Planeterra Foundation Partners with STA Travel On New Voluntourism and Community Development Initiatives

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2010 – Global voluntourism organization Planeterra announces a new partnership with UK-based STA Travel, the world’s largest student, youth and budget travel organization.

STA Travel is committing $1 million over five years to a responsible tourism program led by Planeterra which will develop mutually beneficial volunteer travel and community projects targeted to STA Travel’s over 6 million passengers who travel annually to 90 countries.

“This is a significant partnership with STA Travel, a key industry player. The scope of their commitment signifies a major shift as more and more travel companies are now adopting full-scale sustainability as the centerpiece of their tour programming. We believe STA Travel’s passion to make a real difference worldwide is just now beginning to reveal itself,” said Richard Edwards, Planeterra director.

Peter Liney, CEO of STA Travel, underscored that the company is now embarking on what he called a “responsible travel journey.”

“Our new partnership with Planeterra is going to change the face of STA Travel. Working with Planeterra we are supporting worldwide community development projects through our new volunteer travel programs and through direct funding of important initiatives,” Liney said.

In addition to the $1 million investment in its responsible travel and voluntourism program, STA Travel will be raising $120,000 for a new Community Tourism Training Institute in tsunami-affected Thailand. It will be located in Koh Phra Thong and accessible to communities throughout southern Thailand, providing a way to increase income and sustainable tourism in the area for the future. Funds are currently being raised by staff events and by clients at time of booking. STA will be matching all individual donations to projects up to $30,000 per year. With support of its industry partners and a donation matching program, Planeterra is able to provide 100% of donations directly to projects.

Edwards said that STA Travel will work with Planeterra and local partners to develop projects and direct donations to fund needs such as tools, materials and other items that keep projects going. They will also develop volunteer programs so that people can visit a project, live onsite or with a local family, and contribute to the well being of the community.

Edwards underscored that STA Travel and Planeterra both focus on initiatives for sustainability that yield positive impacts for the long term.

“We believe that supporting education, health, conservation and small business development by connecting local projects to the tourism industry will enable people in the developing world to have a hand in improving their futures,” said Edwards.

About STA Travel
STA Travel is a global travel specialist with 30 years experience helping students, teachers, and young professionals travel the world. They offer a unique range of products with exclusive discounts on airfare, accommodations, tours, rail passes and more. Globally STA Travel is present in 90 countries with 400 retail locations, sending more than 6 million travelers away each year. Visit http://www.statravel.com/ for details on all product and services.

About Planeterra Foundation
Planeterra is a global non-profit dedicated to sustainable community development through travel. Founded in 2003 by Gap Adventures, Planeterra evolved out of a long history of travelers committed to finding ways to give back to the people and places they visit. Planeterra selects the projects and works with them to arrange voluntour travel programs worldwide. For information on Planeterra’s year-round voluntour programs please go to http://www.planeterra.org/pages/voluntours/4.php or call 416-260-0999.

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