With growing optimism among people that they can have a positive impact through travel, Travelocity employees have created a multifaceted initiative called Travel For Good. Last week, the company launched its Go Zero program to help customers reverse climate change and enhance forests and wetlands through forestation programs. Now, under the Travel For Good initiative, Travelocity is kicking off a program called Change Ambassadors to help bring the idea of "voluntourism" to a broader, mainstream audience. As part of the program, Travelocity is promoting National Public Lands Day on September 30, and is urging consumers to join its employees in volunteer events across the country.

Because one of the greatest barriers to getting involved is knowing where to begin, Travelocity's Change Ambassadors program is making it easy for volunteers to find opportunities to give a few hours of service at public lands near home or to spend part of their next vacation volunteering. Travelocity has teamed up with some of the top volunteer organizations in the country, including Cross-Cultural Solutions, Earthwatch, and Globe Aware, all of which can all be accessed through the Travelocity website.

In a 2006 Travel Forecast poll conducted by Travelocity, 15 percent of respondents said they planned on taking a volunteer, education or religious trip this year. Whether building homes, working in schools and orphanages, teaching language skills, installing computers or helping endangered species, people are simply looking for ways to give back and get more involved in important causes.

"More and more people are realizing that some of the most rewarding trips involve volunteering here in the U.S. or abroad, either to give back to the places they visit or help to people in need," said Jeff Glueck, Chief Marketing Officer of Travelocity. "In fact, this program came from passionate employees who believe we can help our customers take their travel experience to a new level by getting involved in something that will have a lasting impact on them."

Change Ambassadors Grants

A key component of the Change Ambassadors program are grants that will be awarded to people who have demonstrated long-term contributions through volunteering, but do not have the financial means to take a volunteer vacation. A similar grant will be made available to employees.
National Public Lands Day

A voluntourism trip may be as exotic as someone applying their skills in places as far flung as China, Thailand or Africa or it could involve traveling stateside to an area in need of rebuilding, such as the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It could even be as simple as a family spending a day of their vacation clearing paths in a national park.

To support and encourage volunteer efforts close to home, Travelocity is promoting participation in National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands that Americans enjoy. On Saturday, September 30, Travelocity employees will be volunteering at parks in the following locations: Dallas; Las Vegas; New York; Plains, PA; San Francisco and West Palm Beach, FL. Travelocity will send invitations to customers encouraging them to join in select locations, or any of the National Public Lands day efforts.