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Sunday, 23 June 2024

The Charitable Travel Fund launches ‘our help starts when tourism stops’

On 1st November 2020, The Charitable Travel Fund will launch. The founding Trustees are Chris Lee, Melissa Tilling, Sue Papworth, Debbie Haw, Sarah Loftus, and Steve Thompson, with Chris as chair.

The Charitable Travel Fund team have over 175 years of industry experience between them and, having had the privilege of visiting and working with many destinations worldwide, want to give back to the travel and tourism sector. The fund, which will be administered through registered charity The Charitable Travel Foundation will support tourism communities in need around the world. Funds will be raised through close engagement with the travel industry and donations from the travelling public.

The Charitable Travel Fund’s key objectives, in support of tourism communities in need, include: the prevention or relief of poverty or financial hardship; the relief of sickness, injury, disease, and other suffering and the advancement of vocational education and training to aid recovery or diversification.

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we travel and has plunged many who rely on tourism, into hardship and suffering. Unfortunately, many places in the world do not enjoy an active and supportive welfare state. This is where The Charitable Travel Fund comes in: providing financial grant aid to communities through local and international non-profit groups and charities that deliver vital support when needed. COVID-19 is the crisis now, but The Charitable Travel Fund is here for the future too.

From the outset The Charitable Travel Fund seeks, as part of its’ programme, to make an immediate difference by supporting two projects through leading partner non-profits Tourism Cares and United Purpose. These are the just start of supporting communities in need that depend on tourism when tourism is affected.

Cambodia faces a drastic and immediate economic crisis due to a 99% downturn in international tourism arrivals because of COVID-19. People are struggling to survive; businesses have closed, and the majority have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Cambodia has no ‘safety nets’ and no social support structure. Three like-minded hotels in Siem Reap joined forces, as ‘Hotels Joining Hands’ supported by Tourism Cares and others to provide 400 meals a day to those people most affected. They have now delivered over 50,000 hot meals to communities who depended on tourism. Just £1 per day feeds someone in need from the tourism community who would otherwise not eat!

The Fund will also support the United Purpose AFFA Women and Girls For the Future group and twenty-two other women’s groups of market gardeners in Guinea, West Africa, to protect and rebuild their livelihoods following COVID-19 and diversify their customer base, which includes tourism hotels and resorts currently heavily impacted by the pandemic. This project to move people beyond aid in Africa requires £25,000 from The Charitable Travel Fund to make a real difference.

The Charitable Travel Fund will build in several ways, including raising funds through engagement with the travel industry. Prospective travel industry supporters are asked to pledge a minimum of £1 per booked passenger, allowing organisations of any size to donate to the fund. Home workers, travel agencies, tour operators, cruise lines, hotels, airlines, car rental providers can all pledge to support The Charitable Travel Fund, in an affordable yet impactful way over time as our industry recovers from the terrible legacy of COVID-19. There will also be a membership option for organisations to get involved. The charity has created a ‘Proudly Supporting’ logo for those helping to build The Charitable Travel Fund helping tourism communities in need.

The Charitable Travel Fund will also be planning a series of fun fundraising activities throughout the year for the industry to get involved with sponsorship, and participation. There is a one-off donation option available on The Charitable Travel Fund’s website.

Profits from the social enterprise travel agency Charitable Travel will also be donated to the fund, the first partner of the charity.

Chris Lee, chair of the trustee said:

“Like most of us in the travel industry, I have had the opportunity and privilege to enjoy the incredible destinations and experiences that tourism enables worldwide. This opportunity is made possible by the people in those destinations. Hotel workers, tour guides, waiters and chefs, transfer drivers and countless others ensure we have the holidays we look forward to each year. We owe these communities so much for enriching our lives and now we seek to help those people in these communities who need our help when they need our help.

“In places that substantially depend on tourism income for the wellbeing and livelihood of the people in the local economy, we want to help when tourism is impacted by events outside of their control. Please help us help tourism communities in need by partnering with our tourism charity, The Charitable Travel Fund.”


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