It's time to plan that late-winter vacation. Perhaps skiing is in store for you, or maybe a trip to a rainforest. Wouldn't it be ideal to visit a resort where the company is giving back? Maybe they are distributing some of their profits to the community, setting up foundations or providing jobs to locals.

There are many places doing just that.

Conservation Corporation Africa , an African safari company, founded by the Africa Foundation about 15 years ago with the goal of empowering communities through conservation.

The foundation has implemented many successful projects with a focus on improving health care by building clinics, providing access to water, building classrooms, donating school supplies and assisting children and orphans.

The company not only provides resources to the community, but also employs over 2,500 people. It offers 16 travel destinations, and started giving back from the day of the company's inception in 1991 to demonstrate that the rewards of wildlife and nature conservation could be sustained through tourism in a way that benefits travelers, the land and local communities.

You can experience life-changing luxurious safaris, at the same time knowing that your travel dollars are being put back into ongoing conservation development and community empowerment. The company's model strives to improve communities that directly impact its revenue.

Ski for Others

Giving back is "more than just writing a check, it's being involved by giving your time and energy," says Marty von Neudegg, director of corporate services at Canadian Mountain Holidays , one of Canada's oldest adventure travel companies. For CMH, it includes contributing to the local communities through outreach, foundations and volunteerism.

Aaahh, Canada
Courtesy: Canadian Mountain Holidays

The corporation also gives back monetarily by providing seed money to three foundations. They include The Mark Kingsbury Foundation, which supports projects designed to protect social components of sustainable tourism, a concept involving the conservation of local ecosystems; the Eric King Scholarship Fund, which recognizes people who have achieved the status of becoming a full ski guide; and The Dominic Neuhaus Mountain Guide Fund, which is focused on mountain guides.

The guides are the foundation of the hiking and the skiing programs. The majority of the guides are fully certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations, which is a process that takes close to eight years.

One of their most recent developments is the relationship with The Nature Conservancy of Canada , which promotes awareness and understanding of conservation initiatives and collaborates on field projects and research.
Hanging Out With Nature
Courtesy: Canadian Mountain Holidays

This is the first time NCC has established a major sponsorship with a tourism operator. The most recent project focuses on reclaiming the water environment along the Columbia River.

Guests also have the opportunity to give back directly. Through the loyalty program, guests who have skied a million feet can donate to the foundations in place of receiving a free gift.

Giving for 30 Years

Inkaterra , which provides nature experiences in Peru, prides itself on maintaining sustainable development for 30 years.

Inkaterra works to convert resources into eco-touristic products and to form strategic alliances not only with local communities, but also NGOs and private businesses.

It's not just about money, it's also what you give back in terms of increasing the community's quality of life, explains Jose Koechlin, chairman of the board.

To find more information on travel focused on helping the environment, go to ecotravel.com , the nonprofit organization Sustainable Travel International or the Ecotravel blog .