Travel with a Purpose

3 June 18

Author: Betsy Reeves

Voluntourism, sustainable tourism, ecotourism, responsible travel….many names, one goal: to leave the places you visit better than you found them. At Global Escapes, we are proud to work with a variety of partners that support our clients’ efforts to travel with a purpose.


Backroads has been taking responsible travel seriously since their first trip in 1979. After all, traveling on two feet or two wheels is the ultimate minimal-impact approach to travel. But they also recognize that any travel has an impact, so they do everything they can to make that impact positive.

Backroads doesn’t simply take you to travel destinations on trips; they take you into the communities where people live and work. Here are just a few examples of how they support communities in the areas they run trips.

Trips for Kids: Trips for Kids has introduced more than 100,000 at-risk youth to the unparalleled experience of bicycling since 1988. Through daylong mountain bike rides and Earn-A-Bike programs, kids have the opportunity to challenge themselves physically and mentally, build confidence, develop environmental awareness, and have lots of fun in the process. Backroads has been a long-time friend and supporter of Trips for Kids, recently donating 30 bicycles to the Rides Program.

Ara Project: The Ara Project in Costa Rica is a licensed zoological park dedicated to the conservation of two native Costa Rican macaw species: the endangered great green macaw and the scarlet macaw. For more than three decades, the project has been successfully breeding and rehabilitating confiscated and injured birds for eventual release back into the wild. Backroads sponsors the project’s handrearing facility and nursery, based in Punta Islita on the Pacific Coast.

Backroads Condor Interpretation House: The Backroads Condor Interpretation House at Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador is a pioneer program that rehabilitates and reintroduces captive Andean condors into the wild. The program’s focus is to educate the local community—and its children in particular—about the value of protecting this endangered species, as well as the importance of conserving Ecuador’s other wildlife and natural resources.

Peru: In Ollantaytambo, a peaceful Incan town in the Sacred Valley, Backroads leaders and guests visit a jardinor pre-school, with eighty children and six teachers. In addition to interacting with the kids, they provide supplies, including paper, maps, puzzles, and stoves, which are used to prepare hot breakfasts for the children. Some of Backroads’ guests have been so touched by the experience that they continue to send supplies and donations to the school upon their return home.

Bhutan: Built in the 18th century, Chorten Nebu Monastery is home to 28 orphans from a nearby village. While it’s one of the few places where social and spiritual life has remained practically unchanged for centuries, poor waste management threatens the daily life of residents. Since 2005, Backroads leaders and guests have contributed to basic necessities, installed garbage cans along the trail, and are now raising funds for the construction of a new kitchen and a clean drinking water supply.

Traveling Responsibly and Supporting Our Communities: Backroads makes it a priority to travel responsibly. Whenever they can, they buy locally grown products and foods and donate leftover foods and goods to charities. They recycle in locations where recycling exists and practice the principles of Leave No Trace (pack it in, pack it out). And they contract with local business services at every opportunity.

World Bicycle Relief: Backroads supports World Bicycle Relief’s (WBR) mission of providing bicycles to rural workers, students, and healthcare providers worldwide, especially women. Backroads’ involvement with WBR complements its efforts to promote and improve biking in the communities their guests live.

The Adventure Collection: As members of the Adventure Collection, Backroads supports and believes in the five Strategic Principles of Responsible Travel. Since the Adventure Collection members accepted these principles in November 2003, Backroads continues to integrate them into all aspects of the company.

BACKROADS AND THE ADVENTURE COLLECTION: Backroads is proud to acknowledge their membership in the Adventure Collection, along with, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Geographic Expeditions, Lindblad Expeditions, OARS, Off the Beaten Path, Bushtracks Expeditions, Natural Habitat, Micato Safaris, and NOLS. While completely independent, members of the Adventure Collection strive to bring the many corners of the globe to you in a variety of distinctive vacations that suit your individual preferences. As members of the Adventure Collection they enthusiastically and wholeheartedly agree to the Adventure Collection’s five Strategic Principles of Responsible Travel and continue to integrate them into all aspects of Backroads. The Adventure Collection adopted the following principles in November 2003.

Strategic Principles of Responsible Travel
Strategic Principle I: Members have specific ongoing projects that further the overall concept of responsible travel. As an international travel organization, Backroads views the world as their community. Since Backroads was founded in 1979, they’ve made it their business to support the areas where they travel and the communities where they live, through financial aid, material donations, people power, and education. In the 21st century, they’ve broadened their reach to include more regions worldwide, while narrowing their focus to communities and organizations most meaningful to their staff and to their guests.
In the past several years, through the Backroads Community Partnerships Program, they have donated well over one million dollars to worthwhile causes.

Strategic Principle II: Members have a clearly defined strategy regarding accountability in their offices. Backroads wants to be a good neighbor and partners with the communities where their offices are located. To that end, they strive to be economically productive, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly. They encourage their staff to be considerate and culturally and environmentally conscious. They bear in mind the rights of the local population, respect local laws and customs, and try to employ local staff whenever feasible.
Some examples of how they strive to be accountable in the communities where they have their offices:
⦁ Donating leftover food from trips to local food banks.
⦁ Encouraging leaders to serve their home communities when not leading trips.
⦁ Participating and supporting local bike-to-work days.
⦁ Participating in recycling programs, both in main offices and warehouses and satellite operations.
⦁ Promoting community service on the Intranet.
⦁ Providing a physical space for employees to promote community service opportunities.
⦁ Providing staff with “flex days” that can be given over to volunteer service. Their goal is to have 100% of their staff involved in community service.

Strategic Principle III: Members have a clearly defined strategy regarding accountability in the communities where their trips take place. Backroads understands that their guests travel to the destinations they offer because of their natural and cultural beauty. The company practices a “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints” philosophy. They also understand that regions are in different stages of development and they match their giving accordingly.

In North America, the interests of guests and staff generate many of the causes that Backroads supports and has supported in the past. The causes are either located in the places where their guests live or the places where they run their trips. In the past few years, they have donated more than one million dollars to worthwhile causes.

Bhutan: Backroads includes a note in our Travel Planners letting guests know that if they’d like to leave “gently used” warm clothing behind, it is very much appreciated. Also, leaders often pack their older fleece and other sturdy clothing, and then leave it behind at the end of the season.

Latin America:
Baja, Mexico: Support of local children’s bike club.
Costa Rica: Financial support of the Rainmaker Conservation Project, a privately owned rain forest reserve that spans more than 1,530 acres of 80-90 percent virgin forest. The project forms part of the Quepoa Biological Corridor, and is one of the last remnants of primary rain forest in the Central Pacific (along with Corcovado National Park). It is a biodiversity bank for 70 percent of all the flora and fauna species found in Costa Rica, and careful preservation of the forest is their foremost goal.
Peru: They financially support the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, as well as other museums and sites they visit including: Cathedral, Church of San Blas, Qoricancha, Temple of the Sun/Convento de Santo Domingo and Museum of pre-Columbian Art, as well as the archaeological sites of Tambo Machay, Q’enko, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, they visit a local school, Divino Maestro, and join in sing-alongs and visit classrooms. They facilitate collections from their guests that are put toward school supplies and games.
In the Sacred Valley, they visit the small indigenous community of Huilloc, where they support local weavers and take part in a cultural dance with the children. In the same community they bring fruit and bread for the locals as well as school supplies (each week it is something different: crayons, pencils, books, paper) for the children.

France: Financial support of the Caen Memorial Museum, offering summaries of points of 20th-century history: biographies, major events, objects, and religion. To date, over 80 titles have been brought out in French and English, enabling the public to gain insight into a particular aspect of history, particularly World War II.
In addition to the above examples, virtually all of Backroads’  trips include donations to local museums, natural history centers, indigenous peoples organizations, national park associations, and other service organizations.

Strategic Principle IV: Responsible travel education guidelines are considered in developing of departures offered by members. Backroads believes that by educating their staff, guests and community partners they can naturally further the cause of responsible travel. To this end they try to:
1. Minimize waste on their trips by using recycled materials and non-paper products as much as possible.
2. Practice the “Leave No Trace” ethic on all trips, and highlight this in materials.
3. Prepare travelers to minimize their impact while visiting sensitive environments and cultures.
4. Organize annual training seminars for leaders that emphasize deep cultural and natural-world knowledge of the area.
5. Purchase, consume, and highlight local foods as part of their experience.
6. Design trips and activities to connect guests to local cultures.
7. Support local artisans by bringing guests to their workshops.
8. Use locally owned suppliers whenever feasible.

Strategic Principle V: Members are committed to a systematic review of their corporate performance regarding responsible travel. By supporting and helping to develop the Adventure Collection responsible travel strategies they believe they will continue to improve upon that which they have always cherished: the natural and cultural world. Representatives from their Leader Development, Trip Operations, and Logistics & Transportation departments meet on an annual basis with Tom Hale, the Founder and President of Backroads, to review progress and outline areas for improvement.

In recognizing the importance and privilege of being welcomed into communities wherever they go, B&R established the B&R Fund. As passionate travellers, they want to do their part to protect the world’s cultural heritage and promote the health of vibrant living cultures. They are often reminded just how fortunate they are to be able to interact with cultures from all corners of the globe, and the B&R Fund was created to celebrate and support the unique communities they explore on their trips.

Global in scope, local in impact, the Fund supports innovative projects spearheaded by exceptional individuals. The projects they select strongly reflect the regions that inspire them and are built around the idea of giving something back to the local communities.

Financial support is merely the point of departure. The relationship between B&R and the grant recipients varies depending on the project. Their collaboration efforts include activities such as contributing to the trip planning process and participating in fundraising.

THE B&R FUND IN BURMA: In 2011 B&R was excited about returning to Myanmar (Burma). The relationships that George and Martha Butterfield created on their trip in 2007 allowed the company to continue their work with the Global Community Service Foundation. B&R has a long history in Inlé Lake, and one of their guides was so moved by the people of Burma that he coordinated the house building efforts with the GCSF. Together with the GCSF, B&R supported the construction of five homes in Inlé Lake—with enough funds reserved to build several more next season. The families living in these new homes also received other necessities such as clothing, battery-operated lights, water filters and stationery for children. GCSF is active in Vietnam and Bhutan as well.

GOOD WORKS: THE B&R FUND PARTNERS WITH WORLDREADER: In 2011 B&R created a new partnership with Worldreader—an exciting new charity that leverages the latest technological advances in publishing. Worldreader gives kids in the developing world access to digital books. Using e‑readers loaded with thousands of local and international e-books, they provide children with the books they want and need, so they can improve their lives. B&R’s donation to Worldreader provided enough funding to supply four schools in Ghana & Kenya with 400 ruggedized e-readers with at least 100 local and international books.

THE B&R FUND IN PERU: On their trips to Peru, their guides brought to their attention the efforts of Marie Helene, general manager of the Sol y Luna Hotel in the Sacred Valley (a familiar name for some B&R travellers who have done the Peru Walking trip), who has built a school for local children.
Located next to the hotel, the school is the first of its kind in the valley and offers a progressive curriculum. Inspired by Marie Helene’s vision, the B&R Fund committed financial support to the school materials. Additional contributions occur for every traveller on our Peru Walkingtrip, with these funds directed towards the purchase of books, sports equipment and other school supplies. Naturally, they have reserved time on our itinerary to introduce travellers to this exciting project in person, should they wish to see it.

Morocco: Supporting Education For All
B&R’s donation helped EFA build and operate schools in the High Atlas Mountains, making education accessible to girls in the nearby villages.

South Africa
B&R donated 10 bikes to senior students at Qhayiya High School. The students are contracted to take year-long responsibility for the bicycles. The intention is to reduce absenteeism days, teach accountability and experience the joy of having a great bike to ride.

Laos: Regional Artisan Grants
The B&R Fund made a donation to Big Brother Mouse, a Lao-based project that publishes books for all ages. Until now, few books were published in Laotian. Big Brother Mouse gives hands-on experience to young people as they learn new skills: writing, editing, translating, desktop publishing, business, and organizing events. They also made a donation to support the creation of the book Beautiful Luang Prabang—an ongoing project supporting local writers and artists to travel through Laos to write a book about the local culture.


Since the very beginning, G Adventures has operated under the belief that travel is an exchange, not a commodity. As a social enterprise, the planet is our product. Its social and environmental welfare is fundamentally important to G Adventures – not just as a business, but as human beings, too. When you travel with G Adventures, you’re giving back as much – if not more – than what you take away, often in ways you’d never expect. Here’s how this company spreads G Adventures for Good around the world.

Planeterra: Established in 2003, Planeterra is G Adventures’ non-profit partner dedicated to ensuring communities touched by tourism benefit from the opportunities it provides. Planeterra helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra manages over 50 social enterprises on all seven continents, that benefit women, at-risk youth, and rural and indigenous communities.

G Local: G Adventures likes to keep things local on their trips. Working with small, locally owned businesses rather than big international chains helps keep the overall cost of your trip down, but they also believe that your travel dollars should stay where you spend them. Supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses strengthens communities, raises the overall quality of life, and ensures that the places you love will continue to be loved.

Animal Welfare: G Adventures recognizes the importance of animal welfare. That’s why they have adopted the guidelines developed by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, a third-party organization whose mission it is to protect animals from abuse. G’s vision is to ensure that all animals encountered on our tours are treated humanely.

Child Welfare: G Adventures believes that it is critical that no child is ever harmed as a result of tourism. Travelers have the power to make a true impact in the communities they visit, and that’s why the company actively works to ensure child welfare is protected in the places they operate.

Responsible Travel with Indigenous People: Connecting curious travelers with Indigenous communities is an essential part of G Adventures’ identity. They are committed to respecting the rights, history, and culture of Indigenous people while ensuring that tourism supports their well-being.

Traveler Conduct Policy: G Adventures believes travel should be a respectful, safe, and enjoyable experience for everyone. That’s why they have a Traveler Conduct Policy. This set of guidelines is designed to help establish a sense of safety, security, and enjoyment for all on any G Adventures tour.

Planeterra and the Inter-American Development Bank: In 2013, Planeterra and G Adventures partnered with the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to develop community-based tourism projects in rural communities underserved by the travel economy. Today, they continue to seek out opportunities for community tourism projects wherever possible to help travellers put their travel dollars where they belong: within the communities that need them.

Disaster Relief: G Adventures strongly believes tourism is a force for global good, and they’re committed to promoting sustainable solutions in communities around the globe.

G Adventures for Good Projects: From the beginning, G Adventures’ mission has been a simple one—to help people and communities thrive through solutions, not handouts. They do this by providing the resources and opportunities for local people in the areas they serve to develop and strengthen their communities, and theirnetwork of travelers provide these communities with the long-term income to make these solutions sustainable.

Globus is committed to protecting the places they visit. By employing environmentally friendly motorcoaches and partnering with preservation and sustainability initiatives, the company is working to ensure the world’s icons will be here to thrill travelers for generations to come.

Tourism Cares: Globus has partnered with Tourism Cares to fund worldwide preservation and restoration projects in places like Yellowstone National Park, The Galápagos Islands and others. And they are proud to help fund the ChildSafe Network to support the welfare, advancement, and safety of children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Globus’ partnership with Tourism Cares™, established by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), helps the company translate this feeling into action. Globus has targeted “Traveler Icons” for preservation/restoration funding. Their passengers can also get involved directly through additional contributions.

⦁ Freedom Trail
⦁ Kenai Fjords National Park
⦁ Redwood National Park
⦁ The Mountain Institute in Peru

Kailyan Mith program Siem Reap; part of the ChildSafe Network. Visiting Cambodia can be a life-changing experience. Two things that visitors remember are the amazing archaeological treasures and the Cambodian people. Their warm, friendly personalities truly leave a lasting impression-as do their touching stories. Today, there is no story more important to tell than the growing number of children living in poverty.

Siem Reap, with its proximity to the temples of Angkor, has developed into a major tourism center in Cambodia. In 2013, Cambodia saw 4.2 million tourists and over half of these visitors arrived through Siem Reap. This recent growth in tourism has brought a good deal of wealth to the city, which has led a growing number of impoverished families to move to the city from surrounding villages in hopes of a better life. Often unprepared and with few employable skills, the hope for economic opportunities has instead increased the number of children, families, and mothers with small babies begging or selling souvenirs to tourists on the streets and around the temples.

To respond to these challenges, Globus, in partnership with Tourism Cares, is proud to help fund the ChildSafe Network. Initiated by Friends-International, this powerful, proven program enlists the tourism community, both local and international, to support the welfare, advancement, and safety of children.

In Siem Reap, the ChildSafe Network is run by the Friends-International program Kaliyan Mith, which offers a comprehensive range of services and projects. This includes outreach to children and youth living on the streets, providing a safe space for young people through drop-in centers, an educational center and school re-integration, vocational training and employment for youth and their parents, and the provision of temporary accommodation through a transitional home. The program also includes awareness-raising campaigns where child begging is especially prominent as well as a 24/7 ChildSafe Emergency Hotline.

WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER FOUNDATION: Globus guests don’t just see some of the most majestic scenery in the world…they are helping with the company’s commitment to preserving these beautiful lands for future generations. In addition to introducing travelers to the treasures and beauty of America’s national parks, Globus is proud to partner with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to help support the brave firefighters who protect our private and public lands from wildfires. They  make a contribution to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for every traveler they bring on a GoParks! Tour, at no additional cost to you! It’s their way of recognizing and honoring our nation’s wildland firefighters and their heroic efforts to preserve our national treasures.

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION NETWORK: Globus supports the Wildlife Conservation Network, which protects endangered species and preserves their natural habitats by supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive.

SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS HONORARY RANGERS: When you join any Globus Africa vacation, the company will make a contribution to the SANParks Honorary Rangers and the Lion Recovery Fund—at no additional cost to you. It’s their way of showing support for the ongoing efforts to save this wonderful species from extinction.

MAKE-A-WISH: Via Globus’ sister brand, Monograms, the companies have now passed more than 200 wishes granted! Over the past 10 years, they have been honored to assist Make-A-Wish® in granting the international travel wishes of children battling critical illnesses. Bringing families together to experience some of the world’s most remarkable destinations is what they do best. They are honored to help make the wishes of equally remarkable children come to life.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: Globus is committed to sustainable travel and minimizing its impact on the environment and to reducing its dependence on non-renewable resources. In this endeavor, they have implemented policies to support this sustainable travel mission and are working carefully to enhance their products with this mission and their values combined.

PROTECTING WORLD TREASURES FOR THE FUTURE: Being the leader in touring travel and vacation packages might be enough for some companies, but Globus doesn’t stop there. With more than 90 years of experience designing itineraries and exclusive excursions, the company knows what it takes to create an enlightening and memorable vacation. It’s the difference between visiting Napa’s famous vineyards—and learning how to actually pair wines with various flavors; between a quick photo stop at Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge—and a walk across it for a unique perspective of rainforest trails and magnificent evergreens. And it’s also the difference between showing off the world’s most spectacular destinations and sights—and taking responsibility to preserve the attractions that their travelers go to great lengths to experience.


As one of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, Insight Vacations is a founding member of the TreadRight Foundation and shares a collective desire to protect and conserve the stunningly beautiful environments, fascinating cultures, and awe-inspiring communities of this natural world.
TreadRight is a not-for-profit organization that works tirelessly to ensure the environment and communities they visit remain for generations to come. Since 2008, TreadRight has supported more than 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide, working with expert project partners who directly oversee these projects on the ground.

When travelling with Insight on select Premium itineraries, you’ll see some of these incredible projects in action. In Perugia, experience one of the last remaining hand-weaving textiles in Italy, reminiscent of great medieval and renaissance textile traditions in Italy. In choosing Insight Vacations you are helping TreadRight continue its life-changing work.

Insight Vacations is dedicated to reducing their environmental impact and giving back to the local communities that they visit with their trips.
In partnership with One Tree Planted, they will plant one tree in California for every guest who chooses to receive their travel documents electronically as e-Documents.

TREADRIGHT AMBASSADOR: For TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau, adventure runs in the family. Granddaughter of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Céline has carried on a tradition of exploration and conservation. As a documentary filmmaker and gifted storyteller, Céline has traveled the world working to help amplify the voices of the amazing individuals who are working to protect ecosystems, wildlife, and people. In 2015, TreadRight welcomed Céline as its official ambassador, helping to tell the stories of its projects and partners.

“We all have a role to play in conserving our environment; after all, we want future generations to have the opportunity to experience the diverse and inspiring people, cultures and places this world offers. Together with TreadRight, I am working to support the organizations looking to make this a reality. To date, TreadRight has assisted more than 35 projects, and the future is looking even brighter with many more on the horizon. This year our partnership reached another level with two new initiatives: The TreadRight Heritage Initiative, which is about empowering individuals by supporting their artisanal heritage; and The TreadRight Wildlife Initiative, which is focused on tackling the global issue of wildlife poaching and crime. I know that together we can make a big difference.”

As part of its continuing dedication to sustainable efforts, TreadRight, with support from Insight Vacations, launched The TreadRight Heritage Initiative. The TreadRight Heritage Initiative looks to further TreadRight’s commitment to the people and the places that they visit.

Heritage activities are vital to local economies. Millions of individuals around the world are dependent on heritage-based work, and in many developing destinations the heritage sector helps create jobs, champion economic development, build connections to the global marketplace and empower the disenfranchised.

In its first year, The TreadRight Heritage Initiative lends its support to the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. Together, TreadRight and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise will support ancient cultural traditions that preserve the unique richness and diversity of people and place. Through this partnership, TreadRight has created a small grants program for artisan enterprises.

E-DOCUMENTS: Insight also introduces valued guests to another important step of their continuing journey of integrating sustainable best practices with the introduction of e-documents with the goal of reducing their environmental footprint. As part of this important e-documents initiative, they have partnered with One Tree Planted, a leading not-for-profit organization focused on global reforestation.
As a leading global travel company, Insight Vacations has the opportunity to positively impact the destinations in which they operate. they believe that it is their responsibility to ensure that the world’s natural habitats, cultural heritage sites, and communities they interact with remain healthy and vibrant.

WHY GO COACH? Coach travel has been proven to reduce congestion and create less pollution per passenger kilometre than any other form of transport. Coach travel creates approximately 85% less CO2 per passenger kilometre than car and air travel, and nearly 40% less CO2 per passenger kilometre than rail travel. The Insight Vacations coach fleet is among the most efficient in Europe, complying with EU emissions standards. Over the past two decades EU emissions standards have made it so that Euro Emissions 6 registered vehicles create up to 97% less particulate emissions and 95% less nitrogen oxide emissions than those vehicles meeting previous Euro Emissions standards.

CARBON OFFSETTING: As part of their continuing sustainability journey, they feel it’s increasingly important to provide guests and their team with the necessary tools and information to allow them to make responsible travel choices whenever possible. With this in mind, they are now happy to provide opportunities to carbon offset a travel experience. If you’re looking to offset your carbon footprint for an upcoming or previous travel experience, their not-for-profit TreadRight has identified two leading carbon offset programs – Conservation International Carbon Fund, myclimate, The Nature Conservancy, and Rainforest Concern – Forest Credits – that provide travellers with a number of ways in which to offset travel experiences and a variety of carbon offset projects to choose from.

THE WILDLIFE INITIATIVE: As part of its continuing dedication to sustainable efforts, TreadRight, with support from Insight Vacations, launched the TreadRight Wildlife Initiative. The Wildlife Initiative, delivered in partnership with leading wildlife conservation organizations such as the Wilderness Foundation – Africa and Wildlife SOS – India. Flourishing wildlife populations are crucial to healthy ecosystems and central to many unforgettable travel experiences. Destinations across the planet are often defined by their iconic animals and many local populations are dependent on a robust ecosystem to make a living. However, wildlife crimes like poaching and animal exploitation threaten to harm to these innocent creatures and even wipe entire species off the face of the Earth. Through its support of its Wildlife Initiative partners, TreadRight is helping to fight poaching and ensure animal welfare and safety by combatting the illegal wildlife trade on multiple fronts, raising awareness and education, and defending vulnerable animals.

Micato’s non-profit arm, AmericaShare, was founded over 20 years ago. Dedicated to helping populations in Nairobi, Kenya who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, AmericaShare has made a tremendous impact by providing a bridge between children and women in need and people wishing to make a meaningful difference in Africa.

Micato-AmericaShare recently became the proud recipient of the 2017 World Tourism Award for its “30 years of philanthropic work that has improved the lives of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable African children through the gift of education.”

The Micato One for One Commitment: Micato Safaris will match every safari it sells with payment of all school fees for a child in need…a child who would otherwise stay home due to extreme poverty. For every safari they sell, they send a child to school.

School Beyond Reach: A staggering 62,000 children in the Mukuru slum, ranging in age from six to sixteen, cannot attend school on a consistent basis. In principle, primary education is free in Kenya, but in reality there are burdensome fees involved. Families are expected to pay for their child’s desk, uniforms, books, supplies, and term exams, as well as help cover the costs of firewood and salaries for lunch cooks. In short, much more than families living in extreme poverty could ever hope to afford. So children stay home.

During the summer of 2009, Dennis and Joy Pinto were visiting Mukuru’s Kwa Njenga government primary school, which resulted in their commitment to revitalize the school’s barren library as well as completely build another library for the people of Mukuru. But they knew that they wanted to do more. The question of how to structure an educational initiative for government schools was pondered.

A few months later the Pintos heard Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes present his company’s One for One programme, which gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Mycoskie so inspired the Pintos that by lunchtime they were mapping out the concept, and their One for One education commitment was born.

Deep Roots: Micato and Education: More than 30 years ago, Micato employee Lorna Macleod was approached by a small boy in a Nairobi shopping center. He was going from person to person with a note from his headmaster stating that he needed to raise 600 shillings–about $15–to buy a uniform before being allowed in school. Macleod read the note and handed the boy the entire 600 shillings. Overwhelmed, he gazed at the bundle of banknotes and whispered a tearful “God Bless You” before dashing away. That chance encounter sparked an insight. Micato was the perfect bridge between children in need and kindhearted safari travellers wishing to help. So Micato gave that bridge a name: AmericaShare. And together, Micato-AmericaShare has been helping to change lives for the better ever since.

Serving the Children of Mukuru for More Than 30 Years …and Counting: Micato-AmericaShare has been working with the people of the Mukuru slum for a quarter century from the thriving Community Centre they built there, which offers myriad life-changing programmes for women and children. Their deep roots in the community also serves their One for One Commitment well, allowing them to identify and reach the poorest families who do not send their children to school for lack of funds.

They also send hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children to quality boarding schools through their School Sponsorship Programme — children without parents or stable families, for whom boarding school is the only solution. These children are sponsored by generous Micato travellers, and in the process, profound and lifelong bonds of love and dedication are formed between sponsor and child. They are proudly graduating our university students who have been sponsored since early primary school!

A Safari Taken. A Child’s Life Changed: Your safari makes it possible for Micato to create a wonderfully sustainable business of charity. It’s inspiring. Moreover, it’s simply the right thing to do. Every child deserves an education. Micato is overjoyed to be contributing to this inalienable right.

Natural Habitat Adventures, or NHA, was the World’s First 100-Percent Carbon-Neutral Travel Company. They know their guests care deeply about our planet. So do they, and when you travel with NHA, they will offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions from your trip. They are also proud to feature Nat Hab Philanthropy—their non-profit arm that supports conservation-focused causes.
NHA is World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Travel Partner: Because of their commitment to environmentally friendly travel and the exceptional quality of their worldwide adventures, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)—the world’s leading conservation organization—has selected NHA as its exclusive conservation travel partner, a relationship that began in 2003. When you travel with NHA and WWF, you become an integral force for change in addressing the planet’s most pressing conservation challenges. Your tourism dollars help transform the future of at-risk natural places, flowing to local communities who live with and steward nature, creating jobs and improving livelihoods. Your presence becomes a powerful incentive for communities to protect their natural resources, making wildlife worth more alive than dead, and wild lands worth more intact than degraded.
As “The Nature People,” NHA’s product is conservation travel: life-transforming forays into the natural world that benefit wild habitats and the animals and people who live there. Their travel adventures provide unparalleled access to the planet’s most extraordinary wildlife, landscapes, and cultures. They know travel has the power to protect nature, benefit communities, and preserve cultural heritage—principles they view not only as their goal, but their responsibility.

Since Natural Habitat Adventures was founded in 1985, they have been a global leader in sustainable travel and ecotourism. Led by a team of passionate conservationists, their commitment to these principles runs deep within their company ethos and is manifest throughout their office and field operations. They’re proud to have initiated a number of “industry firsts,” and they continue to push their company and their partners to be sustainability leaders.

A Bold Commitment: NHA is committed to being the leader in the field of conservation travel. They realize that being first in the area of conservation and sustainability is a bold and costly move, but it’s a challenge they are enthusiastic to tackle.

A Holistic Approach: NHA believes that sustainability must be approached from every angle of their operations. From their head office in Boulder, Colorado, to their polar bear field operations in northern Canada, from their lodging choices in Africa to the communities supported by their philanthropic initiatives, they’re scrutinizing every aspect of their business and supply chain to find opportunities for improvement.

Raising the Bar on Conservation and Ecotourism: Cutting-edge conservation projects five years ago may be standard practice now. While NHA is proud of their accomplishments, to achieve their goal of leading the industry, they must innovate, collaborate, and constantly push themselves to raise sustainability standards internally and across the industry.

Inspiring Others: NHA’s goal isn’t simply to be the most culturally and environmentally responsible tour operator in the world, but to challenge other travel-related businesses to raise their standards as well. They’ve worked closely with their partners to share their successes and failures, and they regularly participate in industry conferences to promote best practices. If they can inspire others—partners and competitors alike (as well as their guests, of course)—to raise their sustainability standards, then they’ve achieved our most important goal.

Train for Heroes
Every year, Rocky Mountaineer celebrates people and organizations who give selflessly to positively impact the lives of others. They invite these heroes onboard the train with their families for an unforgettable experience in Western Canada, created with the support of their partners. These heroes spend quality time connecting with loved ones and making memories to last a lifetime.

This year, they welcome good samaritans and unsung heroes from Fort McMurray who selflessly supported their community during its time of need. From the initial evacuation, to ongoing efforts to rebuild the community, these are regular people who are making a real difference in lives of others. Rocky Mountaineer extends profound admiration to these heroes, and they thank the Canadian Red Cross, local municipality, and other local organizations for connecting them.


Trafalgar and parent company The Travel Corporation understand that travel matters; it allows you to explore the world and gain a deeper understanding of each destination, its history and culture, through enriching experiences. They also recognize that it is their responsibility to help protect the places their clients visit and take care of the world around us.

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, The TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities that their clients visit remain vibrant and preserved for generations to come. Trafalgar is proud to be an active founder and supporter of TreadRight’s projects and work.

TreadRight’s guiding principle is to encourage sustainable tourism development through conservation, leadership and support for communities. They encourage each of their partners to use this principle to guide all of their actions, whether at their regional offices or when taking guests around the world. By providing grants to organizations that encourage sustainability in different destinations, they hope to maintain the natural attractions across the world that define each unique region. Foundation priorities are set by the Steering Committee, which includes sustainability leaders like Céline Cousteau and Costas Christ.

TreadRight’s past project partners include WWF and Conservation International. Current initiatives include sponsoring the National Geographic Society’s inaugural “World Legacy Awards,” WildAid and inspiring wildlife advocates like Terri Irwin.

Environmental initiatives:
Proudly using 100% recycled paper: Trafalgar, alongside The Travel Corporation family of companies, uses one of the most environmentally-friendly, 100% recycled coated-papers available for all their brochures, catalogues and marketing materials. Some of the positive impacts of this include saving more than 90,000 trees per year, reducing landfill waste, and reducing the energy required to make paper from primary fibres by one-fifth.
Fuel-efficient coaches: Coach travel has been proven to have substantial environmental benefits, including reducing congestion and causing less pollution per passenger kilometre than any other transportation option. Coaches have been proven to emit fewer greenhouse gases on a per-passenger basis than either train or car travel.*Trafalgar’s coach fleet is among the best in Europe and complies with EU emissions standards either V or VI, which are the most efficient engines currently available.

The Travel Corporation participates in Smart Move, an industry initiative promoting the enhanced use of coaches worldwide to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50 million tonnes per year.
Do your bit: There are many things we can all do in our day-to-day lives to minimize our environmental impact – both at home and while travelling. TreadRight has compiled a list of ideas and suggestions for all travelers. Take a moment to learn about some simple actions you can take to reduce your impact and do your bit.
The National Trust: Trafalgar continues to support the National Trust in the UK – an independent charity that works to protect and preserve historic houses, gardens, monuments, and ancient ruins.To date, they’ve supported:

⦁ The build of a state-of-the-art visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO Heritage site in Northern Ireland.

⦁ The safeguarding of the iconic White Cliffs of Dover – one of several National Trust sites to feature on their itineraries.

⦁ The preservation of the 18th-century Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, England.

⦁ The conservation of Quarry Bank Mill is the latest National Trust project we’ve contributed towards.

⦁ Quarry Bank Mill is considered one of the most important mills in the world. Despite the Trust owning the site since 1939, key aspects of the property were in private ownership until 2006 and 2012, preventing them from telling the complete story. The National Trust is fundraising to develop the whole site and to open it to the public, helping visitors to understand what it would have been like to live during the industrial revolution.

At Global Escapes, we are proud of our efforts to partner with responsible travel companies. Ready to give back while you travel? Set up a consultation online to get you on your way!

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