Philanthropic Travel

Over the last decades, tourism has exploded into a booming industry. Families and individuals across the world often measure their quality of life in relation to their time spent on holiday. Hard-earned savings are spent on the days or few weeks spent in “exotic” places, enjoying the natural and cultural resources of the area.

As travelers and holidaymakers, how often have we stopped to ask ourselves what lasting footprints do we leave behind in the places we visit?

Tourism is largely considered a boost to the host country economy. Tourists bring foreign currency into the country, businesses are boosted and tourism can help motivate preservation and conservation of unique cultural, natural, and historic resources.

However, when badly managed, tourism can also destroy environmental and cultural distinctiveness, perpetuate great disparities in wealth, and limit education.

Geotourism” is the new buzz-word in the tourism industry. The term was coined by National Geographic senior editor Jonathan Tourtellot and his wife Sally Bensusen, in response to requests for a term and concept more encompassing than ecotourism and sustainable tourism.

Geotourism is defined as: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place-its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Taking it a step further, National Geographic in collaboration with Ashoka Changemakers, have set up The GeoTourism Challenge.

The goal of the Geotourism Challenge is to identify and showcase innovators – individuals and organizations – that support geotourism and present remarkable examples of innovation that demonstrate ways for tourism to do the most good and the least harm.

Deadline for entry was 16 April. The so far 210 applications will be shortlisted by a panel of judges, and on 28 May, the public is invited to vote and comment on the finalists.

Travel philanthropy offers a truly meaningful element to travel and a valuable culture exchange that ultimately deepens global social consciousness.

They say a change is as good as a holiday – perhaps it’s time for your holiday to make a change!?


4 Responses to “Philanthropic Travel”

  1. 1 Philanthropic Travel April 19, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Marc Gold was set on the path he now travels when he was just a child, when his father, photographer Albert Gold, explained “the meaning of life.” He took the 8-year-old into the bathroom and had him look in the mirror. Gold recounts the conversation:

    Albert: ”What do you see?’
    Marc: ‘I see myself.’
    Albert: ‘Okay. How old will you be in 70 years?’
    Marc: ’78.’
    Albert: ‘Okay, when you are 78 years old, look in the mirror again and ask yourself one question, because by then your life will be almost over: ‘Did you live a life that made this a better world or not? Very simple. If the answer is yes, I am proud of you, and if not, I am disappointed.’
    Marc: ‘But how am I going to make this a better world?’
    Albert: ‘That’s your job. You figure it out.’

    Learn More:

  2. 2 Changemakers June 3, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Ashoka’s Changemakers and National Geographic Need Your Vote: Select the World’s Most Innovative Uses of Geotourism

    Join Ashoka’s Changemakers and National Geographic in the Geotourism Challenge, a worldwide search for leading innovations that help destinations benefit from tourism while protecting the assets that make these places special. Transformative ideas have poured in from 84 countries that demonstrate ways for tourism to do the most good and the least harm.

    Now it’s your turn: Log onto and select your three favorites from the 15 finalists by June 11. All finalists are invited to attend the National Geographic and Ashoka’s Changemakers Change Summit in Fall 2008, and the three winners will receive $5,000 each.

    Your voice is vital. Vote today!

  1. 1 Besser Reisen « de Trackback on April 18, 2008 at 10:44 pm
  2. 2 Besser Reisen | Neuigkeiten-Blog Trackback on September 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

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