Tag Archives: Responsible Travel

Insight Vacations Offers Discount on Summer Tours to Iceland, USA, National Parks

On Insight Vacations’ Iceland tour, see luminous blue icebergs and the setting for the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ at Lake Jokulsarlon. Insight is offering 20 percent off select Iceland and USA tours for a limited period. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York, N.Y.– April 27, 2021:  Insight Vacations, a leader in premium guided journeys, is offering U.S. travelers the chance to book last-minute domestic and international getaways that are open for travel with a special 10-day sale on select tours.

From April 27 to May 6, guests can save up to 20 percent on trips this summer to Iceland and the USA departing between May and August.

On all Insight journeys, guests will travel in relaxed style, stay at premium, hand-picked hotels in the best locations, taste delicious, authentic cuisine and explore a variety of cultures with local experiences unavailable to most travelers.

“With travel starting to reopen domestically and internationally, we are excited to get our guests back on the road again,” said Guy Young president of Insight Vacations.  “Being part of a family-owned and run business for the past 100 years, the well-being of our guests and team has always been our top priority, and when clients are ready to travel again, we will have implemented various new protocols so they can travel and relax in style.”

Now’s the time to live your stylish life on a remarkable journey, as we venture to some of the most iconic and remarkable destinations. Several Insight journeys include new MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences with our not-for-profit partner,TreadRight, that are designed to uplift local communities and ensure Insight’s travels are used as a force for good while supporting the United Nations’ Global Goas

Insight Vacations has taken enhanced measures to ensure the wellbeing of its guests.  These include:  Small Group Departures with a maximum of 24 guests and Small Private Groups allowing guests to travel privately on any existing journey with as little as 12 guests; a new Well-being Director who will provide assistance during guests’ travels; new well-being protocols and hygiene standards developed with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Health Organization (WHO); and the Peace of Mind Promise, offering guests the assurance they can book with confidence. 

Here are several itineraries to choose from:

Natural Wonders of Iceland – 9 Days

You’ll experience a world of natural phenomena, with gushing waterfalls, volcanoes and stunning landscapes at every turn. In Hellisheidi, guests will visit Iceland’s newest geothermal heat and electric power station, Hellisheidavirkjun, the second largest of its kind in the world. A new MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, they’ll learn why Hellisheidavirkjun is a world leader in the utilization of geothermal energy. Guests can explore Reykjavik with Insight Choice, choosing between visiting the mineral-rich waters of the Blue lagoon, or discovering Reykjavik’s top sights on a walking tour with a Local Expert. At Lake Jokulsarlon, clients will see its luminous blue icebergs and the setting for the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’, and in Skaftafell, they’ll visit the amazing alpine setting of the National Park and experience the might of Vatnajökull – Europe’s largest glacier. Clients will explore many other natural wonders such as Gullfoss’s two-tiered waterfall, the hot springs at GeysirSnæfellsjökull National Park’s most famous volcano, and the scenic mountain passes of Almannaskard and the Mödrudal Desert.

Jewels of Alaska –7 Days

This remarkable escape to Alaska explores sweeping landscapes, calving glaciers and spectacular national parks. Guests will embark on the world-famous Alaskan Railroad train for an unforgettable journey over swift-rushing streams and through majestic mountains. They’ll explore the iconic Denali National Park, which is abundant in wildlife and breath-taking views. Guests will delight in a special Insight Experience of meeting the champion dog team of four-time Iditarod winner, Martin Buser, learning about the challenges of competing in the 1,049-mile dogsled race and enjoying lunch at his home. In Talkeetna, they’ll enjoy an included Jet Boat Tour up the Chulitna River and visit a Trappers Cabin. While in Anchorage, guests will join Local Experts in an exclusive presentation on making Eskimo ice cream at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. To end the journey on a scenic note, guests will board the 26 Glacier Cruise in Whittier for a 100-mile boat tour of Prince William Sound and into the College Fjord, afterwards enjoying a Deliciously Authentic Dining experience, joining the Captain in the wheelhouse for an included lunch.

Enchanting Canyonlands -7 Days

This all-American journey introduces you to America’s West in complete style. For a Unique Insight Experience,  guests will join Local Expert, Canyon Tim, for an informative talk about the wonders of the Grand Canyon, teaching about the origins of the five-million-year-old canyon, its rock formation and impact now. They’ll journey on through the barren beauty of the desert to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, where they’ll board all-terrain vehicles with open sides to explore the valley with a Navajo guide. They’ll enjoy Deliciously Authentic Dining while mingling over a delightful Welcome Dinner at Hotel Valley Ho’s renowned Zuzu Restaurant in Scottsdale, named for the beloved matriarch of the family that owns the property.

Wonders of the American West – 10 Days

This comprehensive exploration of the American West visits breathtaking natural wonders and captivating landscapes made famous by classic Western movies. Starting with the glamor of Las Vegas, guests will feel like royalty at the renowned Cesar’s Palace enjoying the iconic Las Vegas strip nightlife. For a Unique Insight Experience, guests will explore Monument Valley with a Navajo guide, boarding an all-terrain vehicle for a private tour through the mythical formation of the Navajo Tribal Park. Along the way they’ll discover the majestic Grand Canyon, the ancient pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, the sandstone cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park’s most scenic canyons in the United States on a private Zion Canyon Shuttle. hand-picked hotel in the heart of the destination, guests will stay at the historic Bryce Canyon National Park Lodge, offering unrivaled access to breathtaking views, world-class hiking trails, and just steps from the Bryce Amphitheater of ancient rock formations.

For reservations call Insight Vacations at 1-800-582-8380 or visit www.insightvacations.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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Club Med Responds to 2020 Challenges, Trends with Innovation

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Florida, a pioneer in all-inclusive resorts, is introducing innovations in response to travel trends that have emerged out of the 2020 pandemic (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

MIAMI– An unprecedented 2020 was challenging for the travel industry and also provided valuable insight into travel trends for the year ahead and beyond. Club Med, a pioneer of the all-inclusive resort concept, is innovating products to align with anticipated trends for 2021, some of which will have lasting impact far into the future. These include working remotely with extended stays (workation); a demand for sustainable/responsible travel; flexible booking options.

“As the leader in all-inclusive vacations, Club Med continues to innovate through this challenging time by offering our guests the best in flexibility and safety,” says Carolyne Doyon, CEO and President of Club Med North America. “We’re utilizing our thoughtful and strategic analysis of 2020 learnings and 2021 market trends to deliver on travelers’ evolving wants and needs.” 

A projected return to travel

Americans have started seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” when it comes to travel. A recent Skift Research study reported that beginning in September 2020, for the first time during the pandemic, more Americans planned to increase their travel spend over the next 12 months. The most popular destinations include beaches and coastal drive-to markets.

While domestic travel continues to be preferred by the majority of travelers, a recent study conducted by Club Med found that 56% of travelers are looking to travel by Spring/Summer 2021 with most looking forward to returning to Turks and Caicos (47%) and Mexico (31%). Club Med has also seen significant interest in travelers who are booking for the 2021 holiday season. Considered “revenge bookings,” the trend indicates a strong interest in families getting together after canceled plans this last holiday season, with advance bookings for holidays at a 17% increase versus 2019.

As Club Med anticipates seeing a return to travel to the Caribbean islands and Mexico, resorts such as Club Med Cancún, Club Med Punta CanaClub Med Michès Playa Esmeralda and the adults-exclusive Club Med Turkoiseare poised to provide travelers, whether families, couples or singles, a restorative and safe experience to escape to in 2021. Domestically, Club Med Sandpiper Bay remains the brand’s top-selling resort for those looking for an escape closer to home.

Increased interest in international travel

The pandemic spurred increased domestic travel with Americans looking for shorter escapes closer to home. Through data compiled from recent sales, Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida saw a substantial increase in bookings in 2020 from travelers in drive-market regions. From June to December 2020, the resort reported 40% of travelers were from Florida.

However, according toThe New York Times, while interest in domestic travel is likely to continue through 2021, interest ininternational travel has increased since the news of the vaccine. Club Med is well equipped to meet this demand for years to come through the consistent growth of their international portfolio, marking three to five new resort openings or renovations per year, including a new Alpine ski resort annually. Each resort is constructed with a low-density layout – which is defined by low-rise buildings that are spread out across 50+ acres and respectfully integrated in their surrounding natural environments – leaving plenty of space for guests to roam freely and comfortably.

Exemplifying their eco-friendly positioning,Club Med is set to open their eco-certified Seychelles (Indian Ocean) resort in March 2021. This will be its newest Exclusive Collection luxury resort, respectfully integrated along a preserved Marine National Park. In harmony with nature, the resort will offer nature conservation experiences, like marine conservation and turtle nesting. Club Med Québec Charlevoix is also opening in December 2021, with bookings already well underway. Located just outside Québec City in Le Massif de Charlevoix region, the all-inclusive resort is Club Med’s first four-season mountain property with unparalleled waterfront views of the Saint Lawrence River, amazing year-round outdoor activity options, full ski-in/ski-out access, and spacious accommodations. Club Med anticipates seeing a high level of bookings from Americans, as the resort is easy for them to get to and more cost-effective than a do-it-yourself ski vacation – for example, a 7-night do-it-yourself ski vacation for a family of 4 to Whistler would cost approx. $9,900; while at Club Med Québec Charlevoix, a similar vacation would cost $4,500.

Working remotely with extended stays

Travelers have shown an appetite for escaping the pandemic restrictions at home and extending their stays at all-inclusive resorts where they can work or study remotely while also relaxing. In June 2020 Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida reported a 9% increase in bookings for “short week” getaways – meaning a 4 to 5-night reservation during the week rather than the traditional long weekend getaway.  According to the Skift Megatrends report, the pandemic and the rise of remote work will likely further blur the lines between business and leisure travel. A significant hike in the length of stay in vacation rentals highlights how travelers have been looking at other places to stay and work during the pandemic. Club Med is adapting to this trend by setting up Workation, a hybrid stay between working remotely and a vacation with the all-inclusive service à la Club Med. This remote work and learn option has been available at Club Med Sandpiper Bay since October 2020, delivering adults and children the tools they need to work remotely, including: premium wi-fi, dedicated workspaces (or free to roam and setup beachside!) and printer access. Club Med is looking to launch the concept in additional resorts soon.

Low-density resorts with safety protocols

Travelers will continue taking increased precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 and expect the travel industry to provide them with peace of mind by offering increased safety precautions. Worldwide, Club Med’s Safe Togetherprogram has established a range of enhanced health and safety protocols that include protective face coverings for staff, hand sanitizer available throughout the resort, deep cleaning and frequent sanitizing of surfaces and facilities, social distancing, capped resort capacity, increased amount ofalready-existent single plated foods in main dining area buffets, and temperature checks on arrival and periodically during the stay. All Club Med properties in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico are POSI-Check certified, receivingrecognition from Cristal for the Prevention of the Spread of Infection.

Travelers will also continue seeking destinations surrounded by nature, offering a variety of safe outdoor experiences. All of Club Med’s global resorts, including those in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico, meet this demand as they are low in density, spread across 50 acres of land and wide stretches of beaches, creating a sense of privacy and freedom. Each resort features multiple low-rise buildings that are only three stories high, sitting just below the treetops. To further accommodate social distancing practices, dining tables and lounge chairs throughout the resorts are more spaced out with an increased amount of outdoor seating, and activities and entertainment are also predominantly outdoors.

Contactless technology

Travel in 2021 will be more touchless than ever. A recent Booking.com study showed 64% of travelers agree that technology will be important in controlling health risks when traveling and 63% say that accommodations will need to use the latest technologies to make travelers feel safe. Club Med’s Easy Arrivalcontactless check-in/check-out prepares guests to fully enjoy vacations immediately. From signing up children for childcare services to booking ski equipment ahead of time at Club Med’s ski properties, everything will be ready for guests as soon as they arrive at the resort. The My Club Med app also allows guests to enjoy a seamless experience from the start of their trip to the end, with options to create a personalized itinerary, preview the daily activity schedules and, at select resorts, guests can book spa appointments and order room service. Coming soon, in order to abide by the CDC’s new requirements for entry into the United States, travelers will also be able to schedule their PCR/Antigen testing.

Wellness seekers

Skift predicts travelers will continue seeking outdoor and wellness-centric destinations. An unspoiled paradise hidden in the heart of a Dominican palm grove, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda is the first and only resort in Michès, offering guests a sense of intimacy and personalization. Set upon 93 acres with a 2,000-foot stretch of untouched beach, the resort’s architecture seamlessly and respectfully blends into its surroundings, featuring four boutique villages with distinct concepts designed to deliver tailored experiences for various segments. This ‘resort within a resort’ concept includes: 

·       Explorer Cove, a dedicated section designed for families with activities and kids clubs nearby

·       Caribbean Paradise, the alluring heart of the resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens and colorful décor designed for both families, couples and singles alike

·       Emerald Jungle, designed for wellness seekers with a natural Zen pool, spa, wellness bar and treetop wellness canopy

·       Archipelago, created exclusively for adults featuring floor-level oceanfront suites with private pools, outdoor showers and infinite views of the ocean just steps away

Sustainability
The pandemic has made many people aware of impacts on the environment and local communities. A Booking.comstudy found that more than 69% of travelers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable options. Avid globetrotters are quickly getting behind the ‘go green’ initiative in tourism decisions and Club Med is proudly supporting the cause. In 2018, Club Med launched its Bye-Bye Plastics program, and is on track to ban single-use plastic products from bars, restaurants and rooms by 2021.

Tourism has a growing impact on the environment, which is why Club Med has always devoted itself to sustainable practices. Club Med’s Happy to Careprogram features a range of sustainable commitments based on values and practices which reflect sustainable development.

Club Med’s newest Exclusive Collection resort, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, acts as the catalyst for Club Med’s environment-friendly positioning. Devoting its design, activities and elements to the surrounding region, the resort pays homage to the Dominican Republic’s ecological essence so guests who visit the resort can understand the natural beauty that first attracted many locals to the destination. The resort’s eco-chic concept is based on five core pillars: agriculture, immersion, waste management, energy and people. 

Sustainability is at the heart of the resort with special programs and initiatives, including:  

·       No single-use plastics in the resort 

·       Locally sourced coffee and cacao products in the resort’s Coffee House, in partnership with local farmers 

·       Employee uniforms are created out of recycled plastic bottles (currently more than 200,000+ bottles have been recycled for this initiative) 

·       Programs have been implemented to provide more than 900 locals with language, vocational, and hospitality skill trainings 

·       Strict eco-friendly certifications from the best in the industry: BREEAM certification for the construction process, and Green Globe certification for the operations 

·       Solar panel project – an estimated 45,000 square feet of solar panels are being installed in the resort to generate renewable energy  

·       Programs to stimulate the local economy are underway via various farming development projects to increase the efficiency, quality and demand for local farmers 

·       In-resort plant nursery currently houses 30,000+ new plants, and more than 2,000 trees were preserved or re-planted during the construction process  

·       Family environmental workshops offer interactive, fun and educational sessions for parents and children to learn about the environment together and participate in hands-on gardening activities

Flexible travel options

According to the United States Tour Operators Association, the most frequently asked question by travelers who made new bookings this fall was regarding cancellation or refund policies. Flexible booking policies are anticipated to continue into 2021 and beyond. To ensure added flexibility and peace of mind for travelers, Club Med offers:

·       Free Cancellation Policy: For new bookings made on or after May 18, 2020, guests can receive a full refund should they need to cancel their stay (up to 15 days prior to the anticipated travel date) for stays on or prior to December 16, 2021.

·       Emergency Assistance Program: All guests traveling before December 31, 2022 will receive coverage for emergency medical expenses during their stay, including those related to COVID-19.   

·       PCR + Rapid Antigen Testing: As required for re-entry into the United States from international destinations, Club Med offers complimentary Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests either on-site or off-site (dependent on the resort). PCR testing is also available at an additional cost.

Club Med, founded in 1950 by Gérard Blitz, is the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept, offering approximately 70 premium resorts in stunning locations around the world including North and South America, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean. Each Club Med resort features authentic local style and comfortably upscale accommodations, superior sports programming and activities, enriching children’s programs, gourmet dining, and warm and friendly service by its world-renown staff with legendary hospitality skills, an all-encompassing energy and diverse backgrounds. 

Club Med operates in more than 30 countries and continues to maintain its authentic Club Med spirit with an international staff of more than 23,000 employees from more than 110 different nationalities. Led by its pioneering spirit, Club Med continues to grow and adapt to each market with three to five new resort openings or renovations per year, including a new Alpine ski resort annually. 

For more information, visit www.clubmed.us, call 1-800-Club-Med (1-800-258-2633), or contact a preferred travel professional. For an inside look at Club Med, follow Club Med on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

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12 Destinations Looking to a More Sustainable Future of Travel

Biking is a way to sustainably enjoy Napa, California’s beautiful vineyards © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

As the travel industry looks ahead, brands are preparing for how to promote a responsible recovery to Covid-19. Luxury travel advisor network Virtuoso, with over 20,000 advisors and 2,000 travel brands in more than 50 countries, is focusing on a ‘conscious comeback’ as hotels reopen in new and innovative ways. CREST (Center for Responsible Travel) and six other global nonprofit organizations have banded together to form the Future of Tourism Coalition with the belief that travelers will demand a more sustainable tourism marketplace. As people look for ways to reduce their footprint, work more responsibly with travel companies, travel to more sustainable communities and better understand the communities they interact with, we have rounded up leading destinations who are laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future – and how travelers can get involved.

If you want to invest in local communities…

Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a nonprofit trade association leading the wine region since 1944, has partnered with UNCF to create a new scholarship program for people of color to pursue college degrees in subjects ranging from grape growing, winemaking, marketing, business and more, investing $1 million into the program. Each year over the next five years, NVV will invest $200,000 in scholarships and will encourage its members to bolster the scholarship program with donations to help even more students and to ensure the effort extends beyond five years.

Trancoso, Brazil

UXUA recruits and trains locals with little to no prior experience in hospitality. Owner Wilbert Das has invested in providing language training and university tuition reimbursement as well as one-on-one mentorship for those who need help in certain subjects that might have prevented them from completing secondary education. Despite classes being one-hour bus ride each way, three staff members completed their degrees in 2019, with 10 currently enrolled. Under the name of U-2020 initiative, the goal is to have 20 staff (out of 85) to complete or enroll in a university program by end-of-year 2020. UXUA also offers life coaching, including financial planning. As a result, 35 employees have bought land in the past six years. 

Peru

Belmond helped found the Q’omer Wasicha Project in 2015 to promote organic vegetable management and cultivation in local communities as well as fair trade practices. Several communities in the Cusco region are now trained in the production of vegetables and herbs; the sustainable greenhouses allow the harvest of organic crops that would not usually survive the high altitudes of the Andes, including tomatoes, squash and zucchini. 

East Africa

In collaboration with Africa Foundation, andBeyond offers a Conservation Lesson program for both children and adults living in communities close to wildlife areas. Through the initiative, over 1,600 students in East Africa were able to visit andBeyond’s properties, learning firsthand about the wildlife conservation that takes place so close to their home – partaking in game drives with rangers, swimming with dolphins and witnessing turtles hatch. For many, this is the first time in their life they have been exposed to fauna in a meaningful way. These conservation lessons and interactions with andBeyond guides have been a turning point in many participants’ lives; instilling the passion and knowledge of wildlife conservation and community development in them and playing a major part in influencing their careers.

Botswana

Belmond Eagle Island Lodge has worked with the nearby community village of Xaxaba Island to ensure potable drinking water for the community. Previously unavailable, Belmond donated a Jojo water tank, a leading solution in South Africa to provide safe water, as well as a bowser water tank to ensure a clean water source. Water is then regularly transported from the lodge to the village. Belmond has also assisted with providing medical assistance to the community through mobile clinics. Guests also have the opportunity to visit the neighboring Nxhoga village to learn more about the Khotla from the elders, the meeting and administration system, the cultural relevance of basket weaving and the importance of the fishing industry, witnessing how fishing nets are made. 

Myanmar

Dr Hla Tun has been the onboard doctor for Belmond Road to Mandalay, which has been traveling along the Ayeyarwady River since 2004. In addition to his service for guests, Dr. Tun disembarks the river cruise three days per week to lead Belmond’s free health clinic that launched in 2011 as a free service to locals as well as patients who travel for miles on foot to receive medical attention.

If combatting climate change is your passion…

Antarctica

Just 200 years after the first man stepped foot on Antarctica, PONANT is launching the first electric luxury polar ship in 2021. It will be able to cut through ice floe up to seven feet thick – meaning it can reach rarely visited places like Peter I Island, where fewer people have visited than have set foot on the moon. It will operate with a mix of liquified natural gas (the cleanest fuel on the market) and electric battery (zero emission and can operate for up to eight hours at a time). Le Commandant-Charcot will be fitted with the latest technology for minimizing environmental impact, as well as a scientific laboratory for conducting operational oceanography missions and research. Under the supervision of naturalist guides and onboard scientists, guests will be able to participate in the research and experiments during sailings, including helping set up a research station on an ice floe; deploying an Argos transmitter, a satellite-based system which collects and shares environmental data; and taking water samples.

Costa Rica

In the 1970s and 80s, Costa Rica had one of the highest rates of deforestation in Latin America, but it has since reversed that trend and embraced reforestation. This was largely because of the government’s commitment to the cause, making it illegal in 1996 to chop down trees without approval from authorities. They also launched PES, a program that pays farmers to protect watersheds, conserve biodiversity, or capture carbon dioxide. This has positively impacted tourism. According to the tourism board, over 60% of visitors site nature as a reason for coming. The national parks and protected areas cover over a quarter of the country’s land. Nayara Resorts is committed to the cause. Their newest property, Nayara Tented Camp, sits on a hillside that was completely deforested by farmers over 50 years ago. Nayara hired a reforestation expert to rebuild the rainforest – which began with the planting of 40,000 indigenous trees.

Jamaica

Chris Blackwell’s Oracabessa Foundation is restoring the coral reef as a means to bring back marine life. In recent years, through the Foundation’s efforts, the Bay saw an increase of fish presence by 1,800 percent. Because of its success, the template is being replicated in other fish sanctuaries across Jamaica. New this year, Blackwell’s hotel GoldenEye in partnership with the Oracabessa Foundation opened a new dive shop that is open to locals as well as guests, offering coral planting opportunities, with profits going back into the foundation.

Maldives

Coral bleaching from factors like climate change and El Niño has led to the death of 60-90% of the Maldivian reefs. As the only luxury property that is located both on the beach and on a coral reef, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests the chance to adopt a coral frame ($175 USD per frame) during their stay. The coral frames are built using broken coral fragments found on local reefs, which are then rehabilitated in the property’s coral nursery and left to grow and regain their health.

If you want to save endangered animals…

Iguassu Falls, Brazil

When Belmond took over the Hotel das Cataratas in 2007, it not only invested in the hotel itself, but in the surrounding Iguassu National Park. The company committed 4 million Brazilian Reals to help update the park’s electricity supply, redesign the old park entrance and build a bicycle path from the gate to the hotel. It also donated 1.4 million Brazilian Reals towards the Projeto Onças do Iguaçu (Jaguars of Iguassu Project) to help preserve the last of the area’s jaguars. Ten years ago the population of these big cats was in sharp decline. The Jaguars of Iguassu Project installed night vision cameras around the park and used tracking devices fitted onto captured and released animals to study their behaviors and devise programs to improve their survival and breeding rates. Since the Jaguars of Iguassu Project began the number of jaguars has increased from around 9 to at least 28 (census of 2019). After exploring the national park, guests can stop by the hotel’s boutique and purchase a stuffed jaguar where a portion of the proceeds continue to support the project.

South Africa

Pangolins are mini (and adorable) dinosaur-like mammals. While not commonly known in the U.S., these native African anteaters are covered in keratin scales, which are highly valuable to poachers, making them the most trafficked mammal in the world. The species used to roam freely in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, but have been locally extinct for decades. Private groups at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve can have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with these elusive creatures with andBeyond’s Pangolin Conservation Experience and assist in replacing tags and monitoring behavior.

If you want to lead by example…

Gregory Miller is a leader in responsible tourism, an expert in public-private partnerships and a trained environmental scientist who believes in working globally, acting locally, and protecting our precious natural and cultural resources. Greg joined CREST as Executive Director in 2019, bringing to the organization a global track record of high-impact results in sustainable travel and recreation, biodiversity conservation, and policy development. He is also a founder of the newly formed Future of Tourism Coalition, as well as the Outdoor Alliance, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and Parks in Peril program.

Joss Kent joined andBeyond in January 2012 and brought with him a passion for working with local communities and preserving land and wildlife. He came to andBeyond after several years as CEO of Abercrombie & Kent. Starting his career as a game ranger, Joss has gone on to champion leading sustainability and community initiatives including Ocean Without Border and Rhinos Without Border and continuing a partnership with the Africa Foundation to work with local communities to fill their needs, from building schools to creating water filtration systems.

Cindy Pawlcyn is the chef behind Mustards Grill, a Napa Valley landmark for more than 30 years. She opened the restaurant when the region was still largely pasture, with few restaurants and even fewer chefs (none whom were women!). Then, at 28 years old, Pawlcyn was also among the first to plant an organic garden outside her restaurant. Today, Mustards is still a Napa favorite, and has served more than one million pork chops – her signature dish.

Charity Cheruiyot was the first female safari ranger in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Having grown up in a small village as a member of the Kalenjin tribe, Charity paved her own way to a future in the bush. She now is a favorite ranger among guests of andBeyond Bateleur Camp, teaching the brand’s values of care of the land, wildlife, and people. 

Wilbert Das, the former creative director at Diesel, founded UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil. Today, Wilbert’s life in Trancoso extends far beyond the (unmarked) entrance of UXUA. As the town’s “unofficial mayor,” he is steadfast in his support of the community and proves that eco-conscious efforts and a propensity for high design are not mutually exclusive. 

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Ikon Pass Collaborates with American Forests to Plant 22,500 Trees

Copper Mountain, Colorado one of the iconic mountain destinations in the Ikon Pass network. Ikon Pass, from the Alterra Mountain Company, is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

DENVER, CO– Ikon Pass is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America.

Ikon Pass holders are encouraged to rack up their skier days at Ikon Pass destinations throughout winter 20/21 and watch their stats climb on the Ikon Pass app Leaderboard. In April 2021, the top 10 Ikon Pass holders with the most ski days from the All Season Leaderboards from each North American resort will have the chance to have 50 trees each donated in their name, totaling 22,500 trees planted throughout six forest projects. Potential Shred for Sustainability volunteer planting events will be announced in spring 2021.

“Ikon Pass is proud to collaborate with an organization such as American Forests that shares our commitment to sustainability,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer, Alterra Mountain Company. “We revel in the opportunity to engage the Ikon Pass community in a way that gives back to the mountains we all love.”

“We are thrilled to have the support of Ikon Pass and its pass holders who recognize that taking care of our forests is essential to a healthy environment and high-quality recreation experiences,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “This commitment of support will help us reforest mountain landscapes beloved by skiers, snowboarders, and other recreationists, from Canada to California, using climate-informed tree planting techniques that will enable these forests to thrive for years to come.”

To participate, Ikon Pass holders must download the Ikon Pass app, create an account and turn on tracking each day on the mountain. The Ieaderboard tracks lifts, trails, distance, hours, vertical feet, max speed, altitude, and difficulty of trails skied themselves and against the entire Ikon Pass community. For official rules, visit www.ikonpass.com/shred-for-sustainability.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 44 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, Taos Ski Valley, Windham Mountain, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. Each demonstrates integrity, character and independence that is reflected in their mountains and guests.

The Ikon Pass is available now at www.ikonpass.com.

The Ikon Pass, from Alterra Mountain Company, gives skiers and riders access to mountain destinations across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. These include Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Stratton, Sugarbush Resort, and Killington in Vermont; Windham Mountain in New York; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Mt. Bachelor in Oregon; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah; Zermatt in Switzerland; Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan, and Valle Nevado in Chile. Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-accessed hiking operation. For more information, visitwww.ikonpass.com.

American Forests has worked longer than any other national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States to conserve and restore the country’s forests. Since its founding in 1875, it has been a pathfinder for the forest conservation movement. In the early 1900s, for example, the organization rallied forest advocates to champion creation of the U.S. Forest Service. In 2018, it won a decade-long campaign persuading Congress to provide stable funding for preventing and fighting forest fires. Now it is focused on building a reforestation movement in America, from cities to large, rural landscapes. “We create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. We advance our mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building.”

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Travel Experts to Discuss Lessons from COVID-19 on Tourism in a Changing Climate

Jokulsarlon Glacier, Iceland. The travel and tourism industry, which sustains environments, cultures and economies in communities around the world, faces twin crises of climate change and COVID-19. The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is hosting a free 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar on Tuesday, September 29 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.

Join the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) for a 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar entitled Lessons from COVID-19 for Tourism in a Changing Climate, Tuesday, September 29, 11:00 am–12:30 pm EST

Registration for this free event is now open, and space is limited.

CREST’s annual meta-analysis, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, will share key studies on COVID-19 and climate change and the lessons that may be applied from the former to meet the challenges of the latter. CREST’s World Tourism Day Webinar will share the report’s key findings and will bring together experts to discuss consumer, business, and destination trends in the context of recovery. 

Distinguished speakers will explore the unprecedented opportunity to mitigate two existential threats, climate change and COVID-19, with one coordinated approach, truly making the world a safer, more equitable, and more resilient place for all.

Panelists will include:

The latest report, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2020, a special edition on lessons from COVID-19 for tourism in a changing climate, comes at an unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has highlighted the immense need and value of tourism, while fundamentally changing the way destinations, businesses, and travelers will plan, manage, and experience tourism. At the same time, climate change remains an existential threat that has real consequences for destinations and communities everywhere.

The report includes a special focus on the two major crises facing our world today: climate change and COVID-19. Sharing cutting-edge research and examples, the report describes how travelers, tourism businesses, and destinations are implementing workable, sustainable solutions to support our planet and its people. The report also provides an overview of what consumers, businesses, and destinations are experiencing during COVID-19 and offers sustainable solutions that can help the tourism industry on a road to responsible recovery.

“Crisis often breeds innovation, and destination communities and businesses must now take the time to reconsider the path forward,” said Gregory Miller, Executive Director of CREST. “As we look to the future of tourism, the same rigor and dedication that is needed to adapt to the pandemic must also be applied to neutralize the threat of climate change.”

Trends & Statistics 2020 updates CREST’s previous industry studies, released every year since 2013. This year’s report was prepared in collaboration with more than 30 leading organizations, researchers, and institutions, including the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The full report is available at responsibletravel.org.

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Country Walkers Offers Responsible Travel Itineraries That Support Conservation, Charitable Projects

Porto, a delightfully walkable city in northern Portugal, is featured on Country Walkers’ Porto-Lisbon tour which also supports “Farming for the Future” initiative © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Williston, VT –By 2030, 1.8 billion people – about 20 percent of the global population – are predicted to be tourists traveling the world. As the demand for global travel increases, consumers are faced with numerous decisions on how to make their trips more sustainable, including where to go, what to pack and how to get there. Country Walkers, a leading provider of walking adventures and a leader in responsible tourism for decades, offers travelers the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable world through preserving indigenous cultures, supporting local economies, conserving wildlife and protecting the environment. 

“At Country Walkers, we are committed to a healthier planet and to giving back to the destinations we explore,” said Timo Shaw, President of Country Walkers. “Sustainability is one of our core values, from staying in locally owned and operated hotels whenever possible and seeking out environmentally and socially responsible accommodations, to our ardent support of the Slow Food movement in order to preserve culinary traditions and support biodiversity. As a result, those who travel with us contribute to a more sustainable world as well.” 

To further support special conservation and charitable projects in communities and habitats worldwide, Country Walkers created The Travelers Fund, which makes a donation on behalf of every traveler who books a specific tour. More than half of Country Walkers’ tours are associated with an initiative, including:

Mountain Rescue at Club Alpino Italiano (Country Walkers tour: Italy: The Amalfi Coast & Capri). Safety comes first on the Amalfi Coast with a donation to the local mountain rescue team, which primarily relies on volunteers and donations to obtain and maintain equipment for rapid emergency response for visitors and locals.

Wildlife Conservation in the Rocky Mountains (Country Walkers tours: Montana: Glacier National Park and Wyoming: Grand Teton & Yellowstone[KG1] ). The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative seeks to re-connect segments of land that have been separated by development, allowing animals to safely move from region to region on wildlife-friendly highway overpasses. Contributions are used towards constructing one of these wildlife structures.

Therapeutic Travel for Cancer Survivors in Quebec (Country Walkers tour: Quebec: Quebec City & the Saguenay Fjord). Country Walkers supports the Fondation Sur La Pointe des Pieds (“On the Tip of the Toes”), which provides young people ages 14 to 29 living with cancer with an opportunity to regain their sense of well-being through therapeutic adventure expeditions.

Assisting Pilgrims on Camino de Santiago (Country Walkers tour: Spain: Classic Camino de Santiago). The Federación Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago coordinates a vast national network of hostels, volunteers, parishes, churches and shelters in an effort to keep more than 200,000 pilgrims safe, healthy and informed as they walk the Camino de Santiago.  

Clean Water in Zambia (Country Walkers tour: Zambia Safari: Exclusive Camps & Bush Walks). In Africa, currently 345 million people live without access to clean drinking water. Together with local partners in Zambia at Charity Begins Home, Country Walkers supports the “Commit to Clean Water” Fund, an initiative that seeks to transform rural communities by drilling wells into deep aquifers and pumping potable water to the surface.

Maintaining the Long Trail in Vermont (Country Walkers tour: Vermont: Fall Foliage). A highlight of the tour is walking along one of the most spectacular portions of the legendary 270-mile Long Trail, the nation’s first long-distance hiking trail. Country Walkers supports the Green Mountain Club, the stewards of this “footpath through the wilderness,” who also promote conservation of and education about Vermont’s mountains and rural land.

Advocacy for Small Businesses in Palermo (Country Walkers tour: Italy: Sicily). Country Walkers supports the nonprofit Addiopizzo movement, a grassroots coalition of over 850 shopkeepers aimed at squashing corruption in Sicily and educating locals about ethical business practices.

Conserving a Historic Chapel in Monterosso (Country Walkers tour: Italy: Portofino & Cinque Terre[KG2] ). In 2013, severe landslides destroyed the grounds of the historic Convento dei Cappuccini chapel and monastery. “Let’s Rebuild Monterosso’s Paradise” raises funds for the restoration, a cost far beyond the modest means of the town or diocese.

Cornwall Coastal Preservation (Country Walkers tour: England: The Cornwall Coast). The South West Coast Path Association advocates for improvements to more than 630 miles of this historic coastal trail system. As maintenance is costly, donations from Country Walkers on behalf of guests help maintain these paths that are heavily utilized on the tour.

Farming for the Future (Country Walkers tours: Portugal: Sintra, Óbidos & the Coast and Portugal: Porto to Lisbon). The Herdade do Freio do Meio farm applies principles of sustainability within the context of the Portuguese montado, a traditional pastoral agricultural system in which reducing reliance on fossil fuels and marketing regionally to provide fresh foods and minimize transport costs are key policies. The farm processes and sells many products on site, providing training and employment for locals.

Campobello Whale Rescue Team (Country Walkers tour: New Brunswick: Bay of Fundy & Campobello Island). Created by Mackie Green, the same captain who offers a whale watching excursion and boat transfers on the Country Walkers tour, the team is trained to dive and rescue whales trapped in fish netting. Donations support equipment and training.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Country Walkers tour: England: The Cotswolds). Stretching over 790 square miles, the Cotswolds is the largest recognized Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England due to its breathtaking scenery and rolling hills. Country Walkers supports efforts to keep the area well-preserved on behalf of every Cotswolds guest.

For more information on The Travelers Fund and Country Walkers’ sustainable travel initiatives, visit www.countrywalkers.com/sustainable-travel/ or call 800-234-6900.

For more than 40 years, Country Walkers has provided active, experiential, and stunning travel experiences on five continents. Based in Williston, Vt., the company’s specialized adventures and insider access bring the beating heart of a destination to life with well-crafted itineraries for Guided Walking and Self-Guided Walking. All walking trips highlight local cuisine, authentic accommodations, and immersive cultural experiences. Country Walkers is recognized as one of the leading providers of Walking Adventures worldwide, having garnered countless awards including National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” and Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards.

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10 Tips from CREST on How to Visit Europe Responsibly

It’s important to continue to visit such popular, but fragile places as Venice, but you can choose to visit in off-season, visit less trafficked places, walk, bike or take mass transit instead of drive, choose lodging and tour companies that follow sustainable practices © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There has been much discussion of late of the negative impacts of over-tourism on communities and the environment. But the travel industry, which offers a lifeline to communities trying to preserve their heritage and environment by providing an economic foundation, is working aggressively to reduce these adverse effects. In addition to introducing sustainable practices in lodging and touring (getting rid of single-use plastic, promoting farm-to-table dining and local services, reducing impacts on water and energy supplies) and transportation (introducing technology to reduce carbon emissions, increase efficiencies), there are other things that travelers can do to travel responsibly: 

Investigate your destinations before you travel to see if there is a problem with overtourism.

Consider not visiting a destination suffering from overtourism during the height of its tourism season. Instead, try to travel in shoulder or off seasons when there are fewer visitors.

Or, travel to less popular destinations in Europe that offer many similar experiences and attractions to a bucket list destination. Resist the temptation to go only to the places you see on Instagram – destinations plagued by selfie-takers, who only remain for a few moments to get a photo, are suffering from the negative impacts of congestion but none of the positive impacts of stayover tourism.

Consider traveling with a responsible tour operator. Tour operators like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures have instituted measures to avoid contributing to overtourism, like organizing early entry when visiting popular attractions, taking travelers to less-visited sites within historic cities, and offering alternative hikes and treks that avoid crowded pathways and lead to less-visited sections of ancient sites.

Be responsible about the photos you take. Get permission to take photos of individuals and respect the physical environment when taking photos – do not go off trail/into restricted areas to take photos. Showing restraint in taking photos will allow you to really experience the destination and be respectful of those around you.

If available, use apps or other devices that can track and help to disperse crowds.

Travel on small cruises that are less overwhelming to a destination.

If using Airbnb or another home sharing site, check beforehand to see if they are legal and what the regulations are in that particular destination. Same for Uber, Lyft and other sharing economy car services – are they legal, and if so, are there rules that you should follow?

Try to use accommodations, transport and restaurants that are certified as socially and environmentally responsible and/or are locally owned. Go on the company’s website to check for this and look for certifications or messaging about sustainability. 

Use your dollars toward good. Tourists need to be mindful of creating a positive footprint on destinations, rather than a neutral one. Spend on locally owned restaurants, locally made handicrafts, locally owned hotels and donate to social and environmental projects.

Based in Washington, DC, the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is dedicated to increasing the positive global impact of tourism. A unique nonprofit organization recognized for its unbiased, academically rigorous, practical research, CREST is also known for its “on the ground” fieldwork applying these findings and analyses. Originally, CREST’s work focused on the role of ecotourism projects in empowering communities and conserving fragile ecosystems through responsible tourism. Over time, it has evolved to examine how all tourism can be more responsibility planned, developed, and managed. CREST has become a leading expert on the full range of tourism models, from small-scale community-based and indigenous tourism to large coastal resort and cruise tourism. Furthermore, its work has also expanded to encompass country-wide responsible tourism master planning and public sector collaboration. In this era of climate change, responsible travel is no longer an option, it is an imperative. Given this reality, CREST remains committed to its original vision of transforming the way the world travels.

More information at www.responsibletravel.org.

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Urges Congress to Pass ‘Connecting America’s Active Transportation System’ Act

Biking the 109-mile long Mickelson Trail, a centerpiece of Wilderness Voyageurs’ South Dakota bike tour, is one of 30 rail-trails to have been named to the Hall of Fame by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

A new bill in Congress will, if passed, enable communities across America to connect their trails, sidewalks and bikeways to the places that people want to go – by bike or walking – within and between communities.

But our U.S. Representatives need to hear from us to make it happen.

Tell the Congressmembers to support trails, walking and biking by signing on in support of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.

The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Huffman (Calif.-2), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.-3) and Chris Pappas (N.H.-1), will provide $500 million in direct funding annually to help communities and regions across the country build connected active-transportation systems to ensure people can get where they want to go safely by foot, bike or wheelchair.

This proposal, coupled with increases in funding for Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program, would provide critical resources for communities to build safe, convenient and accessible places for people to walk, bike and roll.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s top policy priority is to create this game-changing opportunity to build a trail and active transportation system to serve the nation.

“Our research has found that wise investments in connecting trails, sidewalks, bikeways and other active transportation systems are creating returns of more than $34 billion in health, environmental and economic benefits around the country,” said Kevin Mills, Rails-to-Trails Vice President of Policy. “And that return could even be quadrupled as more communities have the opportunity to connect their active transportation systems.

“People across the country want to be able to safely walk and bike where they need to go. The Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act is a major leap forward because it would reshape federal transportation law to recognize that communities nationwide need safe, connected trail and active-transportation networks.

“Urge your representative to sign on to the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System Act.”

See more at railstotrails.org.

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