Media Contact:  Mike Rea, Tourism Cares

2015 Travel in Philanthropy Awards from Tourism Cares – Honoree Brief

Tourism Cares Announces 2015 Travel Philanthropy Award Winners
Lindblad Expeditions and Myths and Mountains win for Legacy in Travel Philanthropy
Nikoi Island receives the New Innovators award, and Mr. John Noel is honored with the first Personal Philanthropic Leadership award

CANTON, Mass. (December 9, 2015) – The Tourism Cares Board of Directors and the Review Committee are honored to announce the winners of the 2015 Travel Philanthropy Awards.

Lindblad Expeditions and Myths and Mountains, two longstanding and outstanding philanthropic efforts, share this year’s Legacy in Travel Philanthropy award, sponsored by American Express, which recognizes sustained impact for more than 15 years.

Nikoi Island, a private resort in Indonesia, is winner of the New Innovators award, recognizing philanthropic achievement among those new to giving, having started a program within 3-6 years.

And Mr. John Noel, together with his wife Patty, is the recipient of the inaugural Personal Philanthropic Leadership award. A pioneer in the travel insurance industry, Mr. Noel is known as the founder of the Noel Group, Travel Guard International, and most recently, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. Yet he is also founder of remarkable philanthropic efforts: the Compass Scholars program, the Boys & Girls Club of Portage Bay, Wisconsin, and the Make a Mark Foundation.

The awards celebrate and share the accomplishments of those travel companies and individuals who are as successful in their community care and stewardship as they are in business.

Twenty-six nominations were received for the Legacy in Travel Philanthropy and New Innovators awards, while the Leadership award is selected by the Board of Directors. The awards look holistically at the entire corporation, not just individual projects. Written submissions were scored in the following areas: theory of action and execution (e.g. their problem statement, activities, results and illustrative outcomes); community engagement; storytelling, communications and advocacy; integration into their core business; and overall financial commitment.

The Review Committee consists of leaders in the travel and philanthropic industries:

  • Jennifer Wilson Buttigieg, Valerie Wilson Travel
  • Jena Gardner, JG Black Book and the Bodhi Tree Foundation
  • Kristin Lamoureux, Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, New York University
  • Arnie Weissmann, Travel Weekly
  • Melissa Wisniewski, Key 360 Advisors
  • Dien Yuen, Kordant Philanthropy Advisors

Highlights among the winners include:

  • The remarkable client engagement of Lindblad Expeditions and the use of those funds for marine research, conservation, education and community development, which includes the recent formation by the UK of the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve, the world’s largest contiguous stretch of protected ocean.
  • The READ Global library and community center model started by Myths and Mountains almost 25 years ago, with 85 Centers now supporting literacy and education outcomes in Nepal, India and Bhutan, all of which are supported by locally owned enterprises.
  • Nikoi Island’s early efforts to create new learning centers and new businesses in their Indonesian communities, along with the leveraging of resources and knowledge of nearby Singapore.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Noel’s support for the Make A Mark Foundation to help fight the global AIDS pandemic in Sub-Sahara Africa, including in Kenya’s Nyumbani Village.

The awards ceremony takes place at 5 pm, December 15, 2015, in New York City. The reception and the entire program are made possible by Legacy award sponsor American Express, and other friends and partners: Amadeus, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Collette, Fathom, Macher, Marriott International, NYC & Company, Travel + Leisure and one anonymous supporter.

Much more can be learned from the 2015 Tourism Cares Travel Philanthropy Awards Honoree Brief which, along with tickets for the December 15 awards reception, can be found at

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About Tourism Cares
Tourism Cares, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) public charity, preserves and enriches the travel experience for future generations. Founded and supported by leading associations and companies in the travel industry, the Tourism Cares community invests its resources, talent and influence in three areas: we support underappreciated and at-risk destinations and communities; we invest in those entering the industry and professional development for emerging leaders; and we share travel corporate social responsibility knowledge and best practices so that individual businesses can best support their own causes. Learn more at and @TourismCares.