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Published on Monday, October 19, 2020

Launch of Charitable Travel Fund

A new travel industry charity is being launched to support tourism communities around the world who are financially affected by an unexpected downturn in tourism income, including the impact of Covid-19.

The Charitable Travel Fund, which will be administered through registered charity The Charitable Travel Foundation, will raise money through the travel industry and holidaymakers and is set to launch on November 1.

Key objectives of the fund include: the prevention or relief of poverty or financial hardship, the relief of sickness, injury, disease, and other suffering and the advancement of vocational education and training to aid recovery or diversification.

The Charitable Fund said Covid-19 has 'changed the way we travel and has plunged many who rely on tourism, into hardship and suffering'.

"Unfortunately, many places in the world do not enjoy an active and supportive welfare state. This is where The Charitable Travel Fund comes in, providing financial grant aid to communities through local and international non-profit groups and charities that deliver vital support when needed. Covid-19 is the crisis now, but The Charitable Travel Fund is here for the future too."

Former Funway Holidays Managing Director Melissa Tilling, one of the trustees of the new Charitable Travel Fund, also launched a not-for-profit social enterprise travel agency in April, enabling customers to donate 5% of their holiday cost to a UK-registered charity of their choice. The net profit of Charitable Travel, from trading as a travel agency, will also be donated to the Fund.

Tilling is one of the trustees of the new Charitable Travel Fund, along with Chris Lee, Head of Marketing for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sue Papworth, former Managing Director of Premier Holidays, Debbie Haw, from hotel representative the Far East Collection, Sarah Loftus, a sustainable tourism consultant and publisher Steve Thompson.

Chair of the trustees, Chris Lee said: "Like most of us in the travel industry I have had the opportunity and privilege to enjoy the incredible destinations and experiences that tourism enables worldwide. This opportunity is made possible by the people in those destinations. Hotel workers, tour guides, waiters and chefs, transfer drivers and countless others ensure we have the holidays we look forward to each year. We owe these communities so much for enriching our lives and now we seek to help those people in these communities who need our help, when they need our help."

The Charitable Travel Fund will initially support two projects through non-profit organisations Tourism Cares and United Purpose helping people affected by the downturn in international tourism arrivals in places like Cambodia and Guinea, West Africa.

Three like-minded hotels in Siem Reap have joined forces as Hotels Joining Hands supported by Tourism Cares and others to provide 400 meals a day to those people most affected. They have now delivered over 50,000 hot meals to communities who depended on tourism.

The Fund will also support the United Purpose AFFA Women and Girls for the Future group and 22 other women's groups of market gardeners in Guinea, West Africa, to protect and rebuild their livelihoods following Covid-19 and diversify their customer base, which includes tourism hotels and resorts currently heavily impacted by the pandemic. This project to move people beyond aid in Africa requires £25,000 from The Charitable Travel Fund.

Travel industry supporters are being asked to pledge a minimum of £1 per booked passenger, allowing organisations of any size to donate to the fund, while membership organisations can also get involved through a 'proudly supporting' logo.

Industry supporters looking to get involved should go to

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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