The pioneer in social impact travel, Fathom, which is Carnival Corporation's 10th and newest brand, highlighted the collective and meaningful impact made during its first 13 cruises to the Dominican Republic. Travelers have dedicated thousands of impact days to help areas of economic, educational and environmental opportunity to flourish in Dominican communities. From planting more than 16,000 seedlings to producing 730 clay water-filters, travelers have become part of something bigger and unleashed their own potential in fun, creative, engaging and surprising ways.
"From the beginning, Fathom, our travelers and our incredible community partners have been weaving a beautiful impact mosaic that is inspiring hope and ongoing potential," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation & plc.
"We have done this by learning, immersing and coming alongside the vision of our partner communities in a way that supports holistic flourishing. We participated closely with local community leaders and our partner organizations to understand their hopes and dreams for the region, and then identified specific, measurable success metrics we could track to begin understanding definitively certain elements of the impact story being woven together. It is humbling to see the collective impact story we are beginning to affect in just a few months."
During sailings to the beautiful Puerto Plata region on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, mindful travelers playfully engaged and participated alongside partners to learn, understand and address the various opportunities for local families. To date, Fathom travelers and local Dominicans have collectively:
- Student English Conversation & Learning / Community English Conversation & Learning:
Impact: Fathom travelers provided approximately 17,500 hours of English interaction to individual adult and youth students, better preparing youth and adults for future employability and increased economic opportunity.
Why It Matters: The largest driver of employment success in the tourist-driven Dominican Republic economy is English proficiency.
- Water Filter Production:
Impact: Fathom travelers produced and installed 730 water filters in community homes, positively impacting the health and wellbeing of thousands of local Dominicans.
Why It Matters: The estimated 3,650 Dominican recipients of these filters will experience a reduction in instances of waterborne illnesses, as well as cost savings from not having to purchase expensive bottled water. Indirect benefits could include better work and school attendance.
- Reforestation & Nursery:
Impact: Fathom travelers planted more than 16,000 seedlings and plants, offsetting the environmental impact of travelers coming to the region.
Why It Matters: Over time, Fathom's reforestation and nursery efforts will contribute to more nutrient-rich soil, helping to reduce soil loss, improve air and water quality, increase localized biodiversity and potentially producing higher agricultural yields for citizens.
- Concrete Floors in Community Homes:
Impact: Installed concrete floors in 40 homes, improving the living environments for hundreds of local Dominicans.
Why It Matters: Concrete floors provide a safer and cleaner living environment for residents while reducing the health risks associated with dirt floors.
- Cacao and Women's Chocolate Cooperative:
Impact: Fathom travelers cleaned 3,700 pounds of cacao nibs, which translates to more than 109,000 finished chocolate bars; they also have wrapped, packaged and prepared for sale more than 57,400 products.
Why It Matters: In a region with limited employment income, Fathom and its travelers are helping this small woman-owned business grow and thrive, which is contributing to the overall well-being of its employees and their families as well as other cooperatives.
- Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship:
Impact: Fathom travelers produced more than 9,800 sheets of paper.
Why It Matters: By helping entrepreneurs expand both their production and sales, Fathom travelers are creating critical income opportunities and financial independence for women workers.
"We have seen tangible benefits thanks to our passionate travelers," said David Luther, executive director of Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI).
"Revenues have increased, wages have gone up accordingly and we've given hard-working and enterprising Dominican women a workshop to stay close to their families. The quality of work life has been greatly enhanced for the women who work there – and that's after just 13 sailings. When we look at the potential long-term impact, it's amazing to think what might be possible."
- Fathom's Focus on Shared Value and Long-Term Transformation
What sets Fathom apart is its shared-value partnership approach to creating significant, lasting and sustainable social impact within communities, while at the same time within the lives of its travelers. Additionally, Fathom's human impact journeys embrace fun and playfully engaging opportunities to develop human connections with like-minded travelers onboard and become a part of a global community that acts together for common good.
"My highlight of the trip was Community English. This impact activity not only gave us direct access to Dominican families and their homes, but we played an essential role in teaching them English," said Laura Lawson Visconti, a nonstop explorer from Truckee, Calif.
"While this experience impacted me deeply, and I had to allow some time to process on my own later that evening in my cabin onboard Adonia, I was struck by the joy I felt from each Dominican I met. After a few moments together, we were family."
"The trip is not just about giving back, it's also about cultural immersion, discovering the beauty of the Dominican people/land, personal growth and yes, having fun," stated Justin Walter, a writer from Los Angeles, Calif.
"The Fathom experience attracts people who want to learn, give and be transformed through travel," said Ellen Christiansen, a travel advisor from Alexandria, Va. "A Fathom cruise bridges together people of all ages. While on my journey, I met everyone from young solo travelers to retired friends and couples, to families with young children; all stages of life, but all there with a sincere desire to give back in a unique new way."
- Creating a Lasting Impact
The average household income in the Dominican is about $6,000 a year and more than three million people do not have access to piped water. However, the country has a strong infrastructure for impact including proven community development organizations with deep roots in the country.
Fathom worked closely with two of these organizations, along with various other stakeholder groups throughout the country – Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI) – to identify the areas of most need and undertake a range of projects focused on education, environment and economic development to provide meaningful, long-term and sustainable impact. Depending on travelers' interests, passions and desires, they venture off into intimate communities for up to three days to participate in social impact activities they care about, unleashing their potential and instantly developing friendships and partnerships.
While the impact results to date are real and tangible, Fathom is eager to continue building on the foundation laid by the company and its travelers to make meaningful, long-term and sustained impact. Fathom will continue taking up to 700 travelers to the Dominican Republic to adventure and come alongside local citizens for three days a week every other week, while continuing to closely monitor and measure its ongoing impact. The company has the potential to offer thousands of traveler impact days per month to its partner communities, so the results over time have the potential to be substantial.
Prices for the seven-day trips to the Dominican Republic start at $299 per person, excluding taxes, fees, and port expenses and including all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies. Prices vary by season. To secure a spot on future sailings, a fully refundable $300 per person deposit is required for all cabin categories and occupancy levels. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.