The Monastery, Petra, Jordan.
Tourism Cares, the public charity that helps restore and preserve top tourism sites around the world, has partnered with the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association and the Jordan Tourism Board North America to support Jordan’s destination communities and cultural heritage. The new partnership was announced at the U.S. Tour Operators Association’s annual conference and marketplace in Scottsdale, AZ.
Tourism Cares and Jordan will lead an expedition to the country for a multinational delegation of travel executives and corporate social responsibility leaders in the first quarter of 2018, with the final dates to be set in March 2017. The purpose of the expedition is to deepen the economic impact tourism can have in Jordan’s communities, as well as help those in need and building lasting industry partnerships.
The founding partners for the effort are the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA), which is focused on developing compelling tour experiences and member corporate social responsibility; the Jordan Tourism Board, which promotes the country’s natural and cultural wonders; and Tourism Cares, which is committed to uniting the travel and tourism industry to address shared priorities, and to spreading best practices in philanthropy and volunteering.
One of the goals of the expedition in first quarter 2018 is to create tourism jobs for those in need by supporting tourism-based social enterprises, including businesses that have a direct social benefit but also create authentic experiences for travelers. The social enterprise investments are being kicked off with tour operators Austin Adventures and Abercrombie & Kent, which together with a grant from the Bob Whitley Memorial Fund, is supporting small tourism businesses with hundreds of donated mountain bikes.
The expedition also will seek to connect with and help preserve Jordan’s cultural heritage, with a multinational, cooperative volunteering project. In addition, it will promote more effective tourism industry stewardship within and to Jordan through a corporate social responsibility symposium with tourism leaders from Jordan and the travel industry as a whole.
The expedition also will increase industry connections and the visibility of Jordan by sharing collective lessons and high quality social enterprises with tour operators, travel agents and the traveling public, especially projects along the new Jordan Trail, a 600 kilometer north-south route across the country.
“The Tourism Cares community is thrilled that Jordan is the next destination to be a part of our global network,” said Robin Tauck, chair of the Tourism Cares Global Impact Committee. “Tourism can be such a force for good through our business, the experiences we all share, and the power of our giving and care.”
The Jordan partnership follows a 2012 expedition to Peru, which led to the formation of Turismo Cuida, a group of Peruvian travel companies that pools funds to support shared priorities similar to Tourism Cares in North America.
To date Turismo Cuida has helped provide more than $250,000 in combined grants for local tourism projects. It also has launched an innovative PET bottle recycling program for the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
Jordan was selected as the next Tourism Cares global network destination because of its position in the region, its tourism appeal, an existing tourism program for social enterprises, and a readiness to promote travel industry corporate and social responsibility.