Tourism Cares hosts Global Meaningful Travel Summit with Panama

CANTON, MASS., USA – Tourism Cares, a leading non-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability within the tourism industry, will kick off its Global Meaningful Travel Summit in partnership with Visit Panama, June 1 – 6, activating in a variety of regions across the country, including Panama City, the Pacific Riviera, El Valle de Anton, and the region of Achiote in Colón, Panama. As part of the program, more than 40 travel and tourism industry executives and leaders, including tour operators, advisors, media, and industry associations, will gather to explore the crossroads of community, connection, and conservation within the travel and tourism industry.

With a focus on empowering communities through tourism, the Meaningful Travel Summit with Panama aims to inspire collective action among travel trade professionals by showcasing local Panamanian changemakers who are making a positive difference through tourism. Through hands-on workshops, immersive tours and experiences, and panel discussions, Summit participants will learn how different travel industry segments can contribute to sustainable development and environmental stewardship in Panama and beyond. The objectives of this year’s global Summit include:

Empowering communities through tourism
Encouraging cultural exchange
Safeguarding natural, cultural, and agricultural resources
Fostering community collaboration
Inspiring collective action amongst the travel trade and local communities

Through these programmatic areas, attendees will be charged with creating takeaways and commitments on how they can positively change their lives and others upon their return – at work, at home, and within the communities that they serve.

“Tourism Cares’ Global Meaningful Travel Summit is a one-of-a-kind industry program where travel professionals from all sectors come together, share insights, and collaborate on solutions that will protect the future of our industry and the communities we serve,” shared Greg Takehara, CEO, Tourism Cares. “Panama has done a tremendous job embracing a sustainable tourism model that places its local people and environmental assets at the center of its future growth. We look forward to uplifting these local changemakers throughout the Summit to inspire our attendees to create positive change within their own organizations.” 

Fernando Fondevila, CEO of Visit Panama, echoed Takehara’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of responsible tourism in driving positive socio-economic and environmental outcomes. “Panama is a country rich in cultural heritage, biodiversity, and natural beauty. We believe tourism can be a force for good by uplifting communities and preserving our resources. By hosting the Global Meaningful Travel Summit with Tourism Cares, we hope to forge new partnerships with the trade and showcase how we’ve empowered community-based tourism to drive positive impact back to our indigenous regions.”

As part of Visit Panama’s commitment to Tourism Cares’ Meaningful Travel Program, the country launched its Meaningful Travel Map, an interactive tool for the travel trade that showcases vetted, sustainable, community-led enterprises, products, services, accommodations, and tours. The Meaningful Travel Map of Panama includes 20 local organizations from across the country that work to promote cultural heritage, environmental conservation, Indigenous communities, and regenerative practices. To further build connections with the trade and these local impact partners, Summit attendees will engage with several of the Map’s impact partners through immersive tours and experiences, including: Trapiche Tio Evello, Organización Ecoturística Amigos de San Lorenzo Los Rapaces, Movimiento Cultural Identidad, and Biomuseo.

“To help travelers become better destination stewards, the industry must guide them to travel differently by incorporating more sustainable options within their offerings,” shared John Sutherland, senior director of community impact at Tourism Cares. “We are excited to launch Panama’s Meaningful Travel Map and make it easier for industry professionals to source vetted organizations and experiences that are already positively impacting their communities. This program not only fuels local Panamanians with more economic opportunities but it creates a better experience for travelers, too.”

To further support impact-driven organizations in Panama with capacity building, education initiatives, and infrastructure, Tourism Cares has invested $18,000 in grant funding to three Panamanian organizations through the Tourism Cares Impact Travel Fund. Supported by the Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy (TRIP) Foundation, the recipients include Biomuseo (the Museum of Biodiversity), Fundacion Los Naturalistas (The Naturalists Foundation), and Fundación Panameña de Turismo Sostenible (The Panama Foundation for Sustainable Tourism /APTSO). This grant program will help grantees expand their social and environmental impact and enable them to become more market-ready for the tourism sector.

The Tourism Cares Global Meaningful Travel Summit with Panama is made possible through the support of the program’s host sponsors: Visit Panama, Accor, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Bob Whitley Memorial Fund, Delta Air Lines, the Eric Friedheim Foundation, MMGY Global, National Tour Association (NTA), Simpleview, TRIP Foundation, and Trip Mate.

The article Tourism Cares hosts Global Meaningful Travel Summit with Panama first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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