A&K comes to the aid of communities in need

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

While the travel industry has suffered some of the toughest economic hits from the global Covid-19 shutdown, it's been heartening to see luxury travel companies' continued commitment to the communities around the globe that have grown reliant on the tourism those companies bring.

One of the latest examples comes from Abercrombie & Kent, which recently reported that in response to the pandemic, its philanthropic arm had boosted its funding by 60% for the delivery of medical supplies through its partnership with Project Cure.

Keith Sproule, executive director or Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP), said the effort was part of a decision made by A&K from the outset of the pandemic to shield AKP from the job cuts and furloughs that have been widespread across the sector and rally its on-the-ground coordinators around the globe to figure out what Covid-19 relief was necessary in underdeveloped regions.

The recognition, Sproule said, was that "if we are going to be going through a tough time, they are going to be going through a really tough time."

Retaining the full AKP staff, he said, "allowed us to work with the communities and strategize on need."

Coordinators in Peru, Brazil, Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia worked with locals to assess the greatest need, which in many cases, he said, was "food security."

So in addition to medical supplies, AKP launched bulk food deliveries to isolated communities,  particularly in Africa, where a lack of food often correlates to an increase in poaching, Sproule said.

Since the start of the year, AKP said it has delivered more than $2 million in medical supplies and emergency relief around the world.

At the same time, it is continuing its support for ongoing and non-Covid-related projects, including its AKP Bike Enterprise Program, which helps women across Botswana, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia establish bicycle sales and repair shops using donated bikes, and a partnership with Cure Cervical Cancer.

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