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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Tourism Cares Honors Brett Tollman, BARAKA, World Central Kitchen and Elevate Destinations at Hearts of Travel Awards in New York City

Press Release – Norwood, MA—December 12, 2018— The Tourism Cares Board of Directors and the selection committee proudly honor four 2018 Hearts of Travel Awards honorees tomorrow night at a reception preceding the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards in New York City. Tourism Cares works to advance the travel industry’s social impact to help people and places thrive and celebrate with the annual Hearts of Travel Awards to recognize individuals and companies committed to using their travel businesses as a powerful force for good.

The 2018 honorees are:

Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation is the Champion of Change, an individual who makes the work of change agents possible.

BARAKA Consulting and World Central Kitchen each receive the Agent of Change Award as organizations that work on behalf of communities to create a deep transformative positive impact through travel.

Elevate Destinations was selected as the Industry Innovator for strongly demonstrating the power of leadership by example by using business as a powerful force for good.

Industry Innovator Award finalists include AltruVistas, Bodhi Surf + Yoga, and GoPhilanthropic Travel.

Highlights among the honorees include:

Mr. Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation (TTC), has utilized his 30-award winning brands to help make travel matter across the industry by putting market capital to work. Through non-profit partner, The TreadRight Foundation, TTC supports sustainable projects around the world under their three pillars: people, wildlife, and the planet. “If tourism is to have a positive impact on the environment and communities,” said Brett, “the travel industry and travelers must make a conscious and careful effort to ensure that happens.” TTC has also made one of the most significant commitments in the tourism industry to our planet –phasing out all avoidable single-use plastics across all operations by 2022. This is an illustration of how a company of this caliber can change their footprint on this planet and make possible for any business of any size to follow suite.

BARAKA Consulting is a social enterprise based in Amman, Jordan, whose team of local and international accomplished professionals partner with clients to design, build, and implement tourism strategies that leave minimal impacts on the environment and maximum benefits for local communities through memorable and meaningful experiences. BARAKA has successfully developed innovative community-based tourism models and ecotourism master plans in Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, France, Italy and Jordan. BARAKA is providing access to the formal economy for enterprises and entrepreneurs in remote communities and helping preserve a region’s history, culture and environment through experiences that local communities share.

World Central Kitchen is tackling poverty and hunger by using food as an agent of change. After the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, Chef José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen to develop a global network of chefs to empower people to be part of the solution. Their work in Puerto Rico helped touch all 78 municipalities and over 3.7 million meals were served after Hurricane Maria. Long-term recovery and resiliency programs have been set up through World Central Kitchen’s Plow to Plate program, that are creating a network of small shareholder farmers to boost food sovereignty and create a more resilient Puerto Rico. World Central Kitchen is creating stronger, more resilient communities that are better resourced to face future natural disasters. By developing social enterprises in tourism destinations, they also invest in long-term economic support and create meaningful jobs and diversified income.

Elevate Destinations continues to adopt innovative ideas to promote social responsibility in the travel industry. Every trip organized through Elevate Destinations allows a group of local children to visit tourist sites in their own country. “Travel in today’s world requires sensitivity,” said Dominique Callimanopulos, founder and president. “We are visiting our neighbors in their home countries. We cannot ignore their needs, dreams and wishes while we fulfill our own.” Elevate Destinations is pioneering the buy-one-give-one model for experiences. They partner with local NGOs and in-country travel suppliers to create outings for youth groups that otherwise would have no way of seeing some of the sights that draw thousands of tourists to their country every year.

Both the Champion of Change and Agents of Change Awards are chosen by the Tourism Cares Board of Directors; the Industry Innovator Award is selected by a committee made up of industry leaders:

  • Kristin Lamoureux, Virginia Tech
  • Melissa Snape Wisniewski, Key 360 Advisors
  • Keith Sproule, Abercrombie & Kent
  • Arnie Weissmann, Travel Weekly
  • Jennifer Wilson Buttigieg, Valerie Wilson Travel

Lead sponsors American Express Company and Amadeus and reception sponsors Allianz Partners, Collette, Enterprise Holdings, Inc., MaCher, Marriott International, NYC & Company, Travel + Leisure, Trip Mate and Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. make the awards possible.

About Tourism Cares

Tourism Cares, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advances the travel industry’s positive impact to help people and places thrive. We believe it’s in all our best interest to support the destinations our industry depends on so that communities, travelers and businesses can prosper. We mobilize the entire industry to use its business as a force for good by convening, educating and motivating all sectors to make a positive impact through travel. You can follow @TourismCares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


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