We hope you are well and keeping yourself, your family and your community safe by staying at home. Now, more than ever, we all really need some good news.
We wanted to share some travel stories to make you smile, give us hope, shine a spotlight on people and companies in travel doing good for their communities, and help keep your travel imagination active until we can all travel again.
And even with all travel temporarily shut down, there IS great news in travel.
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host BestTrip TV
There are so many examples of travel companies giving back on a regular basis to the communities their guests visit.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection helps train and find places for vulnerable women to work in hospitality. (Pictured, top: President and Founder Beatrice Tollman sharing her passion for hospitality). The hotel company also recycles and repurposes unused hotel toiletries to benefit women in need. And they work with Canadian charity ME to WE’s fairtrade chocolate program to promote workers’ rights and support clean water initiatives for families.
So guests in Red Carnation hotels – including the famous and arguably most popular castle hotel in Ireland, Ashford Castle (pictured) – know they are supporting women around the world in addition to enjoying a memorable vacation.
(The Red Carnation Hotel Collection/Ashford Castle)
We also love the Globus Family of Brands’, which includes Globus and Monograms tours, as well as Avalon Waterways river cruises and others, partnership with Landmine Design in Cambodia. The social enterprise gives local women in a region where the largest concentration of land mines remain in the world dignified work at home. The bracelets they produce (pictured) are bought by Globus as gifts and guests on Mekong itineraries can purchase them.
(Globus Family of Brands/ Martha Chapman)
Once they started working with the community, Globus realized another vital need in the community and partnered to build and operate a school for the region’s children.
And there are countless other examples, too.
From China to Europe, hotels opened their arms to provide safe, comfortable and convenient homes away from home for overworked, stressed medical staff on the front lines of fighting the virus. 40 Accor hotels in France alone were dedicated to nursing staff and vulnerable populations.
And it’s happening closer to home, too. The governor of New York just tweeted out thanks to the Four Seasons Hotel New York, which opened its doors on 57th Street (pictured) to that city’s medical personnel.
(Four Seasons New York)
During this crisis, the travel community has stepped up, with local attractions to global companies coming to the aid of their communities to help support their efforts to fight the pandemic.
Travel companies are showing generosity to their guests, too.
Travel suppliers, from tour companies to cruise lines to hotels have gone out of their way during COVID-19 to implement new cancellation policies that ensure travelers get all of their money back – and sometimes extras – if they can’t travel. We’ve never seen such generous policies, and they give you peace of mind.
The new policies are so good that travelers with booked travel are better off rescheduling, not canceling, and having those benefits applied to new dates. That’s great news as it means people will be able to keep traveling.
It’s not just individual trips being rescheduled. This year has a full calendar of memory-making travel events, and the good news is: it looks like we aren’t going to miss out.
You’ve likely already heard the Tokyo Olympics will go on, just one year later, and the communities and organizers of other one-time or annual events are showing their resilience and shifting to a new timeline.
It gives us so many happy events around the world to look forward to when we all get back to traveling.
One of the best things about travel is meeting real people and embracing their local lifestyles and seeing the world through their eyes. And even in the midst of COVID-19, people all over the world have risen to the occasion.
Opera singers serenading their neighbors from balconies in Paris, yoga instruction from the rooftops, apartment-block sing-alongs in Spain.
The unstoppable human spirit is on full display.
(National Parks Service / Jacob W. Frank)
Around the world, museums, parks, wildlife reserves, zoos, attractions, popular musicians and cultural institutions from Yellowstone National Park, to the Great Wall of China, to the Juno Beach Centre on Normandy’s WW2 D-Day Landing Beaches to Florence's Uffizi Gallery, to African safaris to the Vienna State Opera are putting virtual tours, educational materials, podcasts, live camera feeds, performances and more online to provide all of us staying at home with ways to stay engaged with the richness of our natural, historic and cultural world.
Communities are also organizing to support their shut down, local hospitality industry. Like Miami tourism creating a #MiamiEats program as a one-stop shopping program for delivery of Miami’s famous dining and even cocktail scene to residents’ doors as they keep their community safe by self-isolating.
Now, when times seem at their worst, the world and the world of travel are showing their best.