HI USA recently joined Tourism Cares as an organizational member. In Madrid, Spain earlier this week, the wisdom of our decision was confirmed many times over.
Tourism Cares is a nonprofit organization that promotes philanthropy within the travel and tourism industry. It mobilizes companies and volunteers to clean up and restore culturally-significant sites, and mentors a new generation of travel and tourism talent in a socially responsible way. Its projects have included Ellis Island, Gettysburg and Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its scholarship program focuses on aiding college students in travel, tourism, and hospitality fields. Among its more than 100 organizational members are Amadeus, Amtrak, Delta Airlines, Globus, Hertz, MaCher, Taulk, The Travel Corporation, Trip Mate and the US Travel Association … and now of course, HI USA.
Our own alignment with Tourism Cares is clear. HI USA’s vision is: Hostelling will foster a dynamic, enduring community of travelers with the wisdom, humanity and leadership skills to improve our country, our communities and our world. Large dreams can best be realized with forward-looking, like-minded partners.
On Tuesday morning I arrived by bus at Madrid’s Central Park, having flown in to attend the 2015 Global Travel and Tourism Summit later in the week. I joined about 30 other summit delegates plus 20 community members for a day of volunteer work. We were welcomed by the mayor of Madrid, Tourism Cares CEO Mike Rea, and The Travel Corporation President and Chief Executive Brett Tollman, who visioned the volunteer-engaged event at last year’s Global Summit in China.
Our morning was focused on 2500 plantings in the beautiful Madrid park, and in the afternoon polishing brass quotations of Spanish literary giants embedded in Madrid’s “neighborhood of letters”. My volunteer teammate for the day was Ian Gillespie (see photo, Ian is at left), an executive at Avianca Airlines. Like others on the multi-national volunteer group, Ian and I came to the event as strangers and left as good friends.
The decision to invest time in a volunteer project creates a powerful connection. Tourism Cares mobilizes it for doing good in the travel and tourism industry.
HI USA will be a sponsor of the upcoming Tourism Cares event in early May near Leesburg, Virginia. In partnership with The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, we will help to reforest part of Civil War history by planting over 1000 trees to pay tribute to those soldiers who died in battle. If you are an HI USA staff member or volunteer who would like to be part of our team, contact Southeast Regional Vice President Jim Ruedinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HI USA is an organization with a purpose. By partnering with Tourism Cares, we are aligning ourselves with others who share important commitments.