Posts Tagged ‘sustainable tourism’

Crystal Cruises Sets New Standard of Voluntourism Excursions for Fall New England, Canada, and Caribbean Sailings

July 12, 2011

This September/October, Crystal Cruises’ guests and staff will help international refugees resettle in Canada, Massachusetts children-in-need survive winter, feed the hungry in Halifax, and care for stray/rescued donkeys in Antigua—all as part of the ultra-luxe cruise line’s “You Care, We Care” program in New England, Canada, and the Caribbean this fall.

This September/October, Crystal Cruises’ guests and staff will help international refugees resettle in Canada, Massachusetts children-in-need survive winter, feed the hungry in Halifax, and care for stray/rescued donkeys in Antigua—all as part of the ultra-luxe cruise line’s “You Care, We Care” program in New England, Canada, and the Caribbean this fall.

Volunteer opportunities are offered gratis on every 2011 sailing, giving guests and crew an easy, hands-on way to “give back” to local communities, while simultaneously providing an alternative cultural perspective to traditional shore excursions.

Participants may assist four aid organizations on five east coast Crystal Symphony voyages:

  • Cradles to Crayons (9/16 and 10/8—Boston): Prepare vital winter items for homeless/low-income children, from schoolbags to warm coats and shoes.
  • Romero House (9/30—St. John, New Brunswick): Provide kitchen aid for a housing community that assists less-fortunate locals and resettling refugees.
  • Feed Nova Scotia (10/20—Halifax): Help food bank preparation/distribution.
  • Donkey Sanctuary at the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society (10/31—Antigua): Feed, clean, or walk the shelter’s stray donkeys, dogs and cats. Launched in January, 2011,

Launched in January, 2011, Crystal’s “You Care, We Care” program has been widely recognized as a trailblazing effort for socially responsible tourism.

“While we always seek unique adventures for our guests, we created this program as a very personal way for Crystal travelers to give back to the many destinations that have given us so much through the years,” says Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president operations. “We’ve already seen incredibly positive ripple effects in peoples’ lives, and we can’t wait to continue our efforts through the year.”

Crystal’s voluntourism efforts thus far in 2011 have helped orphans, animals and the environment. June/July projects include caretaking cats and birds at the oldest independent animal protection organization in Norway and a summer-long project of rehab-ing an eco-friendly salmon hatchery and education facility in Alaska.

A cornerstone of Crystal Cruises’ culture is its genuine hospitality and service that has been internationally-celebrated for two decades. This spirit of generosity extends to its respectful treatment of the environment, oceans and communities in which it travels.

For more information/Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent or call 888-799-4625. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.

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www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

Kyoto’s Endangered Historic Townhouses Being Revived to Accommodate Foreign Tourists

July 24, 2010
Tojuro performing Kabuki in Tokyo

Staying in a Machiya historic townhouse gives tourists an opportunity to become immersed in Japanese culture and heritage, such as the Kabuki theater (© 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com)

Living history takes on new meaning in Kyoto, Japan’s city most famous for its ancient temples. Thousands of Machiya, Japan’s historic townhouses, are being turned into inns to accommodate foreign tourists, affording visitors an incomparable opportunity to be immersed in Japanese culture and heritage.

The historic townhouses were listed under the “2010 Watch List of Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk” by the World Monument Fund, a private organization dedicated to saving the world’s historical heritage, but a company, Machiya Residence Inn Group, has found a way to sustain them, and keep them from the wrecking ball, through a new use as accommodations for tourists.

Serving as both residences and workspaces for merchants and craftsmen, Machiya are Japan’s traditional townhouses that developed after 794 AD predominantly in Kyoto. There are approximately 48,000 Machiya within Kyoto, and most of them are more than 100 years old.

However, much like many other traditional architecture throughout the world, Machiya are rapidly disappearing. Every year, around 1,000 Machiya are demolished and replaced by new buildings due to maintenance being difficult and expensive, and their style considered outdated and old-fashioned in the minds of many. Unfortunately, reconstruction of Machiya is extremely difficult under the current Japanese building regulations, and as a result, the traditional townscape of Kyoto is on an inevitable path to extinction.

Amid mounting concerns in the local communities over the destruction of Kyoto’s traditional townscape, Machiya Residence Inn Group is refurbishing the Machiya that are about to be demolished and reviving them into life as accommodation facilities for foreign tourists.

Kohakuan, their latest accommodation facility, opened July 14, 2010. The facility rents out one entire townhouse for one group, and it is fully equipped with kitchen, washing machine, cloth dryer, computer and Internet, making it suitable for both short and long-term stay. In addition, English-speaking staff will be on hand to attend reservation and customer service inquiries.

The facility plans to organize various cultural activities for the guests such as tea ceremony, pottery class enabling foreign travelers to experience Japanese culture on request.

Machiya Residence Inn Group aims to revive the number of Machiya by developing five of these accommodation facilities each year, ultimately offer them in the real estate market as investment properties and, using refurbished Machiya as a model, promote usage and utilization of Machiya.

For further information on Machiya or reservation, contact via telephone, fax or e-mail: Mahchiya Residence Inn /AJ InterBridge Inc., tel: +81-75-708-5610, fax: +81-75-708-5611, email: info@kyoto-machiya-inn.com, or visit http://www.kyoto-machiya-inn.com.

See also:

TOKYO: TURNING A STOPOVER INTO A SOJOURN
How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day One: Hitting Tokyo’s Tourist Highlights

TOKYO: TURNING A STOPOVER INTO A SOJOURN
How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day Two: A Day in Tokyo Spanning all the Days of Japan

–Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate

http://www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate