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Responsible Travel Report The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter: Vol. 5, No. 4 April 2007

by Sustainable Travel International — last modified Jan 10, 2013 08:03 AM
Contributors: rhessmiller
Copyright ©2007 Sustainable Travel International. All Rights Reserved
A Message from STI; Climate Corner: Carbon Neutral Travel; Carbon Scuba Diving Calculator; New Credit Card Works to Reduce Climate Change and Increase Support of Green Businesses; Leading Hotels of the World Addresses Global Warming with STI; Leading Peruvian Tourism Company Becomes Carbon Neutral; Helping Indigenous Peoples Benefit From Philanthropy; ATTA Unveils Benchmark 2006 Adventure Travel Practices and Trends Report; Green Tip: Greener Putting Greens Are we for or against a greener golf game? Conferences and Continuing Education

Vol. 5, No. 4 April 2007


Donate to STI

In this Issue ::


A Message from STI


Climate Corner: Carbon Neutral Travel 


Leading Hotels of the World Addresses Global Warming with STI


Leading Peruvian Tourism Company Becomes Carbon Neutral


Helping Indigenous Peoples Benefit From Philanthropy


ATTA Unveils Benchmark 2006 Adventure Travel Practices and Trends Report


Receive a Free STI T-shirt


Green Tip: Greener Putting Greens


Conferences and Continuing Education


Support STI

Carbon Neutral
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Eco-directory ::

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Responsible Travel Report
The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter

A Message from STI

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Earth Day 2007 saw numerous successes on the global warming front in the travel and tourism industry.  Delta Air Lines, for example, announced its plans to launch a worldwide carbon offset program this summer and Orbitz announced that it’s going green.

Given our mandate to help travelers and tourism providers protect the places they visit by engaging in sustainable travel, at STI Earth Day really is every day. As a result, we’d like to take this opportunity to share several groundbreaking announcements with you that highlight what we’ve been up to.  Over the course of the last month, we’ve launched or helped launch:

• One of the first Credit Card in the U.S. that helps prevent Climate Change with every purchase;

• The world’s first Scuba Diving Carbon ‘Finprint’ and Carbon Scuba Diving Calculator;

• The Leading Green Initiative in conjunction with The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., the largest global luxury hotel brand; and

• Peru ’s First Climate Friendly Tour Operator

In addition, STI now offers comprehensive climate mitigation advisory services. Whether you need assistance assessing your carbon footprint, developing a comprehensive plan for reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, greening an event, or implementing a carbon offset program, we can help.

We’ve recently worked with the likes of Marriott Hotels, Virtuoso, Vail Resorts, several major airlines, and hundreds of small travel and tourism related companies, and we would welcome the opportunity to assist your business.

Please contact us for more information.

Eco regards,

Brian T. Mullis


Climate Corner: Carbon Neutral Travel 

A lot of action has occurred along the front lines of the battle against global warming.  And, we’re happy to see so much positive movement within our own industry.  Please read on …

Carbon Scuba Diving Calculator

In addition to offsetting your personal automobile use, air travel, hotel stays, etc. through our on-line carbon calculator, you can now offset your scuba diving trips.  STI recently launched the first Scuba Diving Carbon Calculator and helped both Ocean Frontiers and Beautiful Oceans become two of the first climate friendly dive operators in the world. A huge kudos to Grand Cayman dive operator Ocean Frontiers for initiating this program!

New Credit Card Works to Reduce Climate Change and Increase Support of Green Businesses

We are also extremely proud to introduce the planet’s first credit card that helps reduce climate change with every purchase and offers customers discounts from green businesses – the ReDirect Guide Visa. This is another great way ReDirect Guide makes living green and spending with intention as easy as possible.

After evaluating the carbon footprint associated with our daily lives, we decided we needed to offer a solution for everyone who wants to reduce the climate impact of their daily activities. With the ReDirect Guide Visa, a percentage of every one of your purchases goes to STI’s carbon offset programs, which helps to fund high impact renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the world.  By simply using this card for your everyday purchases, you can reduce your carbon footprint, help fight global warming and support STI all at the same time.  And you can feel good knowing this card was designed to be as responsible as possible – even the issuing bank was carefully chosen for their commitment to sustainability.

STI is pleased to be the carbon offset partner chosen by ReDirect Guide for this creative new card program. The ReDirect Guides are comprehensive regional green business directories and resource guides that present consumers with a full spectrum of choices for more healthy and sustainable living. They are currently available online and in print versions in three regions: the Portland-Vancouver metro area, the Greater Salt Lake City-Park City region, and the Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins region.

ShoreBank Pacific
, the first FDIC-insured commercial bank in the U.S. with a commitment to environmentally sustainable community development, is ReDirect’s banking partner*.

For more information or to apply for the credit card directly, click here.

*ShoreBank Pacific has partnered with TCM Bank (Total Card Management) to issue the ReDirect Guide Visa Card. TCM is owned by ICBA Bancard, a subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Leading Hotels of the World Addresses Global Warming with STI

The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. - the largest global luxury hotel brand - has officially launched the Leading Green Initiative.  This innovative program will enable and encourage guests to make a conscious decision toward greener travel by actively supporting STI.  The Leading Green Initiative features a carbon neutral program whereby The Leading Hotels of the World will directly absorb the cost to offset guests’ energy consumption for stays at any of its 440 hotels worldwide.  

The Leading Hotels of the World makes a donation of 50 to STI for every night of a guest’s stay when their reservation is made through, or when ‘Leading Green’ is mentioned to any one of their worldwide voice reservations centers. The investment per guest represents 29.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity supplied by new wind and solar power, which equates to 33.7 pounds of greenhouse gas emission reductions. In addition, guests booking reservations on the organization’s web site have the option to offset their travel and other lifestyle-related emissions through a custom carbon calculator.

The carbon neutral program is the first program offered through the Leading Green Initiative features.  The Leading Hotels of the World and STI are evaluating a number of other programs, including sustainable tourism certification, travel philanthropy, and the potential implementation of environmental management systems by Leading Hotels.

Leading Peruvian Tourism Company Becomes Carbon Neutral

In honor of Earth Day 2007, Peruvian hotelier and tour operator Inkaterra has become the first carbon neutral travel provider in Peru. In doing so, Inkaterra is offsetting all hotel guest stays as well as its own business operations, including transportation, electricity consumption and waste generation through STI. This compliments Inkaterra’s pre-existing effort to combine conservation in the Amazon with the fight against global warming. In addition, Inkaterra is offering the option for guests to offset their flights through their own custom carbon calculator, which was developed by STI.

Specializing in eco-friendly boutique hotels near the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, in the Sacred Valley and in the Peruvian Amazon, Inkaterra caters to 45,000 visitors per year. Since developing the first eco-lodge in the southern Peruvian rainforest in 1975, Inkaterra continues to integrate sustainable business practices into all aspects of its operations. Through its c onservation programs, for example, Inkaterra protects 12,000 thousand hectares of Amazon forest, which contributes to global carbon fixing. Since 1989, in cooperation with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the UK’s Leeds University, the company has established four permanent plots to assess the role of its forest as a global carbon dioxide sink. Results suggest that the forests provide a substantial buffer against global climate change.

In addition, Inkaterra actively supports energy efficiency, obtains renewable energy from hydroelectric plants, promotes recycling, and offers conservation education campaigns to local, neighboring communities. Inkaterra has also partnered with STI to offset unavoidable emissions through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries. Through these combined efforts Inkaterra has become the first carbon neutral tourism company in Peru for its own internal business operations, hotels and tours. 

As one of the leading and most influential tourism companies in Peru, Inkaterra is taking the lead in sustainability and the fight against global warming. The company is proving that you can successfully create a world-class product and a unique entrepreneurial model of nature-based conservation that’s profitable.

For more information or to learn more about Inkaterra’s commitment to sustainability, please visit their listing in STI's Eco-Directory, email them, call (800)442-5042,or visit their website or their new carbon calculator.

Helping Indigenous Peoples Benefit From Philanthropy

by Rebecca Adamson, Founder and President, First Peoples Worldwide

Indigenous Peoples are the poorest, most marginalized, and disenfranchised people in the world. Though well connected to their lands, their connection to the global community is much more tenuous.


Indigenous Peoples have a combined population that is greater than that of the entire United State s and live in more than ninety countries, yet they are invisible to most of the developed world. And because of that invisibility, they are often overlooked by those who are committed to making the world a better place. As a result, Indigenous Peoples miss out on funding streams that could be utilized in their own communities for capacity building, economic development, conservation management, and public health improvements.

Asset Stripping

Indigenous Peoples derive their sustenance, identity, and wealth from their ancestral lands. Yet these same lands are coveted by governments in pursuit of revenue, corporations in need of raw materials, and conservationists who desire to protect the rapidly diminishing biodiversity of the earth. Indigenous Peoples' territories encompass 80 percent of the last remaining biodiversity-rich wilderness areas and most of the major conservation priorities at the beginning of the 21st century. Unfortunately, conservationists and environmental NGOs routinely carve protected areas out of indigenous lands without notice to or consulting with the inhabitants of those lands. As their lands are stripped, Indigenous Peoples' sources of food, trade, and traditional medicine are taken away and their very livelihoods threatened, putting them at increased risk of poverty, disease, social unrest, and, in some cases, cultural extinction.

The single unifying issue facing Indigenous Peoples everywhere is how to protect their territories and stop "asset stripping." Addressing this issue is a priority for First Peoples Worldwide .


Many of those who give to conservation programs do so out of a desire to preserve the world's diverse animal and plant life, and to preserve wilderness areas. Most are not aware, however, of the unintended consequences of their efforts. Indeed, if they were aware that 90 percent of the world's cultural diversity originates from Indigenous Peoples, and that conservation efforts are endangering that diversity and driving indigenous cultures to extinction, they would demand changes in conservation programs. One of the ways in which First Peoples Worldwide is advocating for change is to demand parity of funding for indigenous-led conservation projects.

To invest in indigenous conservation efforts makes sense for many reasons. Indigenous Peoples are already living on these lands and have managed them for centuries, even millennia. Indigenous Peoples are also natural stewards of the land, and are capable and willing to manage their territories at costs that are substantially lower than the costs incurred by conventional conservation groups. And, perhaps most importantly, their well-being is directly tied to ecosystem conservation.


Millions of philanthropic dollars are spent every year on efforts to improve the health of people in developing countries. Yet recent findings indicate that Indigenous Peoples' physical, mental, and emotional well-being is directly linked to the security of their land tenure.

According to articles published in The Lancet in May and June 2006, Indigenous Peoples suffer from many of the same illnesses as non-indigenous peoples but have higher rates of endemic diseases such as yaws and leprosy. At the same time, maternal mortality among Indigenous Peoples is three to four times higher than among non-indigenous peoples, while infant mortality is two-and-a-half times to six times higher.

As bad as the situation is, however, the studies showed that illnesses among Indigenous Peoples increase exponentially if they are evicted from their lands and moved to resettlement camps. The articles also reported that increased alcoholism and violence was linked to resettlement and evictions, and that social problems such as fighting and assaults increase with evictions.

Allowing Indigenous Peoples to remain on their lands helps them maintain access to the medicinal plants and remedies they have used for centuries to maintain their health. In addition, providing technical assistance and training for Indigenous Peoples to increase their capacity to develop economically in ways that align with their cultures helps to avoid some of the social and health-related problems associated with poverty, including alcoholism, spousal abuse, drug use, and family breakdown. Improving Indigenous Peoples' economic situation also helps overcome barriers to obtaining health care, including access to modern medical facilities and treatments.

Government and Legal Programs Have Failed

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1993 as the "Year of the World's Indigenous People," and starting in December 1994 proclaimed the "International Decade of the World's Indigenous People." The goal was to strengthen international cooperation in solving problems faced by Indigenous Peoples in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education, and health. Unfortunately, the proclamations did not bear fruit in terms of poverty reduction or better health for Indigenous Peoples. In fact, the UN High Commissioner reported that "no gains were made in income or poverty reduction during the Indigenous Peoples Decade (1994-2004)."

In 2004, the UN General Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. Once again, the goal was to further the "strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people." The new proclamation added culture and social and economic development to the list of problems. While directives like this and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are valuable first steps, by themselves they will not foster the positive changes that are made possible by investing in indigenous capacity building and leadership.

Indigenous Peoples Need World Links

One of the reasons these high-level approaches to the protection of Indigenous Peoples' interests have been ineffective is that while there is organization by Indigenous Peoples at the local, regional, and international levels, the organizations themselves lack linkages.

First Peoples Worldwide is well positioned to act as an intermediary between different indigenous organizations. We are more readily accepted by indigenous groups because we are indigenous-led ourselves and engage with those groups on many fronts — from direct contact with remote communities for data collection purposes to attending important conferences such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as presenters.

First Peoples Worldwide also has developed the Indigenous Stewardship Initiative and Fund. In addition to providing networking and training opportunities for indigenous conservation practitioners throughout the world, we offer small grants of approximately $5000 to $50,000 to indigenous communities. These funds in turn support indigenous stewardship at various levels of design and implementation through technical assistance and direct support. The end result is that Indigenous Peoples are able to use traditional conservation knowledge passed down from generation to generation for better biodiversity management.

Parity of Funding

There is little reliable data about funding for Indigenous Peoples, but anecdotal evidence suggests that very little goes directly to communities for capacity building and leadership initiatives — the very things needed by these communities if they are to control and effectively develop their assets. During the 1990s, for example, grants from the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank, and USAID for biodiversity conservation totaled around $2.4 billion. But preliminary research by First Peoples Worldwide could not identify a single indigenous community that received a grant from any of those sources.

First Peoples Worldwide is involved in making systemic change that will enhance Indigenous Peoples' ability to secure grants. We are working on an assessment for the World Bank that will explore the reason behind Indigenous Peoples' lack of access to international funding. We are also working on ways to design development projects so they have a significant positive impact on the communities they affect. To that end, we recently completed a report for USAID that applies our "Elements of Development" framework to the planning and implementation and/or evaluation of a project. Among other things, the study found that development programs which incorporated these elements were more likely to have a successful outcome than programs that were developed without them. USAID is widely distributing the report, Okiciyab, Promoting Best Practices in Indigenous Community Development, and has made it available to its grantees.

An important goal of effective philanthropy is trying to achieve maximum lasting benefit with minimum output — spending a little to gain a lot. As we have seen, the principle of "first, do no harm" also applies. Indigenous Peoples represent skills, languages, practices, customs, and knowledge the global community cannot afford to lose. We should make every effort to ensure that the projects we support with our philanthropic dollars do not produce unintended harm to people and communities that are already marginalized and in danger of losing the connection they value most.

The Indigenous Stewardship Initiative

First Peoples Worldwide welcomes all travelers to support the Indigenous Stewardship Initiative and help preserve the remaining 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, which is found on Indigenous lands. Contact First Peoples Worldwide at (540) 899-6545 to donate or volunteer.

About the Author:
Rebecca Adamson , a Cherokee, is founder and president of the First Nations Development Institute (1980) and founder of First Peoples Worldwide (1997). She has worked directly with grassroots tribal communities and nationally as an advocate for local tribal issues since 1970. Adamson holds a masters in science in economic development from Southern New Hampshire University (formerly New Hampshire College) in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she also teaches a graduate course on indigenous economics within the Community Economic Development Program. She also sits on the board of the Calvert Social Investment Fund, the largest socially responsible mutual fund in the world, serves on the Calvert Group governance committee, and co-chairs the Calvert Social Investment Fund audit committee.

Please note
that this commentary first appeared in Philanthropy News Digest (c) 2007 Foundation Center.”

ATTA Unveils Benchmark 2006 Adventure Travel Practices and Trends Report

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) continues to tackle initiatives that better the active and adventure travel segment of the travel and tourism industry and grow it in a sustainable manner. The organization released its first annual 2006 Adventure Travel Industry Survey, Practices and Trends, report last quarter.

Responsible and sustainable business practices, travelers’ destination preferences, and sales channel data represent just a few valuable data points revealed in the 50+ page, first-of-its-kind survey. Customer profile information, common practices in marketing, staffing, sales, certifications, risk management training, and related information considered valuable in developing effective operations also are contained in the benchmark results.

ATTA’s Practices and Trends report contains business responses to more than 70 questions and is specifically designed to contain information from and for tour operators and adventure travel accommodations worldwide. The report was built from 2005 and 2006 data from more than 220 companies representing 35 countries and more than 3.6 million customer ‘user days’ (i.e., the number of days customers are booked for a tourist experience with the operator/lodge).

The report is available at no cost to ATTA Members and to those organizations who participated in the survey. Click here to view membership options. Non-members may purchase the digital report for $195 by contacting the ATTA at 1-866-411-3131 (U.S./Canada) or 1-360-805-3131 (outside the U.S.).

Receive a Free STI T-shirt


As a thank you gift for donations of $50 or more, you can now receive a limited-edition, 100% organic cotton STI t-shirt printed using eco-friendly, water-based inks. Anyone worldwide is eligible to receive a free t-shirt (the back of which is pictured below) for donating $50 or more to STI beginning April 30, 2007.  Please allow two to four weeks for delivery.

Please note that to receive a free t-shirt, your donation for $50 or more must be received at one time, as we’re unable to tally donations made at different times through different channels.

There are three easy ways to make your donation - by mail, online, or phone.

By mail: Checks and money orders should be made payable to “Sustainable Travel International.” Please mail all checks/money orders to:

Sustainable Travel International

2885 May Street

Hood River, OR 97031

Online: Donations can be made online

By Phone: Call 1-720-273-2975.

Green Tip: Greener Putting Greens

Are we for or against a greener golf game?

The Bite:   Obviously, the answer's a resounding "Fore!" In a stroke of genius, courses and gear companies alike are going green, so Biters can be eco-friendly without sacrificing their sport.

The Benefits: Click here to learn about the benefits of a greener golf game.

Submit a Green Tip:
Do you have any green tips? If so, submit them to us, and our friends at Ideal Bite will include you name along with the tip in their e-Newsletter and on their website.

Sign up for the Ideal Bite: By joining the Ideal Bite community, each weekday you'll receive an eco-living tip.

Conferences and Continuing Education

Upcoming conferences, events and continuing education opportunities include:

  • Organized by The International Ecotourism Society, Ecotourism Norway, and The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Global Ecotourism Conference 2007 will be held in Oslo, Norway on May 14-16.
  • LOHAS 11 will be held at the Marriott Marina del Rey in California from May 14th-16th. This is the premiere business event on the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market. The Forum brings together the decision makers of business and media to build innovative relations and share insights into the expanding market that serves values based consumers.
  • The 4th IIPT African Conference on Peace through Tourism will be held in Kampala, Uganda, from May 20-25. The Conference program will include concurrent sessions and workshops with presentations of 'Success Stories' and 'Models of Best Practice.' An Educators Forum, Youth Leadership Forum and for the first time - a Traditional Leaders Forum, will also be integral to the Conference.
  • The theme of CTO's 9th Caribbean Conference On Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-9) is Health and Wellness: Communities, Environments & Economies. STC-9 will be held May 21-24, 2007, at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa in Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands.
  • The 6th International Symposium on Aspects of Tourism - Gazing, Glancing, Glimpsing: Tourists and Tourism in a Visual World - will be held at the University of Brighton, Eastbourne Campus in the UK from June 13-15.
  • Heritage and Tourism: Community, Enterprise, Government & Tourists is an international conference scheduled for July 8-10 at Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University in Guangzhou, China.
  • The Lao National Tourism Administration will organize the third annual Lao Ecotourism Forum at the Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane, Lao PDR on July 26-29 . This exciting event will bring together and display the highest quality and most innovative ecotourism products and services in the Mekong Region. Under the theme 'Bridging the Mekong Region' tour operators, travel agents, accommodation providers, development agencies, National Tourism Organizations and indigenous people from throughout the Mekong Region will gather under the same roof to network and expand business opportunities in their respective countries. This event is a must for anyone interested in shaping the course of ecotourism development in the Mekong Region.
  • The Second International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations is scheduled for September20-24 in Kerala, India.  For more information, please contact Gopinath Parayil (
  • The 2007 North American Conference on Ecotourism is scheduled for September 26-28 in Madison, Wisconsin. The three-day conference will bring together hundreds of ecotourism experts, government officials, and travel/hospitality industry practitioners involved in or working towards responsible tourism.
  • The 2007 Watchable Wildlife Conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona on October 3-5.
  • The Adventure Travel Trade Association's (ATTA) 3rd Adventure Travel World Summit is scheduled for October 4-6 in Whistler, British Columbia. For more information, contact ATTA or call 360-805-3131.
  • The Australian Indigenous Tourism Conference (AITC) is scheduled for October 20-23 in Broome, Australia.  For more information or a request to be included on the AITC mailing list for future updates, please email
  • The Inaugural Global Geotourism Conference will be held in Perth, Australia on August 17-20, 2008. For more information, contact Professor Ross Dowling.

Support STI


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