TOURISM INDUSTRY UNITES VIRTUALLY AROUND MEANINGFUL TRAVEL

 Tourism Cares, with its partners at ProColombia and Impulse Travel, will host a virtual Meaningful Travel Summit on 15 September, which invites travel professionals to further examine how sustainable practices lead to more resilient communities and tourism destinations.


Amidst a deluge of companies transitioning to virtual events, the Meaningful Travel Summit stands out as a platform for local community changemakers living in tourism destinations and not just travel companies that benefit from those places. Through meaningful conversations, the Summit will explore how tourism creates dignified livelihoods and provides alternative jobs and economic investment to curtail the negative social and environmental impacts happening around the world today.


“The tourism industry is a unifier for all different types of community projects, community interests, even aspects unknown — and can all be linked to making a destination sustainable and able to move forward,” said Rodrigo Atuesta, a Summit speaker and Co-founder of Impulse Travel.


More than a dozen speakers and impact leaders will lead conversations that provide actionable commitments as to how travel can build resiliency. To learn more and register, visit www.tourismcares.org/virtual-summit


“Making connections and building networks has always been one of Tourism Cares cornerstone values,” said Greg Takehara, CEO, Tourism Cares. “Through in-depth conversations and our signature networking forum, The Social Enterprise Connector, travel professionals can connect with local people in Colombia that are bringing authentic curated community experiences to industry buyers. By building these global connections, we can transform how travel benefits communities, our greatest asset - by ensuring local voices are being heard as part of the process.”


In an industry largely standing-still from the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism companies are looking toward long-term recovery. Tourism Cares placed emphasis on that rebuild, working with partners to create educational opportunities that ensures the travel industry repositions itself with a focus on sustainable growth. Colombia is an example of a destination focused on sustainable and responsible tourism, using social and environmental justice to become more resilient and foster stability through peace.


"The Colombian Government launched a reactivation plan for tourism, under the strategy ‘Commitment for Colombia’, which is based on working for a sustainable, reliable and high-quality industry,” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia. “We want our country to comply with sustainability parameters, leaving a positive legacy in the environment and the communities. We are certain that the potential of this industry, its resilience and the transformative capacity of our destinations are going to be the key for the economic recovery of our country".


Featured Meaningful Travel Summit speakers include Julian Guerrero Orozco, Vice Minister of Tourism of Colombia; Costas Christ, Sustainable Tourism expert and Founder of Beyond Green Travel; Ashish Sanghrajka, President of Big Five Tours & Expeditions; Diego Calderón, Biologist and Birdwatching expert; Annie Fitzsimmons, AFAR; Dash Harris Machado, AfroLatinx Travel; Fredy Asprilla, AfroTour & Son Batá Foundation; Janner Amaris, Tambores de Lamba; Gregorio Uribe, Sounds of Colombia; Rodrigo Atuesta, Co-Founder & CEO, Impulse Travel; Ana Cristina Vélez, Social Transformation Local Guide; and Maria Miranda, local tourism community representative.


The Virtual Meaningful Travel Summit will also spotlight Tourism Cares’ Global Meaningful Travel Map - a tool that connects travel buyers with worldwide social enterprises, nonprofits, community-led experiences, products, and tours developed, invested in, or vetted by Tourism Cares. At the Virtual Summit, ProColombia will launch their very own Meaningful Map of Colombia, with additional Colombia experiences to be added at the in-person Meaningful Travel Summit they will host with Tourism Cares and their partners in Medellín in February 2021.


Interested travel and tourism professionals can apply to attend the in-person event, February 8 - 11, 2021, by visiting www.tourismcares.org/colombia.


Special thanks to Colombia sponsors and partners ProColombia, Impulse Travel, TravPro Mobile, Bob Whitley Memorial Fund, Collette, Delta Air Lines, Eric Friedheim Foundation, Impulse Travel, MaCher, National Tour Association and Travel Insurance Advisors.

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