Travel Philanthropy

Introduction to Travelers' Philanthropy
Make a Donation
Travelers Giving Back
Gift Cards
Best Practices

Travelers Giving Back
Sustainable Travel International is a leader in travelers' philanthropy, giving back programs and grassroots projects that make a difference.  Our focus is on attracting financial and in-kind support for sustainable development-oriented projects that help the environment and local people, and support community self-reliance. 

We offer a variety of programs and services that are designed specifically for travelers and travel companies that want to give back to the destinations they visit. Companies click here or contact us for more information. Travelers, read on ...

Make a Donation
Interested in protecting and positively impacting the people you've met and the destinations you've traveled to? Browse and select from more than 500 travel philanthropy projects around the world. Once you choose a project, you can contribute any amount, using a credit/debit card, check, or money order. Gift cards are also available, and gift registries can be set up for special events.

Your contributions directly support the entrepreneurial work of project leaders throughout the world, who are bringing innovative, empowering solutions to challenging social problems at the local community level.

A Little Giving that Goes a Long Way
Through our partnership with GlobalGiving, we enable you to donate to high-quality, high-impact projects. Taking this approach and giving directly enables more funding to reach the projects we offer. In fact, a full 90 percent of your donation goes directly to the projects you select, a significantly higher percentage than is typical for traditional aid channels. The net result? STI delivers a more transparent, engaging way for donors to give.

Because we enable donors to give directly to projects, you will know exactly where your money is going. The donations you make are higher impact because the money you donate goes directly to a well-defined project versus supporting general operating expenses. In addition, many of the projects we're featuring are located in the developing world where a little money goes a long way.

Introduction to Travelers' Philanthropy
There are a growing number of conscientious consumers and responsible travel companies who are donating financial resources, time, talent and economic patronage to protect and positively impact the cultures and environments they visit.

This voluntary movement is helping to support community development, biodiversity conservation, and other environmental, socio-cultural and economic improvements including providing jobs, educational and professional training opportunities, health care and environmental stewardship.

Why Travel Philanthropy?

Government budgets and international aid is decreasing in some developed and many undeveloped countries, increasing the level of need.
Protecting the environmental and socio-cultural needs of host countries strengthens relationships and improves business.
Almost 90% of the U.S. population state that it is important for companies to not just be profitable, but to be mindful of their impact on the environment and society (Source: Corporate Social Responsibility: Consumer Understanding and Influence, Natural Marketing Institute, 2005)
Industry leaders who have strong environmental and social values and ethics are pioneering the movement.

Growing movement toward corporate responsibility as it improves market differentiation and increases consumer demand

Attributes of Travel Philanthropy
Though many Travel Philanthropy programs are unrelated, most have similar attributes.

Most Travel Philanthropy programs have a focus on educating travelers about local environmental, socio-cultural and economic issues. They also encourage a constructive interaction between travelers, travel companies and the communities and local people who are being visited. By taking this approach, these programs help to inspire visitors to donate financial resources or time where it's most needed.

Successful projects also determine the needs of local and indigenous people while empowering them to help manage funding resources for community development and conservation initiatives. Often, this means establishing partnerships between travelers and the tourism industry as well as non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies, complimenting their international development and aid programs.

The Importance of Travel Philanthropy
More than 500 million people travel for leisure each year and there is an increasing demand for travel as remote corners of the world become increasingly accessible.

Among the most severe environmental effects of travel are pollution, intensified or unsustainable use of land, the depletion of natural resources, and alteration of ecosystems. Host communities can also be adversely affected. Loss of indigenous identity and values, resource use conflicts, cultural deterioration, and land-use disputes are among the many challenges host communities face.

Travel and tourism clearly contribute to globalization. However, if estimates are accurate, charitable giving by Americans alone could exceed $300 billion annually by 2020, providing a real opportunity to reduce the economic inequalities that exist in the world today.

Best Practices
Copies of Sustainable Travel International’s Best Practices in Travel Philanthropy manuals can be downloaded here: Tour Operator manual, Accommodations manual. For additional information or to have copies of the manuals emailed to you, call (800) 276-7764 or email

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