Carnival Corporation claims to have created a new tourism category it’s calling ‘social impact travel’ with the launch today of fathom, a cruise product that offers “authentic, meaningful impact travel experiences to work alongside locals as they tackle community needs.”
While it sounds very much like the well-established travel niche dubbed ‘voluntourism‘ – where travellers help locals build schools, hospital etc – Carnival claims it is different.
“What sets fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach with its partner countries paired with the unique business model that allows for sustained impact and lasting development.
“fathom’s scale and global vision reach beyond what the world has ever seen.”
A company spokesperson added: “Social impact travel is a term which describes the end effect of the travel (like sustainable tourism) whereas voluntourism is more about the traveller’s experience.”
The company’s first destination will be the Dominican Republic, which will be serviced via seven-day voyages ex-Miami on the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger ship from April next year.
“Depending on their passions, interests and skills, travellers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences both onboard and onshore.”
fathom is a stand-alone brand within Carnival headed by Tara Russell.