While the exotic allure of traveling to an international destination is always a surefire recipe for a successful incentive program, today’s incentive award-winners increasingly desire the opportunity to give back to local communities while enjoying their well-earned time abroad.

I reached out to Jane Scaletta, president of Dolfin Destinations and sustainability ambassador for the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence’s Sustainability Committee, to find out what some of her favorite international incentive CSR activities are.

Dolfin Destinations President Jane ScalettaScaletta, who represents international DMCs, is a more than 35-year meetings industry veteran and also frequently writes about her excursions to far-flung destinations around the globe.

“CSR used to be a buzzword. I don’t think it’s a buzzword now. I think it’s a reality now,” Scaletta said. “It makes good business sense. The millennials can see the damage that’s happening in the world; all the oil spills, the landfills—it’s in their face.

“I think they are a lot more sensitive to corporate social responsibility, and they’re entering the workforce and taking leadership positions,” she added.

Here are five international incentive CSR activities Scaletta believes will warm the hearts of incentive travelers while providing a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

1. A Touch of Ireland, Ireland

A great CSR opportunity offered by A Touch of Ireland is to use your gardening skills to design and plan a sensory garden in a small village in the southwest of Ireland.

2. Rixner International, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Rixner International has done some wonderful CSR activities but one that was very well received was creating a nursery garden for a school of children with disabilities.

They built a garden for the children to learn about taking care of plants and how growing plants and vegetables can help feed the future.

3. Amigos of the Planet Foundation, Cancun, Mexico

Amigos of the Planet Foundation has a wonderful CSR teambuilding activity that has participants manufacturing dresses for young girls. After the activity, the dresses are delivered to a nearby local community and given to the young girls there.

Amigos of the Planer Foundation Dressmaking Activity
Amigos of the Planer Foundation Dressmaking Activity

It’s a wonderful experience of creating something and sharing it with children in need.

Amigos of the Planet Foundation also has a great gardening CSR activity that helps people connect with one another while being educated about nature and gardening.

4. Amigos of the Planet Foundation, Quintana Roo

Groups design and build portable greenhouses that serve as support for local communities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, where an estimated 267,000 people suffer from hunger.

5. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has an amazing CSR activity I was able to learn about on my visit to Zimbabwe in April. Every day from 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., the lodge offers a Vulture Culture Experience that is free for all visitors.

Vulture Culture Experience at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Vulture Culture Experience at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

The activity is a conservation project that strives to protect endangered vultures while educating visitors about these remarkable birds.

It’s a safe feeding site where animal carcasses are provided as an artificial, safe food source for vultures on a regular basis. This practice not only serves to assist in the continued survival of vultures, but also increases awareness of vultures.

The sound, smell and feeling of the unsettled dust from the mammoth attack is unforgettable. Two of the most common vultures at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge are listed as endangered species: the hooded vulture and the white-backed vulture.

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