Travel enthusiasts of all tastes, budgets, and adventure levels now have a centralized, user-friendly forum to find trips that make a difference. Kutoa, whose name means “to give” in Swahili, recently launched an innovative new travel site at KutoaTravel.com. The website lists accommodations and tour operators around the world that contribute time, goods, or money to important local causes at no extra expense to the traveler.
The company is currently running its first Great Adventure Giveaway through its “Joys of Travel” Photo Contest. Travelers can submit up to three of their most inspiring travel photos for a chance to win one of seven incredible eco-adventures around the world. Two winners will get to choose from trips including a jungle cruise in Indonesia, an organic coffee farm in Nicaragua, a canopy zipline in South Africa, trekking and volunteering in Peru, and an Amazonian ecolodge in Ecuador.
Kutoa’s “Joys of Travel” Photo Contest is $10 US to enter, and the two winners will be announced January 1, 2012. The winning travelers can book travel at a time that works for them during 2012. Some of the trips are valued up to $2,000, and the winner can even give the trip as a gift to a friend or loved one who may be traveling.
Most importantly, 20% of all contest proceeds go directly to the social organizations supported by the trips the winning travelers choose to take. Every Kutoa destination offering prizes support vast and varied local social causes. For example, support from the businesses participating in the Giveaway alone extends to local primary schools, community education funds, a shelter for handicapped children, animal welfare and education, HIV AIDS awareness, environmental education, training of community members, and wildlife survival foundations.
Kutoa is a great place to start when looking for where to go next. The site offers trips for all adventure levels, budgets, and trip lengths – from Ecuador to Egypt, from Belize to Britain, and everywhere in between. For example, listings include an ecolodge in Nicaragua that also runs an agricultural training college for local farmers, a luxury dive resort in Fiji that established its own foundation to support local community development and conservation projects, and a safari company in Tanzania that donates money to build libraries and schools for local children. Some businesses listed on KutoaTravel.com also encourage travelers to engage directly with the communities they visit by bringing or buying much-needed supplies, or by volunteering during their trip. This traveler-to-community interaction not only empowers and benefits local communities but also allows for a more meaningful experience for travelers, who see the tangible social good of the money they invest in their trips.
Whereas “green travel” has been a household phrase for years, “socially green travel” recently appeared on the global scene and is quickly becoming the hottest new trend in tourism. Kutoa, whose founders coined the phrase “socially green travel,” is distinct in that the company specifically handpicks socially conscious hotels and excursion companies that focus on the people and social causes within 50 miles (80 km) of where those companies operate. While Kutoa encourages its member businesses to implement environmentally green practices, the company’s focus centers on social responsibility and promoting trips that proactively benefit the people of the local communities. Although socially green travel is still a relatively new concept, the increasing interest from travelers in finding trips that make a difference indicates that this exciting new industry can expect rapid and expansive growth over the next few years.
To learn more about socially green hotels, ecolodges, and tour companies that make a difference, follow Kutoa’s blog, like Kutoa on Facebook, and follow Kutoa on Twitter.
And be sure to enter the “Joys of Travel” Photo Contest by December 31, 2011, for a chance to win the adventure of a lifetime! It’s a great contest for a great cause.