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Tourism Cares advances sustainability in travel with expansion of Meaningful Travel Program in 2024

Tourism Cares

Leading global non-profit kicks off comprehensive program with destination partnerships to drive positive impact for the people and places of travel.

CANTON, MASS., USA – Tourism Cares, a global non-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability within the tourism industry, is growing its Meaningful Travel Program in 2024 by expanding its destination member community with a focus on local, community-centric initiatives that ensure all regions affected by tourism have the opportunity to thrive. This effort is part of Tourism Cares’ new 20-year vision, which was released during its 20thanniversary celebration in December 2023 and serves as the foundation of Tourism Cares’ next chapter in supporting the transformation of the travel industry.

As part of its destination expansion, Tourism Cares is pleased to welcome VisitScotland as the latest member destination to join the Meaningful Travel Program and will be the first European destination to launch its Meaningful Travel Map, marking a significant milestone in the organization’s global impact strategy. Scotland will be among 15 other destinations that have committed to the program, which engages the travel trade around best practices in sustainable tourism, cultural preservation, and community engagement through a variety of initiatives, including in-person experiences, professional development training and resources, product development tools, and more.

“The global tourism industry is at a critical juncture where sustainable practices are not just desirable but imperative,” explained Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares. “Our Meaningful Travel Program provides travel companies with the proper tools to enact positive change in their operations to help transform our industry where people, places, and the planet not only survive – but thrive. We look forward to fostering more partnerships with destinations and other businesses in the travel trade that make a lasting difference in travel.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “Our vision is for Scotland to be a globally recognized responsible destination. We want to inspire and influence visitors to make sustainable choices at all stages of their travel journey, and joining the Tourism Cares member community represents another example of our efforts to achieve this. We know that over half of international visitors to Scotland book through intermediaries, which is why it is important that we engage with the travel trade.”

Roughead continues, “As the first European destination to build a Meaningful Travel Map, we look forward to working with Tourism Cares, the travel trade, and Scottish tourism businesses to share the unique, sustainable, and authentic experiences we have to offer in Scotland with a wider audience.”

This year, Tourism Cares will also launch a new component to its Meaningful Travel Program – destination familiarization (FAM) tours, which will be hosted in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau. These FAM trips will provide a more intimate destination experience that connects the travel trade with impact experiences, sustainable companies, and community-led offerings to build a more authentic, responsible tourism supply chain.

“This initiative takes a well-known travel component – FAM tours – and converts it into a more meaningful experience that educates the travel trade about the value of the impact partners featured on each destination’s Meaningful Travel Map and how they can create value for the traveler, the local community, and the industry,” shared John Sutherland, senior director of community impact at Tourism Cares. “We look forward to working closely with Thailand and Hawai’i to kick off this inaugural program and share their communities’ stories while also creating more economic opportunities for purpose-driven companies by engaging them in the tourism supply chain.”  

In addition to its FAMs, Tourism Cares will also host two Meaningful Travel Summits in 2024. The Summit is Tourism Cares’ legacy program focused on educating industry professionals on best practices related to sustainability and community-based tourism, while also connecting them with local changemakers to help further increase economic impact for host communities. The Global Meaningful Travel Summit is an invitation-only program to be held June 1 – 6 in Panama City and El Valle de Anton in Panama. Additionally, the North American Meaningful Travel Summit is open to all members of the travel trade and will take place in Oregon’s Willamette Valley region from September 30 to October 2. Both host destinations will be launching Meaningful Travel Maps as part of the Summit program to further build connections between impact-driven organizations and participants.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.