Those who attended this year’s FTA Virtual Family Travel Spotlight on November 30th were treated to a special presentation honoring those persons and organizations who are advancing the FTA’s mission in unique and innovative ways.
This year’s FTA Honors focused on organizations who specifically chose to give back to the communities they work in and serve, making Beaches Resorts International a more than appropriate sponsor. To kick off the ceremony, Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, highlighted the work The Sandals Foundation, a non-profit organization launched in March 2009 to help Sandals Resorts International continue to make a difference in the Caribbean.
The 2020 FTA honorees included Keith Sproule, the Executive Director of Abercrombie & Kent and its program; Ashish Sanghrajka, President, Big Five Tours & Expeditions; Jamie Sweeting, Planeterra/G Adventures. To shine a brighter spotlight on each recipient and highlight why they earned this distinction, here’s an overview of each. Is there any wonder why we are so proud of this year’s class?:
Keith Sproule, Executive Director of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy
Abercrombie & Kent believes passionately that sustainable tourism offers the best hope for protecting endangered places and ensuring that local communities benefit from their heritage. Through Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, the company is dedicated to positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the places where its guests travel. A&K’s local offices identify and support community partners making a difference in education, health care, conservation and enterprise development – benefitting more than 125,000 men, women and children. The majority of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy’s support comes from guests who want to give something back to the places they visit.
During this pandemic, Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy has worked with non-governmental organizations to deliver more than $2 million dollars in medical supplies and emergency relief to people whose livelihoods depend on wildlife and heritage tourism.
Keith Sproule, Executive Director of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, accepted the award on behalf of Abercrombie & Kent and Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy. Keith manages a diverse portfolio of 46 projects in 24 countries.
Ashish Sanghrajka, President, Big Five Tours & Expeditions
Since its inception in 1973, Big Five Tours & Expeditions has been committed to responsible travel that fosters the preservation of wildlife and cultural heritage – as well as support for the well-being of local communities.
Ashish Sanghrajka, President of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, told us that his father (the Chairman of Big Five) has a saying, “We come into this world with nothing and we take nothing with us when we leave. What matters is what we do in between. It is not what we take up, but what we give out that makes us rich.”
The idea for the Spirit of Big Five Foundation arose organically over time from this guiding philosophy – and their work comes from the heart. Formally launched in 2007 as a 501 3c nonprofit organization, the foundation seeks to broaden the scope and depth of support to conservation, cultural preservation, poverty alleviation, education and healthcare in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the South Pacific.
Spirit of Big Five Foundation is funded entirely by the Sanghrajka family, the founders of Big Five Tours & Expeditions. Many of their guests also return home from their journeys also inspired to make a difference – and wish to donate to the Foundation’s active projects. 100% of all of these donations go directly to the chosen projects. Big Five’s current active projects are in Peru, Colombia and Tanzania, with more coming online. Through the projects of Spirit of Big Five Foundation, Big Five Tours and Expeditions has helped to feed tens of thousands of local families and assist with their urgent needs.
Ashish Sanghrajka, President of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, accepted this award on behalf of Big Five Tours & Expeditions and the Spirit of Big Five Foundation. Ashish and the Spirit of Big Five Foundation have worked hard throughout this pandemic to help local communities heavily reliant on tourism that have been completely impoverished this year.
Jamie Sweeting, President, Planeterra
G Adventures has always been dedicated to ensuring that their small-group adventure tours benefit local people – and to taking their travelers to authentic community-owned restaurants, lodges, and experiences. That’s why G Adventures partnered with Planeterra, a leading non-profit that uses community tourism to reduce poverty.
In 2015, these two organizations launched a joint initiative, initially called 50-in-5. That initiative morphed into Project 100, enabling Planeterra to integrate 100 community tourism enterprise experiences into G Adventures itineraries. Project 100 ensures more G Adventures travelers are able to positively impact communities through their in-trip experiences, with ripple effects impacting tens of thousands of local people in more than 55 countries.
With help from corporate partner G Adventures, Planeterra raised over $75,000 dollars this year with its Turn Travel Into Impact from Home campaign. So far, Planeterra has given out 30 emergency grants to their partners around the world.
Jamie Sweeting, President of Planeterra, accepted the award. With his decades of experience, Jamie is passionate about Planeterra and its commitment to effectively using tourism to improve the lives of some of the most under-resourced people on this planet.
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