Article from ATTA by Heather Kelly
These seem like very dark days, especially for tourism. However, the adventure travel community is strong, and we will get through this by supporting each other as we always have. Our team at AdventureTravelNews and ATTA has been inspired and touched every day by the stories we are hearing throughout our community. To bring a little light into this dark time, we have selected a few examples to share with all of you.
Both small and large tour operators are struggling, as people simply are not traveling. While this means even multi-national conglomerates are having a hard time paying their bills, the more drastic and worrying effects fall with the individual employees who now find themselves without a job. While some countries such as the USA have implemented strong safety nets like increased unemployment benefits, many workers in other countries are at risk of losing everything they own. Here are some examples of tour operators finding creative ways to help support their guides and other employees in any way they can:
- Ciclismo Classico has encouraged its Italian tour guides to write a cookbook and host virtual cooking lessons. A PDF copy of this cookbook is sent to anyone who donates to their GoFundMe campaign.
- Malawian Style has started a #Photos4Africa campaign and GoFundMe page. All donors will receive a little something from Africa in exchange; a cool photo of a lion, or a personalized thank you from a guide.
- Good Life Expeditions is co-sponsoring the efforts of local non-profit, MEDLIFE, to raise money in support of vulnerable families in Peru and Ecuador that have lost their income due to nationwide lockdowns.
- Monkeys and Mountains is working to maintain relationships with their guests by doing regular video updates explaining their approach, offering a free online course about how to be a happy hiker at home, and sharing additional valuable resources.
- Hidden Iceland has put together a webpage dedicated to how Iceland is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the bottom of the page, they have listed some ideas on how to support small businesses (such as tour operators) during this time.
- Company owners are taking such measures as trying to support their team as long as possible out of their own pockets and helping members of their community that do not have access to the internet to get registered on their government’s support assistance websites.
- Many tour operators are supporting each other by sharing what is working for them and what is not. For example, many have shared that their guests are very receptive to the idea of applying any existing payments to a future trip, especially when offered a small incentive (for example, an additional 10% credit).
Are you an ATTA member with a story to share about how you are supporting your local guides and employees? Please share it with us; we would love to feature you on this page!