For the fourth year in a row, Transat A.T. Inc. has issued an international call for sustainable tourism projects. They are inviting non-profit organizations based in any of approximately 60 destination countries their organization serves, to support sustainable initiatives that contribute to enhancing the tourism potential of a community or region. Transat provides financial support of up to $50,000 per project and has so far committed some $475,000 to the program.
“Once again this year, we are pleased to pledge our support to organizations with a common concern which is to develop responsible tourism that is sensitive to local communities,” said Lina De Cesare, Chair of Transat’s Corporate Responsibility Committee. “Our program to support projects at destination is in keeping with a series of Transat initiatives all oriented towards the promotion of the sustainable development of our industry as well as our company.”
Sustainable tourism is founded on three pillars: the environment; respect for local communities and protection of their respective cultures; and the economy, i.e., the potential and the importance of tourism as a driver of development. To be selected for the program, projects must aim to preserve and highlight natural and cultural heritage, help communities reap the economic benefits of tourism, or mitigate its environment or social impacts.
Applications must be submitted by May 31, 2010, and selected projects will be announced in the fall of 2010. Proposals will be reviewed and their merits established by a committee made up of Transat staff members in Canada and Europe. The application form and full program details are available on Transat’s website (www.transat.com) in the section “Social responsibility – our philanthropy policy.”
During the first three years of the program, Transat has supported 12 sustainable tourism projects in eight countries. Last December, the company announced the four new projects of the 2009 edition:
– A training program in sustainable tourism as well as technical support to hoteliers in the Maya Riviera region of Mexico, provided by international conservation organization Rainforest Alliance;
– The project to develop an alternative tourist route to the existing highway to Machu Picchu, in Peru, conducted by the Canadian organization Carrefour de solidarité internationale, in collaboration with a local co-op;
– A solidarity tourism development project in the region of Taliouine, in southwest Morocco, put together by the Franco-Moroccan association Migrations & Développement;
– An education campaign to raise awareness among key regional tourism players about protection of marine habitats, organized by the Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association (TURMEPA).