With almost 18 years as editor of Recommend, I’ve had the opportunity to visit countless countries over the years and believe it or not, the bucket list keeps growing. But I just completed a trip to a destination that has to be one of the most memorable I’ve ever experienced and you’ll find the onsite review of it in this very issue—Sailing the Galapagos Islands. You can read about what I saw and experienced on page 14. Additionally, on recommend.com, you can read the five blogs of my visit there, which go into even more detail.
What I didn’t mention, however, in any of these pieces is the incredible effort and care it takes to preserve a natural jewel like these islands. Everyone—from the country of Ecuador under whose sovereignty these islands lay, to the Galapagos National Park Service, whose rangers and naturalists maintain its pristine condition, to the tour operators and even the tourists who visit there—show a remarkable reverence to these islands and faithfully follow the myriad regulations to maintain its pristine condition. Indeed, since 1997, guests traveling with Lindblad Expeditions—the company with which we sailed aboard the National Geographic Explorer on its Galapagos cruises—have supported conservation efforts in these magnificent islands. More than $4.5 million, in fact, has been raised from its guests for projects such as the eradication of feral pigs on Santiago and the support of National Park Marine Reserve patrol boats. Funds from those guests are contributed entirely to local projects, as determined by an independent board and implemented by the Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station.
Which brings to mind what many in our travel industry may not think about very often, the efforts and the good works of preservation Tourism Cares brings to countless tourism treasures across the globe—much of it with the help and financial support of its tour operator and industry organization partners who put an enormous amount of effort into its varied programs, including the varied volunteer giveback programs over the years. It’s amazing when you think about it—how many industries care enough about the products they sell to go above and beyond, like the travel industry does to preserve the treasures that travelers all over the world cherish, not just because they’re part of their livelihood, but because they genuinely care about their preservation and future. If you disagree, take a trip to the Galapagos and see that altruism first-hand, not to mention New Orleans, Philadelphia and countless other places where Tourism Cares and its industry partners have not only provided the muscle for clean up efforts, but the money by providing grants to natural, cultural and historic sites around the world, as well as supporting sustainable tourism communities. When you think about it, it’s a good thing to be a part of an industry that genuinely cares.
panama specialist program
Don’t even hesitate, go directly to the new Panama Specialist Program and get yourself enrolled so you can take advantage of all the new and upgraded product that Panama has developed. If you think you know it all from past programs, think again because this is all new and in-depth information that’s going to help you sell this ever-burgeoning destination.
Speaking of new, next month we’re unveiling the all-new 2012 India Travel Planner full of all the latest information on tours, niche products, accommodations and more. We’re also going to be teeing off on golf product in North America, Mexico and the Caribbean, offer up a fresh look at the Viking River Cruises’ Longships and more. In the meantime, have a great read.—Rick Shively