San Luis Obispo's County Business Improvement District (SLO CBID) has commenced the country's first Stewardship Travel program to promote appreciation for place and culture, adventure, enjoyment and learning, while also providing clear opportunities to participate in regional conservation and preservation.
SLO CBID says the project has been five years in development, and provides curious, active, and caring travelers with a well-defined road map for fun and meaningful vacations in 10 destinations along Highway 1 of the Central California Coast including Ragged Point/San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, unincorporated Morro Bay, Los Osos/Baywood Park, Avila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo.
"Stewardship Travel helps visitors make a difference on vacation," says SLO CBID Travel Director and seasoned adventurer Diane Strachan, a leader in outdoor, adventure travel and environmental education for the past 35 years. "It's about having many opportunities to care, learn, and connect deeper while on vacation. This is tourism for the 21st century."
The brainchild of San Luis Obispo County's Business Improvement District and spearheaded by Strachan, Stewardship Travel offers visitors to WineCoastCountry – the coastal region of San Luis Obispo County located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco – more than 70 carefully created activities and attractions to choose from.
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What makes this program different is the fact that all of these activities and adventures are linked with contribution and learning opportunities, ensuring travelers will connect with locals, nature and heritage while on vacation, SLO CBID says.
The diverse opportunities include activities such as free wine tasting with a heritage tour, engaging in citizen science near Hearst Castle, protecting coastal habitats with restoration trail days, planting seedlings in an Audubon preserve, enjoying naturalist-led preservation hikes on a historical California ranch, participating in wildlife education and clean-up kayak tours, enjoying a California coastal light house preservation tour and a railroad history restoration day, joining in a chef-led, farm-to-fork farmers' market tour and estate lunch, and more.
SLO CBID claims the program’s participants will experience a lighter touch than a high-intensity volunteer vacation, and are able to pair a luxury spa visit with a brief beach clean-up, followed by wine tasting from a Stewardship Traveler vintner, fine dining and a donation to the Pacific Wildlife Care Foundation.
An activity map outlining Stewardship opportunities along the famous Highway 1 Discovery Route is available in Welcome Centers throughout California, as well as the many Hotels, Motels, B&B's and Vacation Rentals in WineCoastCountry, SLO CBID says.
In related news, the Honduran island of Roatán recently became the first tourism destination to complete a comprehensive 360-degree assessment and action plan for destination-level sustainability, according to a diagnostic conducted by Sustainable Travel International (STI). The diagnostic process evaluated Roatán’s performance on five key pillars of sustainability, which include sustainable tourism planning and governance, economic linkages, preservation of cultural heritage, social and community issues, and environmental protection.