Tourism Cares celebrates 20th anniversary in 2023

Tourism Cares celebrates 20th anniversary in 2023

Leading travel industry non-profit Tourism Cares will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, marking two decades of impact programming in the sustainable tourism space.

Tourism Cares was formed when USTOA’s Travelers Conservation Foundation and NTA’s National Tour Foundation merged and became an independent non-profit in 2003. This was marked with the launch of Tourism Cares for America give back project on Ellis Island in New York City.

“In the beginning, Tourism Cares was unlike any organization that existed in travel,” said Bruce Beckham, founding Executive Director of Tourism Cares. “For the first time, we met on an even playing field where giving back was our great equalizer. The goal for all was to leave a positive impact on the local community or historic site and at the same time create real and genuine business connections through the collaborative effort. That was the icing on the cake for attendees. We started a movement that day on Ellis Island in 2003 that has propelled us around the world and continues to be the inspiration for Tourism Cares – being a force where the entire industry can gather, united in purpose.”

Since its founding Tourism Cares has become an organization committed to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges. Through events and programs focused on the social, environmental, and economic wellbeing of tourism communities, Tourism Cares has been moving the needle in the sustainable tourism space.

In the U.S., Peru, Jordan, Colombia, and Canada, Tourism Cares has brought together tourism and travel companies, inspiring them to use their businesses to better serve the destinations to which they send their customers.

“To have been at Ellis Island and involved with this organization for 20 years is a highlight of my career. Tourism Cares represents the people and places of travel, dedicated to the people and places of travel. It has always been that way and will continue to be. We were born from volunteerism and now, we set the course for our industry’s sustainability journey through convening, education, and training,” said Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares. “We will never stop rolling up our sleeves to do the work necessary. Our experiences are collaborative, meaningful, and inspiring, and most importantly demonstrate the need for all sectors of our industry to come together. We will forge ahead in the next 20 years and continue to protect the assets that are at the centre of the travel experience. It is critical for us to do so, together.”

To celebrate such a milestone, Tourism Cares will launch special programming this year in the spirit of industry collaboration with new partners. For the first time in Europe, Tourism Cares will host its Tourism Cares with Norway Meaningful Travel Summit in partnership with Innovation Norway and USTOA’s Sustainability is Responsibility (SIR) event.

And in October, Tourism Cares will launch a new event, The Power of Partnership Stewardship Summit, with three partners: The Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, The Travel Foundation, and the US Cultural and Heritage Marketing Council. To learn more about what is planned, visit

The anniversary year will also see additions to the Tourism Cares Board of Directors, with Malia Asfour, long-time friend, supporter, and driving force behind Tourism Cares’ global program, taking the reins as the new Chair. As the Director of the Jordan Tourism Board North America, Asfour has been foundational in launching Tourism Cares’ programmatic work to a global scale, hosting the Tourism Cares with Jordan Meaningful Travel Summit in 2018.

Last fall Travelweek caught up with CATO chair Brett Walker on CATO’s work with Tourism Cares. Read that interview here.

Tourism Cares encourages all travel industry professionals, and lovers of travel, to reach out to join them in celebrating what’s ahead. To learn more, visit

Get travel news right to your inbox!