I wanted to share a couple of quick travel related notes that I wrote for Gadling.com today that may also be of interest here.
First, Keen Footwear is sponsoring a contest to give away a volunteer trip to South Africa. The winner will spend a week in Cape Town, volunteering at an animal shelter, while still having access to hike, surf, and explore your way around one of the world’s livliest cities. To enter the contest, simply go to this page and fill out the form Easy as that, and you could be on your way to Africa, where you’ll not only have a wonderful trip, you’ll be able to give a little back in the process.
Personally, I think the growing trend of “Voluntourism” is good one, and this is the first time that I’ve actually seen someone giving away such a trip. The vacation is valued at over $4000 and includes airfare and accommodations, although said accommodations are in a volunteer hostel at the animal shelter.
The other story of note that I posted over at Gadling is this one about some changes that were ratified by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) in an attempt to make travel in the Antarctic safer. You may recall that there have been several high profile incidences in the waters off the coast of the Antarctic Penninsula, including the sinking of the MS Explorer back in 2007, and two ships running aground more recently.
Fortunately, no one has been hurt or killed yet, and the IAATO wants to keep it that way. To that end, they’ve made it mandatory that all their members take part in a satellite tracking program, refit any open lifeboats so that they are partially or fully closed, and have put some requirements on the Captain and or pilot of the ships and their experience levels.
All of these are good steps, but as I said in my previous story, none of them would have helped prevent the recent accidents involving tourist ships. They would, however, go a long way towards making sure that travelers there are safer, and that’s a very good thing.
The IAATO also formed an exploratory committee to examine the effects of global climate change on the Antarctic, and help get the word out about it. The same group will be examining ways to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism to the region. This one is pretty self explanatory, but it’s great to see that they are taking these strides to make sure that they are protecting the fragile ecosystem that they are visiting. Thumbs up all around!