Nourish Our Spirits

By Andreas Weissenborn, Senior Director of Research and Advocacy, Destinations International Foundation

Travel is seen by many as a way to replenish our mind and spirit, a reminder of what constitutes a fulfilled life. What then happens then when travel is on lockdown, and the purveyors of travel are left without a function or form to fend for themselves? Some destination organizations are pivoting to provide support in other ways.

Lexington, KY

For a growing pool of talented hospitality workers whose lives were upended by the pandemic, ‘Nourish Lexington’ sought to pair those skill sets to those in further need of food. Participants can choose between preparing meals, donating money, food, or even their kitchen to help serve the growing need of the community. A little goes a long way and it’s a tremendous showing of the support we can all provide.

Champaign County, IL

Every year, the Visit Champaign County Foundation hosts Toast to Tourism, celebrating people in the hospitality industry who make our community so outside of ordinary. In lieu of the expenses associated with this annual celebration, the Visit Champaign County Foundation Board, in conjunction with the Visit Champaign County Board, have created a Hospitality Relief Fund to provide direct financial support for individuals who have immediately formerly worked in the greater Champaign County area as housekeepers, caterers, cooks, front desk staff or anywhere in our hotel partner operations. Hotel General Managers will be able to nominate staff to be eligible for a cash reward who are currently displaced from employment. Given the limbo so many events and meetings find themselves in currently, it’s nice to see the spirit of this celebration continue.

Phoenix, AZ

Visit Phoenix has partnered with several local organizations to offer residents an opportunity to support the workers from their favorite establishments. Simple, effective, and elegant, the t-shirts are such a simple reminder that we can support those in our community in ways beyond visiting their place of business during times of social distancing. Like the original phoenix, our hospitality community will rise again.

About the Author

Andreas Weissenborn
Senior Director of Research & Advocacy
Destinations International
Introduced to the world of destination organizations by a random internship application to Visit Baltimore (then known as Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association), Andreas Weissenborn began an unexpected career into hospitality that left him with a continued passion towards the tourism industry.

Weissenborn spent just short of 11 years with Visit Baltimore helping with its Research, Technology, and Information Systems across the organization. In 2017, he joined the Association on behalf of a Destinations International Foundation initiative to be a dedicated research source for Destinations International.