This is uniquely important for travel and tourism around the world. For the first time this year, a high level travel and tourism Global Summit was held with ministers of several G20 nations, whose GDP is driven by tourism. I was honored to speak and join the first “live” WTTC – 20th Global Summit in April, in Cancun, Mexico.  Over 600 leaders joined from governments, key regions and tourism businesses across the world, with over 30,000 people joining virtually online. The theme?  Uniting the World for Tourism Rebound.

The global summit was powerful, and purposeful, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a statement that the Public Sector leads Private Sector in this health crisis – we depend on the governments to align, strategize and streamline health mandates.  Secondly, it demonstrated the return of international travel safe events. The ‘new normal’ of protocols and massive Rapid & PCR testing  in Quintana Roo province, were strictly enforced, respectful of continued challenges being faced there and across the world. 

Thirdly, we acknowledged the paradox of developed nations at 40-50% vaccination rates among their citizens in 2021; with developing nations some at <1%.   Also, the Summit clearly put in place not just the pathways to recovery of our industry, but the priorities for steady recovery. The collective call to action / change was loud and clear – everyone present was incredibly inspiring. 

I was honored to be asked by the WTTC to be a part of “The North American Story”  alongside great leaders I admire. I was excited to share very real data – proof of travelers committing to travel in 2021 and beyond. We know that the world is re-opening with travelers around the world being so excited to be able to travel once more. People have missed loved ones, people have missed the joy of traveling of discovery, of visiting favorite places, seeing cultures. This is not simply a hunch regarding pent up demand. At Tauck we see it directly through the forward bookings. You can in the video clip below that we as an industry have every reason to feel confident.


As is clear from the video, we are finding that travelers want to travel again; and to all destinations in their hearts.  Our theme is “SMALL IS BIG”.  As much as travelers are respectful of the places they’re visiting, we spoke about how Operators are creating smaller, safer groups and ways of travel.  Interestingly, river cruising especially is growing in strength as river cruises offer a wonderful, safe, controlled opportunity for travel, to explore once more, but in a bubble with smaller groups; fresh air environments.  Small Ship Cruising, Expeditions and River cruises provide outdoor comforts and peace of mind – yet direct exposure to the finest natural settings in the world. Here is more on my perspective on Small Ships –  why it is among the first ways for many people to re-start travelling internationally:

Finally, and most importantly, was a full Summit Day on Sustainability. How will our big industry make a difference to the people and places we visit, and to protect the environment now?    Or will it be too busy trying to build back better, putting sustainability lower on the priority list? 

We heard, over and over, sustainability is top of the list for a number of reasons. Firstly, we know that to build forward better, to rebuild our industry in a way that genuinely protects preserves, promotes and celebrates the world around us, both people in places, for the long run. Leaders stated emphatically, “Sustainability is not an appendix to Strategy.”  For Consumers today, it is not a request, but a demand, an expectation of travelers and travel companies around the world. We have all seen by being grounded in 2020,  the difference that we make to local communities, on supply chains, on artisans, on all of those around us, who desperately need jobs driven by the travel and tourism industry.

Tourism Cares, the not-for-profit that I am very fortunate to be the Chair of, is being turned to and requested to activate our over 20 years of experience and expertise in convening the industry around a common purpose, and proven approaches, to make the greatest impact together!  United we are, as we rebuild our “essential industry” together. Enjoy the video below, which gives my point of view on sustainability as our shared call to action. 

I wish to congratulate the WTTC team and the Government of Quintana Ro for all that they did to activate the 20th WTTC Global Summit. It was an important Summit for all of us as practitioners in this industry, and as travelers ourselves. I personally got incredible response from associates across the globe – Europe, South America, Canada and more.   We have a new world to enter into as global travelers. We must do this carefully, consciously and collectively.  We must and will “Do it Right.”

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Every year in April people around the world celebrate Earth Day. It all began in 1970. Since then it has become a day when we all stop to appreciate all that Mother Nature has created for us, around us, and hopefully with us. We now look to improve upon our past, looking ahead and we commit to doing more, to volunteer more, and to building forward better.

This year is unique. Why? Simply this: over the past year we have all been grounded, unable to move around the world, unable to look at the world from different perspectives. As travelers, it has been challenging. Yet in an interesting way, it has also been rewarding.

For the first time in a long time we’ve been able to appreciate our natural world by standing still. We’ve seen the beauty that is around us, noticing the detail, noticing the changes of the seasons, and importantly, noticing our footprints. As we start traveling again let us reflect:

    • Global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tonnes, in 2020
    • 55 Whales were spotted in the waters near South Georgia, just north of Antarctica in 2020 after 50 years in which sightings in the same waters were scarce.
    • 69% of people interviewed in global Values Shift study agreed: “To protect the environment I believe it is important that we all work together towards a more sustainable future.”

This year, as nature rebounds anew, we all have the opportunity to reflect on not just the beauty around us, but our urgent responsibility towards it. What can we do, each and every day, to contribute actively, in both immediate and long term ways? What am I doing? What are you doing?

This year, Earth Day and every day is, I believe, our call of action.
Now is the time to recognize that it is we, each and every one of us, that must commit:

  • as individuals to reduce, reuse/recycle, use renewable energies, convert our ways
  • support our industry’s plans – environmentally, economically, culturally, and socially. Measurable actions are articulated in every Strategic Plan and on websites.
  • Join our families, friends and communities at home or abroad, to work together on new initiatives to “make a difference.”

And reap the great benefits for now and for future generations. The journey has started. 2020-22 is a special time to honor, to celebrate, and to care for, all that we have been given as a gift of Mother Nature. Happy Earth Day!


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A new year always brings with it the feeling of a fresh new chapter. It is an opportunity to think bigger, more courageously, more creatively, and think about what we must do to really make a positive, meaningful and sustainable impact. The time is now.

It is February – traditionally the month of celebrating love, as millions upon millions worldwide show sincerity to those around them – Taking action by doing something to show their love.  

At Tourism Cares this has been at the heart of our Mission and Purpose for over 18 years. 

Is this year different?  Absolutely.  2021 amplifies this call to action. Travel and tourism has always been a force for good; and showing love, care respect for our precious resources with “meaningful action” can collectively imbed and stamp Sustainability into all that we do. And now, it is absolutely imperative. 

As Chair, I am conscious of this elevated leadership challenge. In the past, over 50 unique leaders of travel have served on our board, to steward and grow rapidly, the opportunity and the outcomes. Taking on this responsibility is something that I take very seriously. I have spent a great deal of time looking very closely at how, in especially these challenging times, Tourism Cares can really work to bring together our industry in re-evaluating our huge collective power as a force for good. 

Leadership during crisis is uniquely different to leadership in a phase of momentum of management. Our industry had been enjoying a decade of steady, excited growth: between 3% and 5% per annum. COVID19 changed all that, taking us back 30 years according to the UNWTO which has just released statistics confirming 2020 losses in international travel exceeded 1 billion international arrivals, a drop of 75% compared to 2019. Frighteningly this translates to over 130 million jobs, and US$ 1.1 Trillion in receipts. When is recovery of momentum at 2019 levels anticipated? Only 2024!

Closer to home, my family has been around in this business for 95 years. We’re on the eve of celebrating our Centenary, honoring the love my family business has for the 1000 suppliers we interact with worldwide, across 90 countries, and supporting countless world citizens. And yet for the first time since WW2, we have had to temporarily shut down most all operations. We’ve had to work anew with people within our industry and within our business, keeping a very close eye on the crisis that is unfolding, new challenges emerging, how to “protect livelihoods” in tandem to the healthcare community “protecting lives”. And I’ve seen three generations of family work together in a long history and spirit of love for other people and places —  as never, ever before.

Can love last forever? Yes!   It can, and it does, evolve and grow. I recently went and had a visit with Mary and John Stachnik, former owner of Chicago-based Mayflower Tours for over 40 years, former President of NTA, former Chairman of Tourism Cares and a Tourism Cares Hall of Fame inductee in 2005. I sat with them to gain their wisdom and insight for others who have been through decades of experience including devastating industry and personal challenges.  They have a deep love of Tourism Cares. They showed this love with a large gift to us early last year – gently and quietly provided.  I was excited to have the good fortune of time with such a pillar of our global travel and tourism community, and elder of Tourism Cares. And I do the same with my Dad, Arthur Tauck, another former Chairman, to speak to my father on inter-generational change and what he and they could still teach me.

Little did I know how much light and energy this time would bring.  


John & Mary Stachnik with Robin Tauck

Robin, John & Mary Stachnik, & Roger Dow



 John reinforced to me that, it is so important that we remember the challenges we face now are challenges we have faced and overcome before. The details are so different, but without question — the drama, the confusion, the fear and the hope are the same. Mary expounded, with broad smiles and sincere passion, how we brought the industry together to innovate and transform so many of the hard-hit, often peripheral tourism communities right here in America.  And how the citizens embraced us.

As the new Chair of Tourism Cares, I’m excited about the future. I am also feeling the Love.  The Care.  The Stewardship. Thank you to John, Mary and so many others for the leadership chapters they had; their brilliant wisdom and true compassionate support and embrace of our positive future tomorrow.

All of us at Tourism Cares, and across the industry, will get through this time to build forward better and come together stronger, with health for our Companies, our guests – and the People and Planet that we all love and depend upon for our wellness as a global community.  At the heart of my confidence is the fact that, as we have all heard over and over this past year, we all love our industry. We love what we do…and why we do it. 

Now is the time to make an impact through our collective caring – past present, and especially future. Now is the time to show the love.


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John & Mary Stachnik

Thanks for the Love!  John & Mary Stachnik, 2021 supporters of Tourism Cares





Recommended Viewing: Speaking on Legacy Leadership with RISE

Recommended Viewing: Speaking on Legacy Leadership with RISE

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of joining the RISE stage for the first episode of Season 3, “Been there, done that!”

RISE has been a lifeline to many in our industry, in what has been an extremely challenging year. Hosted by Anita Mendiratta & Demian Hodari, this web series helps make sense of industry and global news, in a fun and engaging way. 

I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on legacy leadership and how my experience of past crises has helped to navigate the current one. I’d love to know your thoughts and your experiences. As a community we need to pull together to overcome our challenges!

RISE airs every two weeks You can find out more information and register at

Read here.

So Long 2020 – Bring On 2021

So Long 2020 – Bring On 2021

At the very final countdown of 2020, all of us in the global travel and tourism industry are looking back at a year with a feeling of incredible shock. We entered 2020 thinking that the new year, the new decade, were going to bring new opportunity, new possibilities, new markets, new travelers, new innovations; and new focus on sustainability for our planet and people.  So much new.

Little did we know that ‘new’ was going to be all of us in the global tourism community uniting, for the first time in our generation, to work towards the survival of a sector that we all know is a vital force for good.  We move quickly and with care, as we do things right.

2020 rapidly became a history-defining year for us all. By Q2, at the height of the pandemic, IATA estimates that over 16,000 commercial aircraft were grounded worldwide as 100% of international borders closed to travel. On a daily basis, 1 million people in our industry were losing their jobs.

Now, days away from the close of 2020, country after country is re-imposing new restrictions of cross-border movement of aircrafts and passengers as, starting with the UK,  new strains of Covid-19 are appearing. For millions it will not be a merry little Christmas.  Tragically, my country, the United States, has recorded its worst annual death toll… in history.  Our hearts weep and grieve for the incredible loss, here and in every country.

Is it possible to even remember our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions? All those plans of weight loss or “health and wellness” focus? For each of us? Maybe some significant time with family?  Or a special travel place?

2020 has inspired a redefinition of health and wellness for ourselves and others. At the heart of this accepting that there is no going back to normal. We must resolve to change; and change for the better.  We need to build forward  better as we enter 2021.

Recovery is coming. Already we have two global vaccines with 90%+ effectiveness. Unprecedented scientific miracles are here, already. Our recovery will be gradual and based on first and foremost, new health care for all and all ages. Patience, protocols and procedures are vital. Working in our favor are safe tiers of mobility, safe border crossings, incredible partnerships, booming technology, source market reactivation, and safe air route reactivation based on the stability of trade and tourism demand.

At this monumental time, as multi-millions of vaccines are being rolled out quickly across the world, we know that quick testing is also strengthening confidence of travelers, and we know that travelers want to travel again. Families to reunite. We know there is massive pent up demand.

Travel and tourism is an essential sector – a powerful part of economic, social, cultural, and environmental recovery of our global community. Leaders across the world, in both business and government, recognize the power of our industry to shape the world in which we are entering.

No sector has the ability to engage, unite and inspire like Travel and Tourism. COVID-19 has made very clear its impact on supply chains – keeping hundreds of millions of small businesses around the world operating, keeping communities together, keeping cultures proud, keeping societies connected and keeping people focused on the future.

This is why our sector is a proven force for good.

What is critical?   Working Together; Coming Together.   And to know that Tourism Cares. But is this enough in a world demanding confident, courageous leadership to recover from what has been a most battering, generation-defining period?  With incredible thanks to all who have given their generous time and lifetimes of experience and information, in a new information age, we salute you.

There are so many trends and so many predictions, emerging from 2020. What is ahead?  What are our best sources of trustworthy insight and intelligence? So much is still unknown.

What we do know, however, is that we will get through this, and do so stronger.

And so, as we turn this page to January 2021, I thought it was important to stop and to simply say ‘Thank You’.

I want to say thank you to you for everything you have done as a leader and participant in our industry to help lead our global industry through to the next normal. Your focus, your tireless commitment, what you have been doing as a government or travel industry leader, manager, employee, service provider,  intern or volunteer will make a world of difference for billions of people around the world.

Here’s to 2021 – may the year ahead be a year of renewed, refreshed, re-inspired confidence in the power of this sector we all love. Travel is, and always will be, a force for good.  We are united in our quest, and we will sustain and build forward  better.


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