With every crisis comes heroes. And travel companies are lining up to recognize the frontline medical workers and first responders putting their lives on the line to fight Covid-19, offering everything from discounts to free hotel rooms, adventure trips and river cruises.
One of the larger efforts comes from MMGY Global and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, which have united a host of hotels in the Americas and the Caribbean to participate in their Buy One, Give One program. Companies donate room nights, gift cards or loyalty points for select charitable organizations to distribute as a "thank you" to healthcare workers. Apple Leisure Group and its various tour brands have also joined that effort.
Other companies are launching their own giveaways and discounts.
Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand, Journese, for example, last month expanded their standing 10% discount for military personnel to include medical workers and first responders and their immediate families.
And AmaWaterways launched what is essentially a two-for-one river cruise offer for medical personnel and first responders.
"There are none more deserving of a river cruise vacation than today's frontline heroes: the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other frontline medical professionals who are diligently helping others and inspiring hope during these challenging times," said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. "To express our deepest gratitude, we hope to welcome these very special individuals and their loved ones on an unforgettable river cruise as soon as we resume sailing."
Still others are hosting contests under which travelers can nominate first responders for free trips.
"I am nominating my daughter as she is my hero and a hero to all her patients she takes care of," reads one of the more than 600 nominations that Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection CEO Ellen Bettridge said the company has received for its contest to give away 25 seven-night European river cruises for two. "She is a survivor of a rare form of lung cancer in 2017, at the age of 30. She also just found out that she has a carotid body tumor and will require surgery to have it removed. Despite her lung history, she continues to put her life on the line to care for others. She is a single mother to a now 8-year-old who was born with severe bilateral club feet. By the age of 7, he had already had five surgeries from complications!"
African Travel, meanwhile, has asked travel advisors to nominate a local hero, whether a first responder or community member, to win a trip for two to South Africa and Botswana.
The advisor who nominates the winning hero will receive a complimentary spot on an African Travel educational trip to either South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania.
Tour Radar is among the growing number of companies sponsoring travel giveaways to honor frontline heroes battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similarly, Tour Radar and G Adventures have teamed up to take nominations for one medical worker to receive two $2,500 G Adventures vouchers.
And Small Luxury Hotels of the World will give away two free hotel stays to 500 winners of its #SLHforheroes contest, which it said is intended to "gratefully thank 'Heroes' such as frontline emergency service workers, teachers, health professionals, delivery drivers and anyone going above and beyond during the pandemic."