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.
Etihad Airways, in partnership with Norwegian technology developer Braathens IT, is working on TravelPass, targeted to business travelers as a subscription-based ticketing service.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Economy-class travelers may finally get the in-flight sleep they’ve been dreaming of thanks to a new lie-flat prototype sleep product recently unveiled by Air New Zealand.
British Airways trials a new automated cocktail maker in its San Francisco (SFO) and Newark (EWR) lounges. The automatic cocktail system dispenses cocktails in less than a minute. The system uses robotics to create more than 30 cocktails and customizable drinks, including favorites in British Airways lounges. The technology is featured in lounges open to British Airways first-class and Club World passengers.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Brussels Airlines is making Belgium travel easier with a new year-round route from Washington, D.C. (IAD).
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Las Vegas is poised to host one of hospitality’s most ambitious projects to date with the announcement Resorts World Las Vegas and Hilton will combine three premium Hilton brands into a single property.