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.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.