Tag Archives: sustainable tourism

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 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

Going Places @ theisland360.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

instagram.com/bigbackpacktraveler/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, Luxury Resorts on St. Lucia, Earn Travelife Gold Recertification for Eco-Friendly Sustainability

Taking in the view at sunset from the Passion Flower terrace. Anse Chastanet and its sister resort, Jade Mountain, on St. Lucia have been recertified by Travelife, the sustainable tourism certification system © Laini Miranda/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

ST. LUCIA  –  Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia have been recertified for the internationally renowned Travelife Gold Certification for Hotels and Accommodations. The twin properties are the only Gold-certified accommodations on the Caribbean island, the luxury resorts’ owners, Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy, announced.

Travelife, the sustainable tourism certification system, has reassessed Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet’s performance in responsibly managing their socioeconomic and environmental impacts. The resorts first achieved certification in 2017 and have worked hard to maintain the title.

To gain a Travelife Gold certification, Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet were assessed against 88 sustainability criteria that take into account the following environmental issues and positive social impacts:

Protecting the environment, by minimizing the amount of energy, waste and water used;

Respecting and treating employees fairly;

Respecting the local community, including its residents and the safeguarding of children;

Protecting the local culture, heritage, and wildlife of the destination; and

Supporting the local economy and its businesses.

The Troubetzkoys said of the accolade: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved Travelife Gold Certification once again, as environmental efforts have always been at the heart of our resorts. It is incredibly important to us that we continue to commit to sustainability and to supporting the local community year-over-year.” 

Environmental concerns, sustainability and community efforts are at the epicenter of Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, with daily practices set up to conserve water and energy and increase recycling efforts. These include but are not restricted to the following:

The design of Jade Mountain reinforces the connection to the natural environment with passive ventilation of the rooms and natural day-lighting. Heating and cooling of the sanctuaries (rooms) are based entirely on the natural rhythms and cycles of the world. Not being dependent on artificial cooling or lighting of the rooms decreases the use of precious energy resources and minimizes the carbon footprint of the resort.

The exterior plaza of Jade Mountain was designed to capture all the rainwater in Koi ponds and planting areas. The plants are then harvested for use in the resort’s restaurants.

A natural coral tile was used for exterior walkways and roof areas. It is highly reflective and effectively diminishes any “heat island” effect in the local micro-climate.

Potable water for the resorts is produced by collecting it in a reservoir that was originally constructed and used by the British and French to power the water wheels that crushed sugar cane. The reservoir was repaired after decades of not being used and now collects over 1.5 million gallons of water annually that is gravity-fed to a state-of-the-art water purification system.

Only local, indigenous plants were used in the landscaping, which minimizes the need for watering and protects a precious resource.

The resorts were the catalyst behind the coral reefs of St. Lucia being declared a marine reserve to protect this valuable resource.

The resorts provide alternative transportation for its employees. On a daily basis, shuttles are scheduled hourly to transport workers from the resort to the local community, keeping carbon emissions to a minimum.

During the construction of Jade Mountain, any left-over construction materials were distributed to the local workforce for use on their own properties.

Construction materials that were used primarily came from the island, reducing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and the resultant pollution. For example, wood used was harvested from a managed forest.

During construction, the workers were protected through the implementation of an Indoor Air Quality plan that minimized worker’s exposure to harmful airborne compounds.

Low emitting materials (paints, adhesives, etc.) were used throughout the resorts, which effectively eliminated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are detrimental to a person’s health.

Guests are given the opportunity to learn about the resorts’ sustainability programs and actively participate in environmental activities such as reef cleaning and tree planting.

Nightly rates at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain start at $375 and $1,080, respectively, per room based on double occupancy. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 10% VAT. To book visit www.ansechastanet.com or www.jademountain.com.

Rising majestically above the 600-acre beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s southwestern Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating the island’s stunning scenic beauty. Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature in his creation of Jade Mountain. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences. For more information, visit www.jademountain.com.

Anse Chastanet is set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia’s twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amidst St. Lucia’s lush tropical beauty, activities range from jungle biking, hiking and bird watching to snorkeling on the reef within swimming distance of the beach. The environmentally friendly, award-winning resort comprises 49 individually designed rooms, 37 of which are scattered about a lush hillside, and 12 that are nestled within a tropical garden at beach level. Innovative menus – one of which is entirely vegetarian – are offered in four different locations and feature fresh produce served up from the resort’s organic farm. Guests can partake in interactive chocolate-making classes in the resort’s chocolate laboratory and a variety of water sports are also on offer. For further information, visit www.ansechastanet.com.

See also: Honeymoon in Paradise: Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

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

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

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

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

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

Select speakers include:

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

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

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

Voluntourism: Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples Tour Provides Opportunity to Help with Elephant Care in Thailand’s Chiang Mai Region

During Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples tour of Northern Thailand participants get to help bathe, feed and walk elephants at both an elephant rescue center and in a Karen tribal village in the jungle.

CORNER BROOK, NL, CANADA– Elephants are the stars in a new-for-2018 multi-sport Thailand adventure for women-only hosted by Wild Women Expeditions.

Fall 2018 departures of Elephants, Treks and Temples tour of Northern Thailand (http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/thailand-elephants/) will immerse guests for 11 days in the culture and landscape of northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai region on bicycles, and while trekking and coursing down rivers on bamboo rafts.  Stops enroute include helping to bathe, feed and walk elephants at both and an elephant rescue center and in a Karen tribal village in the jungle.

“Ethical, sustainable tourism is the Asian elephant’s best hope to survive. In the spirit of the #BeKindToElephants movement, we want to respect and protect these majestic animals and so won’t be riding elephants on any Wild Women tours,” says Jennifer Haddow, Owner/Director of Wild Women Expeditions. “This practice often relies on wild elephants being brutally tamed before they can be ridden and we are creating tourism opportunities with elephants that do not cause harm.”

The focus on elephants is part of a Wild Women Expeditions’ commitment to change the perception of elephants as beasts of burden for tourists. The company is supporting Chai Lai Sisters, a community-based tourism project to convert an abusive elephant riding camp into a sanctuary or rescue center for elephants that is run by the Karen tribal community near Chiang Mai. This company also benefits a second organization, Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, supporting the work of the work of the first elephant hospital in Thailand to rehabilitate elephants injured by overwork and neglect in tourist camps.

Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples Tour of Chiang Mai, Thailand, provides opportunity to help care for elephants.

Wild Women Expeditions has also thrown its financial support behind Chai Lai Orchid and a Go Fund Me Campaign to empower local women and rescue elephants. Donations are needed to save 13 Asian elephants from abusive conditions and to support a human-trafficking prevention program. For more details and to contribute see: https://www.gofundme.com/ChaiLai.

Elephants in this region are big business. The animals are enslaved to the tourist trade 365 days a year as cheap transportation carrying the weight of a heavy metal chair plus the weight of humans. Elephants are also in chains to logging interests, day after day dragging felled trees from the jungle. In the rescue center caretakers from a Karen hill tribe assure that the animals are well treated and have access to water for bathing. See: https://www.chailaiorchid.com/elephant-sanctuary/.

In Chiang Mai is the world’s first elephant hospital that is supported by a non-profit organization called Friends of the Asian Elephant. Here treatments cover the spectrum of what distressed elephants may require, from illnesses requiring antibiotics to injuries mandating surgeries and future prosthesis, to maternal and infant care. See: http://www.friendsoftheasianelephant.org/en/.

Thailand’s Chiang Mai is the gateway to access the country’s north. The Wild Women Adventure Tour will visit several tribal communities to get a view of the rural landscape through activities including cycling, rafting and trekking.

Rice paddies, orchards, bamboo and fern groves surround women on bicycles in Sri Lanna National Park. To cross a reservoir they board a longtail boat bound for lunch at a floating bamboo raft house. Atop Thailand’s second highest mountain they gaze across a landscape to neighboring Myanmar; they hike along a jungle trail and immerse themselves in the culture of a hill tribe whose business is maintaining tea plantations. The group will stay for two nights at Phu Chaisai, at an award-winning eco-resort crafted by bamboo in the jungle near Chiang Rai. One 3.5-hour trek leads to a Karen village hill tribe where elephants await new hands to feed and bathe them. Another day is spent at an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai.  Omnipresent throughout this journey are temples – or wats – and the role that rivers continue to play in shaping Thailand’s trade and agriculture.

The per person double rate is $2,295 USD inclusive of 10 nights accommodation (including a home stay), most meals, services of an English-speaking certified female guide and assistant guides, drinking water and snacks, activity-related equipment, travel, including airport transfers, in private air-conditioned vans, sightseeing tickets and zone entrance fees, flight confirmations and luggage transfers.

A quarter century ago Wild Women Expeditions pioneered today’s steam-charged movement encouraging women to travel in small women-only groups. “Wild Women Expeditions gives women the opportunity to empower themselves amongst other women, connect with the natural world and make a positive impact in the communities we explore,” says Haddow.

For details, availability and reservations for these and all Wild Women Expeditions’ programs call 1 (888) 993-1222, email info@wildwomenexpeditions.com or visit online at https://wildwomenexpeditions.com/.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures