Sweet Lesbian Travel Company:
Sweet is a new lesbian travel company that will have its first trip in November 2009. Sweet’s mission is to offer vacations that empower and motivate lesbians to achieve their personal, professional and philanthropic goals.
Sweet’s first trip Caribbean cruise departing from New Orleans. Before setting sail, Sweet plans a three-day land package for guests interested in helping with Katrina Relief.
One of Sweet's goals is to offer "travel with a purpose." With that in mind, all of Sweet's travel itineraries will include opportunities to volunteer to improve the environment by cleaning up beaches or working with a wildlife agency to help an endangered species. Shannon Wentworth, Sweet CEO says, "A lot of people want to do something meaningful on their vacations and can’t afford $10,000 to go to a jungle in Costa Rica where they rescue baby turtles."
Vacation and Volunteer:
In addition to providing a fun vacation experience, Sweet is offering travelers an opportunity to give back to the community. For example, its November 2009 Cruise will start with a day of volunteering in New Orleans and there will be opportunities to volunteer at different ports along the way. "A lot of people would volunteer if it were easier and fun," says CEO Shannon Wentworth.
Green Lesbian Travel Company:
As part of its commitment to making the world a better place, Sweet has purchased carbon offsets
to cover the impact of doing business and the air travel of all the women on the trip.
You might not think of a cruise as the most eco-friendly, but Wentworth insists, "Cruises are decadent, but they don’t have to be really polluting or damaging. They’re a great way for a large group of people to travel and learn about the world."
In addition, Sweet is committed to operating as "green business."
Empowering lesbians is also part of the Sweet mission. Volunteering is part of that, but Sweet will also offer an "Empowerment Fair" onboard its first cruise covering topics such as lesbian health, finances, career, relationships, fitness and nutrition. "Vacation is a really good time to break a bad habit and to start a good one," Wentworth says.
Wentworth notes just being in the company of all women is a powerful experience. "It’s just empowering to be in all women’s space. You don’t realize how much you carry around as a woman in the world."
Being carbon-neutral is a new trend for businesses. The idea is to offset the environmental impact of doing business by buying into organizations that restore the environment. Sweet's first carbon offsetting venture will be with Carbonfund to replant an area of the Tensas River in Lousisana.
Promoting Lesbian Visibility:
Shannon Wentworth, CEO of Sweet says that volunteering at the different ports will help the local lesbian community. "[Volunteering] goes a long way in promoting lesbian visibility and bettering the situations for lesbians in those communities that we visit, which are typically open to our tourist dollars but not particularly to gays and lesbians in their own cities. We want to show that we do more than drink alcohol and eat their food and spend a lot of money."
Entertainment and Fun:
Like other lesbian vacations, Sweet is committed to providing a fun and memorable vacation. Entertainment on its inaugural cruise includes comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer and singers Jen Foster and Edie Carey. They will have on ship parties provided by Dinah Shore's Club Skirts
and in the ports vacationers will have access to excursions like rafting, party cruises and shopping excursions.
Affordable Lesbian Vacation:
Wentworth says that although they have gotten positive feedback from travelers about the mission of Sweet, it's really the affordable pricing that is attracting travelers at this point.
More About Sweet:
From Sweet founder Shannon Wentworth, "I’ve been interested in travel my whole life, but also making a difference in the world. What I wanted to do was make it so people could make an impact, but it wouldn’t take over their whole vacation."
She also hopes to be able to show that you can run a green company and turn a profit.
Visit Sweet's website for more about their lesbian travel opportunities.