Tourism Cares has always responded to destinations in need. Last month, more than 160 tourism professionals, including ISS GMT and lead sponsors Amadeus, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Visit Florida, united in the Florida Keys to help out this popular tourism destination often impacted by climate change and natural disasters.
Eight months after Category 4 storm Hurricane Irma barrelled through with ferocious 130 m.p.h. winds and torrential rain, the effects are still evident in parts of the 125-mile coral archipelago nestled between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Noticed as a resilient destination, Tourism Cares wanted to not only help with the recovery, but to also address the needs arising from climate change affecting eco-systems that are vitally important to tourism in South Florida as water temperatures rise, storms become more frequent.
These storms level homes, remove vegetation and impact the reefs and marine life who call our oceans home. The travel industry has a responsibility and an opportunity to #DoBetterTogether and care for places that depend on tourism.
On May 10th and 11th, 2018 volunteers tackled the following projects:
- Rebuilt an owl enclosure at The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, a conservation organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of native and migratory wild birds that have been harmed or displaced
- Helped with nursery maintenance and monitor the diminishing coral with the Coral Restoration Foundation
- Snorkeled with Reef Environmental Education Foundation to help with fish identification, assessing reef health as part of a national study
- Debris clean up in the canals via kayaks at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
- Clean up along the shoreline of Big Pine with Conch Republic Marine Army
- Neighborhood home repair with Habitat for Humanity
- Plant and clean up at Grimal Grove, a small farm and botanical garden
This was the first event in the Uniting for Resilient Destinations series and continues in September with Tourism Cares for New Orleans. Visit www.tourismcares.org/resilience for more information.