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Travelers’ Philanthropy – A Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development

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Travelers’ Philanthropy – A Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development

Travelers’ Philanthropy — literally travelers giving back to a destination — can be a strategy for sustainable tourism development if established and managed carefully.

The Washington, DC-based NGO, Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), has made this strategy a cornerstone of their mission. Each year CREST conducts a diverse and fascinating Traveler’s Philanthropy Conference that brings together a broad cross-section of stakeholders from the public sector, business world and civil society to discuss and report on best practices of leveraging traveler support for destinations, particularly in emerging markets. This year’s conference was in Costa Rica and produced a comprehensive set of workshop proceedings and reports on best practices.

A couple of presentations that particularly caught my attention were CREST Director Martha Honey’s presentation “Origins, Growth and Different Models” of Travelers’ Philanthropy and Program Director David Krantz’s “Readiness Checklist.”

Dr. Honey defines Travelers’ Philanthropy as “tourism businesses and travelers making concrete contributions of time, talent, or treasure. to local projects that is beyond what is generated through normal tourism business transactions.” She describes how tapping travelers’ generosity and care for the places they visit can be leveraged to the benefit of the destination and, at the same time, it can benefit the suppliers — the various businesses that provide tourism services to visitors. To read her full presentation, click here.

Krantz offers us a straightforward, no nonsense list of seven steps for the preparation of Travelers’ Philanthropy programs:

1) Know the area

2) Demonstrate good leadership

3) Invest in short corporate social responsibility projects

4) Assess the area

5) Scan potential projects

6) Develop agreements

7) Design a program

For more details and to download his full presentation, click here.

The full conference proceedings can be viewed and/or downloaded from the CREST website for the Conference.