Corporate Social Responsibility: Paying it Forward in Paradise

Despite the illusion of Fiji bottled water, the tropical destination is actually in need of clean water and reforestation.

Despite the illusion of Fiji bottled water, the tropical destination is actually in need of clean water and reforestation.

Even the world's most beautiful destinations have a reality that contrasts their picture perfect exterior. What if the incentive travel industry could actively give back to the tropical getaways some call home?

Last year, Forbes magazine (original article here) predicted eight rising trends for CSR in 2015 with the headline, "Corporate social responsibility IS the new norm." They applauded companies who are getting creative with these initiatives and experimenting with new types of engagement.

Traditionally, we use incentive travel to curate incredibly rewarding travel experiences, increase brand loyalty and drive business results. But as we consider the benefits of altruism in company culture, there is a world (literally) of possibilities for group travel.

The irony of popular incentive destinations like the Caribbean or French Polynesia is that while their white sand beaches and turquoise waters create a luxurious escape for visitors, the living conditions are less than ideal for the locals. To that end, our Meetings & Incentives division is on a mission to increase the demand for CSR activities during incentive travel in tropical paradises.

To further educate ourselves on this topic, we are partnering with San Diego State University's Hospitality Program to fund a scholarship for a local student to join a group Voluntourism trip to Fiji in 2016. The students will spend ten days working on reforestation and clean water projects, visiting local schools and training locals on sustainability. (While we're on this topic, please vote for your favorite candidate here- it's down to the final three!)

Through our passion, we hope to create a new norm in incentive travel where give back opportunities are standard inclusions. Thanks to our proactive travel partners, there are currently plenty of options available, including Four Seasons Hualalai's reforestation initiative in Hawaii and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment program at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. We look forward to helping organizations discover ways to give back in just about any incentive travel destination.

Tell us in the comments section below: Do you agree that there is an huge opportunity for CSR in incentive travel?