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Travelers' Philanthropy

Travelers' Philanthropy

The Contribution of Animal Welfare and Sustainable Tourism for Sustainable Development

This handbook, produced for WSPA by CREST, is designed to demonstrate how animal welfare and responsible tourism can collaborate to benefit local communities, protect biodiversity, and contribute to sustainable development. Through the five case studies examined, we highlight successful WSPA projects and examine their good practices and key lessons to illustrate ways in which animal welfare and sustainable tourism can effectively work together. While we are focused on how these examples can be useful to similar projects in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, we belive this Handbook will be useful to other destinations as well.


Analysis of Travelers' Philanthropy Survey, Osa Peninsula, 2011

Click here for a free, downloadable copy of the analysis

Clic Aqui para leer un analisis de filantropia del viajero en espanol

Travelers’ Philanthropy Handbook

Click here for a free, downloadable copy of the Handbook (3.8 MB).

Click Below to download Handbook chapters individually.

  • Chapter 1: Core Components of Travelers' Philanthropy
    • Origin and Overview of Travelers' Philanthropy by: Martha Honey
    • Travelers' Philanthropy and the Good Samaritan by: David (Jonah) Western
    • What is Successful Philanthropy? by: Mark J. Spalding
  • Chapter 2: Approaches to Travelers' Philanthropy - Case Studies
    • Overview of Various Models by: Martha Honey
    • Intrepid Travel and The Intrepid Foundation by: Jane Crouch
    • Myths and Mountains and READ Global by: Antonia Neubauer
    • International Galapagos Tours Operators Association (IGTOA) by: David Blanton
    • Holbrook Travel and Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center by: Andrea Holbrook
    • Hotel Punta Islita by: Maria J. Barquero
    • Rock Resorts and Vail Resorts by: Julie Klein
    • Villages of Loreto Bay and Loreto Bay Foundation by: Mark J. Spalding
    • Calabash Tours & Calabash Trust by: Paul Miedema
    • New York Restoration Project's Ne Leaf Restaurant & Bar by: Nik Charov, Lauren Loeb
    • Country Walkers by: Sonya Bradley
    • Educational Travel and Travelers' Philanthropy - The Gambia by: Marina Novelli
    • Global Sojourns and the GS Giving Circle by: Priscilla Macy
    • GoPhilanthropic by: Lydia Dean
    • Elevate Destinations by: Dominique Callimanopulos, Kristie Giannetto
    • Monteverde - A Destination-Level Travelers' Philanthropy Initiative by: Robert Bailes
  • Chapter 3: Voluntourism
    • Voluntourism - An Overview by: Kristin Lamoureux
    • Advice for Potential Voluntourists by: Via International
    • PEPY Tours and Voluntourism by: Daniela Ruby Papi
    • Consumer Interest in Voluntourism by: Martha Honey
  • Chapter 4: Engaging Tourism Businesses
    • How Companies Can Establish and Manage Giving Programs by: Jane Crouch
    • Working with Donors in Travel-Based Philanthropy by: Lars Lindkvist
    • Communications and Marketing of Travelers' Philanthropy Programs by: Andrew Bill
    • The Ask - Or is it the Offer? by: Sam Ham
    • Survey of Tour Operators in Arusha, Tanzania by: Johanna Wolff
    • Readiness Check List for Businesses by: Judy Kepher-Gona
  • Chapter 5: Engaging Communities and Local Organizations
    • How to Manage Interaction with Community Projects by: Jane Crouch
    • Survey of Recipient Organizations in Arusha, Tanzania by: Jessie Davie
    • The School of St. Jude: What Can I send?
    • Rift Valley Children's Village (RVCV) Visitor Policy by: India Howell
    • Unwanted Philanthropy by: Priscilla Macy and Jane Crouch
  • Chapter 6: Engaging Travelers
    • Unintended Consequences of the Travelers' Best Intentions by: David Abernethy
    • Consumer Demand for Travelers' Philanthropy by: Martha Honey
    • Why Travelers' Become Philanthropists: Donor Motivations by: Jill Talladay
    • My Role as a Guide in Promoting Travelers' Philanthropy by: Juan Carlos Yanez
    • Legal Issues - Incentives to Give by: Keir Gumbs
  • Chapter 7: Conclusion
    • Lessons Learned and Best Practices by: Martha Honey
    • Additional Resources
    • Biographies of Authors
    • About Center for Responsible Travel

    Click here to order a hard copy or CD-Rom.
    Click here to read experts’ comments on the Handbook.
    Click here to view the press release.
    Click here for a small banner ad for Handbook to post on your website.

This seminal CREST publication marks the first comprehensive publication on travelers’ philanthropy. This 250-page Handbook includes original essays, case studies, and surveys by some 30 exerts, plus a Foreword by Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Wangari Maathai. The Handbook covers the principles, origins and growth of travelers’ philanthropy and offers practical ‘how to’ advice, do’s and don’ts, and best practices for businesses, community organizations, and travelers interested in developing or participating in travel ‘give back’ programs.

Travelers’ philanthropy is tourism businesses and travelers making concrete contributions of “time, talent, and treasure” to projects in tourism destinations beyond what is generated through the normal tourism business. Although a relatively new form of corporate social responsibility (CSR), travelers’ philanthropy is growing rapidly and is now widely considered a core component of responsible travel.

Because CREST promotes knowledge sharing and encourages wide adoption of good practice, we are making the Handbook available for free on our websites. We ask only that when quoting or referencing materials contained in the Handbook, please cite according to the guidelines on the inside of the front cover.

The Handbook is the latest addition to CREST’s Travelers’ Philanthropy ‘tool-kit’ of resources which also includes a website (, video documentary (“Giving Time, Talent, and Treasure”), Experts Bureau, training courses, and other publications.

In addition:
Click here for details about the 3rd International Travelers’ Philanthropy Conference, July 20-23.

Dos and Don'ts of Travel Giving

Travelers' desire to help, interact, and learn from those they meet during their holiday is clearly positive. However, there are sometimes unintended consequences from these good intentions. Misguided contributions can perpetuate cycles of dependency, cause corruption, burden communities with unwanted or inappropriate donations, and require recipients to spend time and resources to handle "gifts" they didn't request or cannot use.

As part of our Travelers’ Philanthropy program, the Center for Responsible Travel asked a dozen experienced tour operators and tourism organizations who are engaged in supporting local community projects how they respond to some of the most frequently asked questions and suggestions from travelers about "giving" while on holiday. Though they sometimes expressed differing views, overall they agree that when, how, and what to contribute needs to be decided by the host community, not the tourist or the tourism company.

Convenient format: Travel Giving Dos and Don'ts Bookmark (PDF)
Travel Giving Dos and Don'ts (PDF) Hard copy available, $5. Contact Catherine Ardagh to purchase.
Travel Giving Dos and Don'ts (Extended Version) (PDF)
Additional Resources (PDF)

The above three reports contain a summary of the experts' responses. They are intended to highlight some of the complexities behind donation and help build a more enlightened traveling public. They are also intended to assist tourism businesses in crafting appropriate ways to harness the goodwill and generosity of their guests while meeting genuine needs in the host communities.

Tourism in the Developing World, Promoting Peace and Reducing Poverty, Martha Honey (CREST) and Raymond Gilpin (USIP)

The following four essays were prepared as background documents for the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) Special Report, Tourism in the Developing World: Promoting Peace and Reducing Poverty which is posted above. A grant from USIP provided funds for these authors and Aditi Chanchani from Equations to attend CREST’s Travelers’ Philanthropy Conference, held in Arusha, Tanzania in December 2008.

Tourism: Preventing Conflict, Promoting Peace, by Martha Honey, Ph.D, CREST

Ecotourism, Conservation and Development in East Africa: How the Philanthropic Traveler Can Make a Difference, by David (Jonah) Western, Ph.D.

Tourism in India: Role in Conflict and Peace, by EQUATIONS, India

Peace and Tourism in Nigeria, by Bola Olusola Adeleke, Ph.D., Redeemer’s University, Nigeria

Travelers' Philanthropy White Paper
Available in PDF

Travelers' Philanthropy: Helping Communities Build Economic Assets and Sustain Environmental and Cultural Resources in an Era of Rapid Globalization (PDF)

First Internatational Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings: 2004

Available from: CREST, by CD-ROM ($15)

Abstract: In April 2004, CREST (then CESD) hosted a major conference on Travelers' Philanthropy at Stanford University, in California. This conference brought together nearly 80 tour operators, UN officials, academics, foundation representatives, and NGOs to discuss how to best harness tourists' interest in giving back to the often impoverished communities that they visit. Through a combination of "time, talent, and treasure," participants learned, there are many ways to work constructively with host communities. However, poorly planned projects can result in unintended negative consequences. This packet of conference proceedings includes a CD-ROM of powerpoint presentations, bios for conference presenters, a directory of existing philanthropic activities, and more.

To purchase, please contact Catherine Ardagh at

Second International Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings: 2008

Available from: CREST, by CD-ROM ($15)

CREST (then CESD) hosted the latest international conference on travel philanthropy in Arusha, Tanzania, December 3-5th 2008. The conference brought together 230 practitioners from socially responsible tourism businesses, experts in the field of sustainable tourism and philanthropy, community based organizations and global and regional NGOs doing development work, the United Nations and other development agencies, philanthropic foundations, government, and the media. A growing number of leading tourism businesses, charitable organizations, and international agencies also co-sponsored the event. The goal of the conference was to promote, guide, and strengthen travel philanthropy as an emerging form of development assistance generated by travelers and the tourism industry. Conference Proceedings available on CD-ROM ($15).

To purchase via the secure payment portal Paypal click the button below: "Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings," Second International Travelers' Philanthropy Conference, Arusha, Tanzania, December 2008.

Third International Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings

"Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings," 3rd International Travelers' Philanthropy Conference, San Jose and Monteverde, Costa Rica, July 2011.

Click Here to Access the Proceedings online

Contact Catherine Ardagh at: to purchase a CD Version for $20

Results of Travelers' Philanthropy Survery

Wolff, Johanna, "Results of Travelers' Philanthropy Survery", a summary of key findings in " Travelers' Philanthropy: analyzed on the basis of the willingness to give donations to safari tourism in Tanzania," Masters' Thesis, October 12, 2009, Sustainable Tourism Management, University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, Germany. Free on website.

2008 Travelers' Philanthropy Film

Ahead of the 2008 Travelers' Philanthropy Conference in Tanzania, CREST (then CESD) designed and commissioned a documentary film on Travelers' Philanthropy. The film was shot and produced by two talented young filmmakers, Charlene Music and Peter Jordan. Using case studies from Costa Rica to Tanzania, the film highlighted several companies active in travel philanthropy, offering an exclusive under-the-hood view of the process behind successful philanthropy programs in health, education, and sustainable community development. Interviews were completed with travel industry experts, as well as with community members from areas being served by travel philanthropy programs. The film offers a balanced view of the immense potential of travel philanthropy, as well as the challenges and possible pitfalls that make it so important to begin projects with care and attention to detail.

Click above to watch a clip from the documentary. To purchase a copy of the DVD for $15, please contact Samantha Hogenson at: