The global pandemic has created a dire need for change for travel and tourism. We can't go back to the "normal" that was before. As travel begins its recovery from the global pandemic, Tourism Cares, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, unveiled a new vision to a more sustainable and thriving future to better support the evolving needs of the people and places of travel.
"Tourism Cares is now a stronger voice in actioning positive change," said Jessica Flores, Director of Programs and Marketing, Tourism Cares. "As tourism begins its recovery, Tourism Cares is being more intentional about uniting, inspiring and activating the travel industry around purposeful, positive action that creates a permanent change to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism."
Since its founding nearly 20 years ago, Tourism Cares has united the travel industry and mobilized it to create needed change. As a result, the organization has furthered not only sustainability goals, but direct economic benefits for communities around the world.
To reflect the nonprofit's refreshed organizational approach to meet travel's new sustainability challenges, it collaborated in a rebranding initiative and developed a new logo to complement its renewed positioning.
"Our legacy has evolved to create positive social, environmental, and economic impact for the people and places of travel and our updated branding reflect a refreshed vision for the future and a renewed and strengthened commitment to come together as a global community," said Flores. The refreshed branding includes an updated logo—the first update since 2008—as well as a new, more interactive, informative website. "We worked with MMGY Global on our rebrand, involving many Tourism Cares stakeholders within the process who donated much of their time and talent to make this possible for us."
The nonprofit says they are expanding to better serve the people and places of travel through the intentional development of programs that empower travel companies to infuse positive impact into their work. In its role as a catalyst for cross-sector cooperation within the travel industry, Tourism Cares has expanded its membership categories to allow individual travel professionals to join. The annual $99 USD donation provides access to education platforms, professional development, consulting and registration to Tourism Cares signature programs.
In order for Tourism Cares to be more inclusive and encourage full industry collaboration, the organization says it was important and timely to introduce a lower level membership tier that allows more passionate individuals to get involved.
"As travel professionals, we are all travelers first," said Flores. "We work in an industry that allows us to see and share the world—from beautiful natural wonders to communities rich in culture and tradition to hidden treasures ready to explore."
"It's a powerful new direction", said Robin Tauck, Chairwoman, Tourism Cares. "We know that a large population of travel professionals are fueled by their passion to work in this industry and by the opportunity to use their work to make a positive change in the world. By uniting this great industry around sustainability, we deliver on a collective mission for meaningful and responsible action by corporations, foundations, businesses, and individuals. We welcome all to join us."
When it comes to sustainability in a post-pandemic world, the organization says it tackles what appears to be overwhelming and seeks to convert it into something that's achievable by providing training, tools and connections to ensure that the learning, growing and evolving never ends.
"We want to make sure that when the industry is thriving, it is not just the industry and the travelers that benefit—but the people and places they're visiting," Flores said. "That takes awareness, education and action on the industry's part. We look at sustainability as a journey, starting in a place that you feel you and your company can take on and build action items around."
Tourism Cares CEO Greg Takehara said the organization's focus on sustainability has expanded from assembling volunteer opportunities domestically to include models for global involvement and investment in social and environmental impact organizations.
"As a result, we launch and participate in initiatives that support meaningful and responsible practices while also providing direct economic benefits, through tourism, for local communities around the world," said Takehara. "In addition to fostering collaboration, we provide tools and resources that are creating the foundation for new models of tourism. Our legacy has evolved to create positive social, environmental and economic impact for the people and places of travel. Our updated branding reflects a refreshed vision for the future and a renewed and strengthened commitment to come together as a global community."
A new program from the organization called The Meaningful Map—launching in July 2021—will also help make more direct connections with communities in North America. The program is a business-to-business tool that will link and market non-profits, social enterprises and community-based tourism programs to the greater travel and tourism industry.
With the current and continued surge in domestic US travel and the economic influence travelers and travel companies can have on locally owned and operated businesses and experiences, Tourism Cares is providing a tool that spreads the positive impact of tourism and helps tour companies differentiate their product.
When an individual or business begins looking at sustainability from a holistic perspective, Flores recommends looking at the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and starting with one thing and growing from there. The organization also recommends checking out the Good Life Goals, which help make the SDGs relevant and relatable to everyday life.
"Creating real and sustainable change takes collaboration," Flores added. "We are still equipping the industry with tools—we are just providing more than shovels and paintbrushes."
Real change takes all of us, working together.
"There is no competition in doing good," she said. "Sustainability can no longer be a 'niche' market within the greater travel trade. It must be core to our strategic growth and development as an industry."
Learn more at Tourism Cares.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
Photos courtesy of Tourism Cares.