earth Day 2021 with a declaration that TTC and its family of brands are implementing a five-step Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, and support their continued efforts to achieve the organization’s sustainability goals.

To further support the transition to a low-carbon future, TTC and its TreadRight Foundation are investing in two nature-based carbon removal solutions, Project Vesta and GreenWave. TreadRight has also launched a new Impact Hub in an effort to be transparent as to progress made at TTC and its family of brands against the groups’ 11 sustainability goals, while also providing tips to travelers on how they can help.   

“As members of the global travel industry, The Travel Corporation (TTC) recognizes its role and responsibility in creating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through its trips and operations. The need for both travelers and businesses to take action to address GHG emissions and climate change becomes clearer and more urgent every day,” the company stated.

Climate change is directly linked to an increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere, of which globally, a reported 51 billion tons of GHG emissions are emitted annually.  TTC’s Climate Action Plan addresses Goals #1 and #2 of its five-year sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, which target the carbon footprint of its business.

Respectively, the goals commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and to sourcing 50% of electricity from renewable sources across the organization by 2025. This includes TTC’s 20+ offices, 18 Red Carnation Hotels, 13 Uniworldships, six accommodations/facilities, 500+ vehicles and more than 1,500 itineraries operated worldwide by its 40 award-winning brands including ContikiTrafalgarInsight Vacations and Uniworld

Since the launch of its first sustainability strategy in 2015, TTC has invested in energy conservation and reducing its environmental impact across its portfolio of brands. This new Climate Action Plan builds on TTC’s progress made to-date and its commitment to continual improvement. Advancements to date include the installation of solar panels in 2020 at the Uniworld head office in Encino, California, the implementation of a 400kW Tesla plant supplying over 95% of Xigera Safari Lodge’s energy, which opened December 2020 as part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and the recent shift to 100% renewable electricity by Contiki’s Chateau De Cruix and Haus Schöneck as well as Red Carnation Hotel’s Ashford Castle, which sits on a 350-acre property.  

Looking forward, TTC has committed to carbon neutral offices and business travel beginning January 1, 2022, through its partnership with offset provider South Pole. On the same timeline, Contiki will move a step ahead to become a completely carbon neutral business, meaning unavoidable emissions from all trips departing as of January 1, 2022 will be offset going forward. 

“Our TTC Climate Action Plan is not marked by one quick fix, because there isn’t one. It is marked with the need to act now, to learn and adapt as technology and innovation support our need to transition to a low-carbon business,” stated Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation. “There is much debate as to the right approach when it comes to decarbonizing travel and tourism, and our position is that this must be a process that begins now and commits to evolving as the solutions continue to improve and become available to us.”  

The Travel Corporation’s Climate Action Plan consists of five points: 

  1.    Measure – Measure the emissions from our business and trips. 
  2.    Reduce – Build on reduction efforts and set ambitious reduction targets by mid-2022. 
  3.    Remove – Through our TreadRight Foundation, invest in new technology and nature-based solutions to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. 
  4.    Offset – Purchase carbon credits to offset unavoidable emissions, including phasing in carbon neutral trips between 2022 – 2030. 
  5.    Evolve – Continue to learn from others, invest in new technologies and support strategic alliances that enable us and the industry to move to a low carbon economy. 

TTC’s TreadRight Foundation will action step three of its Climate Action Plan in 2021, through an investment of $100,000 USD into two developing permanent carbon removal projects. Project Vesta aims to accelerate the natural process of weathering to permanently store carbon into rock. GreenWave is studying how kelp can be added to soil to increase its carbon storage potential, while decreasing harmful nitrous oxide emissions on regenerative farms. 

“Carbon removal and carbon capture technologies are deeply promising and showing signs of acceleration, noted Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer of The Travel Corporation. “It’s important now, more than ever, that we support science-based pilot projects to explore every possible solution, in addition to reducing our emissions and purchasing verified carbon offsets from our partner South Pole,” she added.  

To share its sustainability strategy, efforts and impact, as well as to guide consumers and travelers on addressing their own carbon footprint, TTC has launched a new sustainabilityImpact Hub. Learn more at Impact.TreadRight.org.

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Contiki Holidays Declares It will be Carbon Neutral by 2022

Among Contiki Holiday’s destinations worldwide is Petra, the archaeological wonder in Jordan, visited on its “Israel and Jordan Uncovered” tour. Contiki Holidays, one of The Travel Corporation’s companies, has declared it will be 100% carbon neutral by 2022 as part of a new five-point Climate Action Plan and sustainable travel policies © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Contiki Holidays is marking Earth Day 2021 with the announcement it will be going 100% carbon neutral by 2022 – as part of its new five-point Climate Action Plan which also commits to carbon reductions and evolving to support the transition to a low-carbon future.

A leader in youth travel since 1962, Contiki recognizes the need for both travelers and travel businesses to take action on climate change and address its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and has appointed a new Sustainability Officer, Tasha Hayes, to lead the way.

About her new role, Tasha Hayes says, “With our How We Tread Right sustainability strategy, the evolution of Contiki Cares, and now becoming carbon neutral it made sense to have a front person for Contiki’s great sustainability initiatives.  During my time with Contiki I’ve always championed sustainability and looked at ways we could do better both on the road and in the office.  Contiki becoming carbon neutral is massive, and it’s the perfect opportunity for me to support this direction, as someone who can oversee and monitor to make sure we stay on track to achieving the ambitious goals we have set out.”

As the world prepares to open up to begin traveling again, Contiki Holidays lights the way forward for the travel industry, committing to being carbon neutral by January 1, 2022; this will include investing in carbon credits from offset provider South Pole. This means that all Contiki trips from 2022 will be carbon neutral trips. And travelers won’t need to reach into their own pockets to fund the carbon credits: the cost to offset every trip is being covered by Contiki.

Contiki’s five-point Climate Action Plan is being announced in celebration of Earth Day 2021, as part of its sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right. The Climate Action Plan supports Goals #1 and #2 of the strategy, which targets the carbon footprint of the business – seeing Contiki commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2022, and also to sourcing 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

To further support the transition to a low-carbon future, Contiki is investing in two developing, nature-based carbon removal solutions, Project Vesta and GreenWave.

“Carbon removal and carbon capture technologies are deeply promising,” notes Adam Armstrong, Contiki CEO. “It’s important to us that we support the science developing around every possible solution, in addition to reducing our emissions and purchasing verified carbon offsets. It’s equally exciting to have Tasha on board to lead this for us, the next phase of Contiki Cares.” he added.  

The five points of the Climate Action Plan include reducing emissions and setting ambitious reduction targets by mid-2022; and offsetting unavoidable emissions by partnering with leading offset provider, South Pole, to purchase carbon credits from a combination of three meaningful carbon offset projects. These offsetting projects include Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard projects to guarantee carbon reductions are made, while offering co-benefits that positively impact local communities: Forest Conservation in Australia, Biogas Energy in Thailand, and Renewable Energy in the USA.

The idea of sustainable and conscious travelisn’t new to Contiki – the new Climate Action Plan builds on progress made to date and its commitment to continual improvement. Since the launch of its first sustainability strategy in 2015, Contiki has invested in energy conservation and worked to actively reduce its environmental impact. Now, Contiki’s Chateau de Croix and Haus Schöneck properties are powered by 100% renewable energy and it uses the most fuel-efficient Euro 6 coaches throughout Europe, while coaches in other regions meet or exceed efficiency standards. This year has seen the launch of more ‘staycation’ trips that remove the need for long-haultravel, alongside lower-carbon footprint ‘by rail’ itineraries, a new vegan itineraryand options for lower-emission vegan and vegetarian meals on all trips. Contiki is also working with partners to increase the use of local food productsto reduce food transport emissions and is assessing the use of biofuels for coacheswithin Europe.

“Our TTC Climate Action Plan is not marked by one quick fix, because there isn’t one,” said Melissa DaSilva, President. “It is marked with the need to act now, to learn and adapt as technology and innovation support our need to transition to a low-carbon business. There is much debate as to the right approach when it comes to decarbonizing travel and tourism, and our position is that this must be a process that begins now and commits to evolving as the solutions continue to improve and become available to us”.

“Ignoring the climate crisis won’t make it go away. Our Climate Action Plan is our commitment to learn and adapt as the world moves closer to a lower carbon economy, a goal we care passionately about,” said Tasha Hayes, Sustainability Officer. “It’s in keeping with our philosophy that travelling sustainability and consciously, matters – and we know young people are conscious of and care about sustainability more than ever. Young people will always want to travel – it’s their rite of passage – so it’s our responsibility as a leading travel provider to provide experiences that respect the people, planet, and wildlife that our travelers encounter along the way, and align with our own sustainability goals.  This is why it’s so important for Contiki to be making this commitment from 2022 onwards to offer only carbon neutral trips. I’m so proud of our team who has made this a reality,  and I’m hopeful that we’re finding ways for the next generation of travelers to continue to travel responsibly”.

To share its sustainability strategy, efforts and impact, as well as to guide consumers and travelers on addressing their own carbon footprint, Contiki has published its Climate Action Plan on its websitehttp://www.contiki.com

Read the Climate Action plan – https://www.contiki.com/contiki-cares/climate-action-plan

Find out more about Contiki’s global goals – https://www.contiki.com/contiki-cares/our-sustainability-strategy

Find out more about how Contiki is going carbon neutral  – https://www.contiki.com/contiki-cares/carbon-neutral

Travelers can book a carbon neutral trip now for travel in 2022 at http://www.contiki.com

To find out more about Earth Day visit https://www.earthday.org/earthday/

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Eco-Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon Offering 25% Discount

Sacha Lodge, a wildlife lodge on a 5,000-acre ecological reserve in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, is offering 25% off all 2021 tours booked by June 30, 2021. A haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers, Sacha Lodge features luxurious accommodations, first-class meals, and expert native guides.

(Quito, Ecuador) — Sacha Lodge, a wildlife lodge on a 5,000-acre ecological reserve in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, is offering 25% off all 2021 tours booked by June 30, 2021. A haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers, Sacha Lodge features luxurious accommodations, first-class meals, and expert native guides. A 4-day/3-night tour starts at $1,390 per person double before the discount is applied. Airfare is not included.

One of Sacha Lodge’s many highlights is a wildlife observation tower suspended 135-feet in the air on the highest branches of a giant kapok tree. Another main attraction, and the only one like it in all of South America, is a 940-foot-long canopy walkway suspended 94 feet above the ground. Both offer an astounding opportunity to spot dozens of animals and epiphytes seldom seen from the ground. New for 2021, the exploration crane is a spectacular feat of engineering offering a unique perspective of the canopy treetops. A metal basket is suspended on a 135-foot boom which moves up, down, forwards, and backwards as well as rotating 360 degrees, which allows guests to get close to the monkeys, sloths, toucans, and macaws of the lush Amazon jungle. 

The variety of fauna around Sacha Lodge is astounding, with up to 60 species of mammals including monkeys, marmosets, anteaters, and sloths. A variety of lizards and snakes can also be found along the trails, including boas, vine snakes and even the giant anaconda. Birding at Sacha Lodge is something to behold too, with almost 600 species (that’s a staggering 7% of the species found in the entire world). On a normal day, it is common to see parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks and oropendolas. 
 
Ideal for families, the new Lake Pool is the only one of its kind in the Amazon region. Protected by a mesh cage, the plunge pool allows guests to cool off and relax in the black shallows of Lake Pilchicocha, without the fear of encountering the unknown. It is not uncommon to spot caiman and giant otters swimming on the other side of the net.  Piranha fishing is another activity not to be missed.
 
Each of the 26 cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, is constructed with traditional materials and well concealed in the lush surroundings. From the private rooms, visitors may overlook the jungle from hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as anacondas or capybara (the largest rodents in the world) while resting between activities. Electricity is provided 24 hours a day and the private bathrooms provide hot showers. All cabins are screened against insects and have air conditioning. 
 
Guests may use free time to hang out at the main bar and lounge, which offers a scenic view of Pilchicocha Lake and excellent opportunities to bird watch. Meals are prepared to please the international traveler, and vegetarians are more than welcome.    

​Given the effects of COVID-19, Sacha Lodge will have a capacity reduced to 50%. That is a maximum capacity of 26 people during social distancing, on the recommendation of the Ecuadorian National Service for Risk and Emergency Management (COE). During social distancing protocols, private guides as well as private paddling canoes will be provided for all groups at no additional charge. Maximum of six people in each group. QR codes will be used to provide information on services and activities to reduce the use and delivery of printed material. Prior to opening, all employees will be tested for COVID-19 to increase the safety of staff and guests. All staff will receive protective equipment and ongoing safety and wellness training.

For more information, visit https://www.sachalodge.com/.   

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Lindblad Expeditions Resumes Voyages to Galapagos, Alaska This Summer

Lindblad Expeditions is resuming voyages to the Galapagos on the National Geographic Endeavor this summer (photo provided by Lindblad Expeditions).

New York – Lindblad Expeditions, the global provider of small ship expeditions cruises and adventure travel experiences, has announced that they plan to resume operations for the 2021 season in Alaska and Galápagos in June.  In keeping with Lindblad’s focus on exploring remote places, they will return to nature in the pristine wildness of these two iconic destinations.  

In making the announcement, Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions, reflected on the experiences of the past year, its impact on many, and how “we have always turned to nature, in times of collective stress and trauma, for the restoration of our spirits, believing in what Thoreau called the healing “tonic of wildness.”

“Our internal team has spent the last year examining every single aspect of our operation to be prepared to operate in the ‘new normal.’ Led by our resident medical expert, Dr. David Lorber, we have enlisted the assistance of many health and safety experts and met with authorities in the regions we intend to explore to ensure we are welcome and meet or exceed their expectations. We will also require that all guests 16 years of age and over be vaccinated prior to travelling onboard,” he stated.

A complete list of health and safety protocols are listed here.  Key components include: two negative COVID-19 tests, daily guest temperature checks, and thorough sanitation protocols.  From start to finish, guests will travel exclusively with their expedition community, all equally tested.

In resuming travel to Alaska, Lindblad intends to head deep into the wide-open spaces, into the far reaches of her straits and waterways—to where bears, glaciers, eagles and whales will be guests’ only ‘companions.’ They will begin the season with 6 and 8-day itineraries aboard their 100-guest sister ships National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venturewith the first departures June 5th and June 6th.

Similarly, guests will explore the remoteness of the Galápagos archipelago to visit volcanic isles inhabited by some of the most charismatic wildlife on earth on a 10-day itinerary set aboard the 96-guest National Geographic Endeavour ll.  The first Galápagos departure is set for June 4th.

Guests will return to an exhilarating expedition experience they have come to know and love. They will search for wildlife, revel in the wonders of the natural world, and explore the legendary Alaska and Galápagos archipelago landscapes under the guidance of our amazing expedition team.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor. Find us on FacebookTwitter, InstagramYouTube and Pinterest.

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