VOLUNTOURISM, A FAIRLY NEW TERM, refers to tourism that includes a volunteer or philanthropic component. Its popularity continues to grow thanks to heightened awareness about environmental issues. LGBTQ+ travelers are among those who find an increasingly diverse array of options, making it easy to take part in gay-friendly, eco-friendly, volunteer-oriented vacations that prove both enjoyable and rewarding.
REI Adventures, a company that promotes inclusivity and supports events like the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit, offers a series of volunteer vacations in a number of far-reaching destinations. Participants can help repair and maintain trails in places like Yosemite, Alaska and Patagonia; assist with archaeological restoration and the removal of invasive species at Machu Picchu; and work to preserve sea turtles in the Galápagos Islands. REI reports registration surged some 40 percent over the past year.
Hands Up Holidays offers what it calls “luxury voluntourism” options in several destinations popular with LGBTQ+ travelers. In New Zealand, for example, visitors work with penguin conservation programs; in Thailand, groups work to protect elephants and their habitats; and in San Francisco, participants help to restore native plant and animal habitats.
The state of California, in fact, offers a surprising number of voluntourism options in or near gay-popular vacation destinations. At Catalina Island, travelers can join voluntourism programs with the Catalina Conservancy, which offers everything from one-day to week-long experiences that include beach cleanups and native planting initiatives. Scuba divers can even join an unde rwater cleanup that removes trash from Avalon Harbor.
Travelers looking to combine volunteer activities with pampering might consider heading to Miami Beach, where The Palms Hotel & Spa has a two-night Do Good, Feel Good offer. The program includes participation in beach cleanups in partnership with International Coastal Cleanup, an organization that collects millions of pounds of trash every year with the help of nearly 800,000 volunteers. The hotel offer also includes a daily breakfast buffet, a stand-up paddleboarding lesson and a $50 per-person credit at the Aveda spa. After all, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel good after you do good.
Banyan Tree Group recently announced its first-ever expansion into Japan with five new properties across four concepts. The hospitality group’s partnership with Wealth Management Group saw Dhawa Yura and Garrya Nijo Castle launch in June, with two more properties slated to open now through 2026. Another partnership with Terraform Capital sees plans to build Cassia, a property in the ski resort of Niseko.
American Airlines Mobile ID creates a more seamless, touchless travel experience for American Airlines customers with TSA PreCheck. Recently started at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, AAdvantage members with PreCheck can use Mobile ID at selected checkpoints to verify their identity. AA plans to deploy the technology at Miami (MIA), Phoenix (PHX), Washington, D.C. (DCA) and more later this year.
Much of the global business travel industry has already made sustainable business travel a priority with a focus on reducing emissions and their environmental footprint. But the industry, as well as external stakeholders, such as policymakers, recognize more needs to be done.
First opened in 1742 by George William Wilton, a seller of oysters, shrimp and cockles near Haymarket in London, Wiltons continued drawing diners with its delicious food for more than two centuries. This summer, Wiltons celebrates its 280th birthday and its place as one of London’s most beloved fine-dining establishments with a unique dining experience.
PONANT recently announced a new collaboration with Smithsonian Journeys for a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Led by two Smithsonian Journeys experts, such as an art historian, solar astrophysicist or international relations expert, the 21 itineraries seek to deepen travelers’ immersion and knowledge of different destinations.
When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.
In honor of its 20th anniversary, Four Seasons Hotel Prague celebrates the beauty and eternity of this historic city with a limited-time stay offer. The Eternal Beauty offer includes a stay in one of the Premier River rooms, which boasts unique views of Prague, a limousine transfer and breakfast.