Toronto, October 19, 2009 – Cited for their commitment to socially and environmentally responsible travel practices, G Adventures and Planeterra Foundation were named co-winners of the 2009 Responsible Travel and Tourism Forum Leadership Award. The accolade was presented by Baxter Travel Media and Air Canada at the 3rd annual Responsible Travel and Tourism Forum (RTTF) held at The Old Mill Inn in Toronto on Oct. 14th.
“This is a wonderful acknowledgement of our work to help achieve sustainable community development through travel,” said Bruce Poon Tip, CEO of G Adventures. “But we see this honour as a challenge to take our work to new heights and help even more people around the world through our unique efforts.”
The Leadership Award was established to recognize an organization's corporate social responsibility practices and is open to tour operators, agents, accommodation providers and destinations throughout Canada. Nominations are evaluated by a panel of five independent judges who are experts in the areas of corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, travel and tourism and travel media.
G Adventures and Planeterra Foundation received the award in part for their work helping to improve the way of life in local communities, while protecting—and even benefitting—the local environment. Cited by the RTTF was Planeterra’s Brazil Community Reforestation Program, which engages and trains indigenous peoples in determining their own land-use practices in a move toward greater self-sufficiency, while reforesting lands in Brazil where much of the world’s rainforest loss has taken place.
This program, which will result in 450,000 trees planted by the end of 2009, will provide the communities and local farmers of Parana, São Paulo, Marilia, Oriente and Londrina with access to training workshops and seedlings. The initiative will allow these communities to increase food production, create natural barriers on their lands, provide shade and fodder for livestock and other animals.
Planeterra funding derives from donations from travellers who have visited a Planeterra project, either as a volunteer or as part of a G Adventures tour. All individual donations are matched by G Adventures resulting in 200% of an original donation going directly to the project of the donors’ choice. G Adventures also covers all of Planeterra’s administration and operating costs, a rarity with most non-profits.
Planeterra currently has over 30 different projects in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Polar regions. They are focused in the areas of health, poverty alleviation, education, and conservation with an overall aim to create positive changes and development in local communities through travel and voluntourism.