Robin is a member of the Executive Committee of Tourism Cares, the largest non-profit in the U.S. travel industry and chairs the organization’s Global Impact Portfolio. A version of the following announcement was made in 2014.
Bringing travel industry together to enrich and empower destinations in need
Tourism Cares, the largest non-profit in the U.S. Travel Industry announced in 2014 a Global Impact Portfolio, a multifaceted, multi-country effort to preserve, enrich, and empower several destinations emerging in tourism, globally growing rapidly or recovering from crisis.
Tourism Cares will marshal the resources and insights available to the global travel industry to make timely financial grants, organize skilled and professional volunteers, enhance the visibility and awareness of iconic destinations, and facilitate exchanges of ideas to positively impact sites and communities. Based on the belief that, when taken together, travel and philanthropy are a powerful force for change, the fund will prioritize Egypt and Myanmar in 2014.
Egypt and Myanmar
“Egypt and Myanmar need our philanthropy and partnership, almost as much as our business,” said Mike Rea, the new CEO of Tourism Cares. Rea, previously of The Gates Foundation, is a respected social entrepreneur and disaster relief specialist who co-founded Give2Asia in 2000, which has facilitated millions of dollars in philanthropy from the U.S. to Asia. “The time to engage is now. We can do much more together, as an industry, to ensure these vital, extraordinary places are intact for the future and are engines of pride and prosperity for all. We must act responsibly today.”
A global task force has been formed and a cadre of accomplished, networked advisors, immersed in the local social, political, and economic landscapes of both countries is in place. In Egypt, where tourist arrivals have plummeted since 2011 but are expected to resume, the new fund will start by helping to preserve an underappreciated, iconic World Heritage destination and provide cultural heritage masters training in Cairo. In Myanmar, where three million tourists are expected in 2015, Tourism Cares will support heritage protection, help at-risk youth develop skills and participate in the tourism economy, and invest in local social businesses. A partnership was formed with Friends International of Myanmar.
Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru
Other destinations shortlisted for opportunities and professional insights on tourism and volunteerism include Haiti, where expeditions with the Clinton Foundation have occurred; and in Cuba, with the President’s recently relaxed restrictions for Americans. Tourism Cares has donated to Mexico’s relief funds for natural disasters and is focused on cultural heritage sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.
In Peru, Tourism Cares brought together 24 companies from the United States and Peru for a major “give back” expedition and dialogue on the future of Machu Picchu and related Cusco sites. In a three-year engagement, a new sister organization was formed: Turisma Cuida of Lima, Peru. This organization now serves the tourism industry of Peru with its own board of directors. Over 15 grants have been provided to Peruvian organizations serving cultural heritage in tourism and preservation.
About Tourism Cares
Since 1999, Tourism Cares has a mission to preserve and enhance the travel experience for future generations. We channel the philanthropic passion and commitment of the travel industry to protect and restore valuable destinations we all care about and to support those destinations as engines for prosperity, civil society, and pride in their communities. Our domestic programs focus on industry-wide volunteer events, capacity building for the nonprofit stewards of tourism sites, and scholarships and mentoring to support a talented workforce. Globally, our efforts include corporate social responsibility partnerships, strategic investments, and advocacy and education across the travel industry.
Tourism Cares is a 501c(3) non-profit public charity with over 100 travel member companies that benefits society by preserving the travel experience for future generations. Its mission is accomplished by awarding grants to natural, cultural and historic sites worldwide; by focusing on workforce development through professional and student programs which provide support from classroom to career; and by organizing dozens of volunteer efforts to restore tourism- related sites in need of care and rejuvenation.