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Published on : Saturday, November 16, 2013
All the pegs of the tourism industry namely the tour operators, cruise lines and airlines alike have teamed up with humanitarian groups and agencies to provide relief to affected communities and repair the damage done to the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) urged “major donor entities such as governments and international NGOs to continue to give generously and act swiftly to help the resilient Filipino people recover fast.”
G Adventures, a Toronto-based tour operator, has partnered with Architects for Humanity to assist in the rebuilding effort. In the first 20 hours, $20,000 has been pledged to the partnership with G Adventures set to match all donations.
“This is a very unusual case for us, because it is hard to get involved when we can’t do things ourselves with the company’s infrastructure,” said Bruce Poon Tip, president of G Adventures.
While G Adventures didn’t have any tours in the country when Typhoon Haiyan struck, it is not planning to change any itineraries.
“At the moment it is an urgent humanitarian crisis, but we’re running two tours in the country within the next month in unaffected areas,” said Poon Tip.
Although many in the travel industry are not personally affected by the disaster, Filipinos are integral to many facets of the global industry.
“When something like this happens, there are two levels: how it affects your business and how it affects you personally,” said Poon Tip. “There are not a lot of people who travel to the Philippines, but all our ships are heavily staffed by Filipinos who make our product so great.”
Agents with clients concerned about travel to the region should note the positive economic impact tourism has on the Philippines as well as the fact that travel to unaffected areas is safe.
The Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation announced it will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross in support of its relief effort in the Philippines. Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Paul Gauguin Cruises have so far contributed more than $2.2 million to relief efforts. Carnival, in conjunction with the Miami Heat, pledged to donate more than $1 million.
United Airlines and its employees pledged more than $850,000 for AmeriCares, the American Red Cross and Operation USA for the relief effort. The carrier has also undertaken two other relief programmes: A matching donation programme through the United Airlines Foundation and an offer of a Mileage Plus bonus for its Mileage Plus members.