Preceding the Readers Choice Awards gala, Tourism Cares held a
reception at the Conrad New York to honor its 2018 Hearts of Travel
Brett Tollman, chief executive of the Travel
Corporation, was honored as a Champion of Change. Tourism Cares noted
the Travel Corporation’s support for various sustainable projects around
the world via nonprofit partner the TreadRight Foundation as well as
its initiative to phase out single-use plastics across all operations by
“If tourism is to have a positive impact on the environment
and communities, the travel industry and travelers must make a conscious
and careful effort to ensure that happens,” Tollman said.
Cares honored two organizations with Agents of Change awards, for
working “to create a deep transformative positive impact through
Baraka, a consultancy based in Amman, Jordan, was hailed for
developing community-based tourism models and ecotourism master plans
in Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, France, Italy and Jordan.
From left: Greg Takehara, vice chairman of Tourism Cares; Brett Tollman, CEO, the Travel Corporation; Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board in North America; Muna Haddad, founder of Baraka; Dominique Callimanopulos, founder of Elevate Destinations; Alexandra Garcia, chief program officer, World Central Kitchen; and Paula Vlamings, CEO of Tourism Cares.
Central Kitchen, founded by chef Jose Andres in the wake of the 2010
Haiti earthquake, was honored for its work in Puerto Rico after
Hurricane Maria, serving more than 3.7 million meals across Puerto
Rico’s 78 municipalities.
Tourism Cares also commended World Central
Kitchen’s efforts to set up long-term recovery and resiliency programs
via its Plow to Plate program, creating a network of small farmers “to
boost food sovereignty and create a more resilient Puerto Rico."
travel company Elevate Destinations, Tourism Cares’ Industry Innovator
honoree, was selected “for strongly demonstrating the power of
leadership by example by using business as a powerful force for good."
Cares cited the company’s Buy a Trip, Give a Trip program, which
enables a destination’s children to visit tourist sites in their own
country. “They partner with local NGOs and in-country travel suppliers
to create outings for youth groups that otherwise would have no way of
seeing some of the sights that draw thousands of tourists to their
country every year,” said a statement from Tourism Cares.
today’s world requires sensitivity,” said Dominique Callimanopulos,
founder and president. “We are visiting our neighbors in their home
countries. We cannot ignore their needs, dreams and wishes while we
fulfill our own.”
Other Industry Innovator Award nominees were AltruVistas, Bodhi Surf + Yoga and GoPhilanthropic Travel.
The Champion of Change and Agents of Change awards are chosen by Tourism Cares’ board of directors.
Industry Innovator Award winner was selected by a committee comprising
the following industry leaders: Kristin Lamoureux of Virginia Tech;
Melissa Snape Wisniewski of Key 360 Advisors; Keith Sproule of
Abercrombie & Kent; Arnie Weissmann of Travel Weekly; and Jennifer
Wilson-Buttigieg of Valerie Wilson Travel.
The American Express Co.
and Amadeus served as lead sponsors of the Hearts of Travel Awards.
Allianz Partners, Collette, Enterprise Holdings, MaCher, Marriott
International, NYC & Company, Travel + Leisure, Trip Mate and
Valerie Wilson Travel sponsored the awards reception.