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While the travel industry, on the whole, is among the most hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic's economic upheaval, and many operators are shuttering their businesses as health precautions or due to lack of customer demand, there are those that are actively combatting the socio-economic hardships caused by the outbreak.
Several entities within the luxury travel sector are taking steps to shield their employees from coronavirus-related fallout, aid their local communities, and assist hospitals and medical organizations in the fight against COVID-19.
Global - Private aviation company VistaJet is coordinating with governments and medical organizations to supply free "empty leg" flights that will help repatriate citizens, providing transport of key medical supplies, and connecting health experts to the locations where they're needed to fight the pandemic.
Belize - Managing Principal of Banyan Bay Suites, Grand Colony Villas snd Alaia Belize, Andrew Ashcroft, is keeping staff employed during the crisis to ensure that they continue to receive pay and benefits. He's also leading humanitarian efforts in Belize by raising over $60,000 (BZE), he's using to transform a school into a hospital on Ambergris Caye. His father, Lord Ashcroft, has personally donated $10 million (BZE) to the fight against COVID-19 in Belize, $100,000 of which recently went to Hope Haven Children's Home and Community Center.
California - The Beverly Hills Hotel is guaranteeing all of its employees' jobs, including uninterrupted pay, no matter the duration of the pandemic. It is also donated 200 of a takeout favorite, the loaded McCarthy salad, to feed medical teams working on the front lines of local Los Angeles hospitals and is also delivering 400 meals to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Central America - the Cayuga Collection resorts, ten award-winning, five-star, sustainable luxury properties located across Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, which exclusively employ staff members from local communities, are individually extending educational outreach programs to their neighbors, teaching effective COVID-19 protection and prevention measures.
Hawaii - Aqua-Aston Hospitality, in partnership with United Laundry, is donating pallets of bedsheets to the Institute for Human Services, which will use the linens to benefit the local homeless community.
Illinois - Deer Path Inn will soon debut its 'Inn Good Times' online auction, where users can bid on exclusive experiences, such private mixology lessons with Deer Path Inn's chief spirits officer, a dinner for two in its enchanting private wine cellar and more. All proceeds will be donated to the most impacted local businesses in its community of Lake Forest, Illinois. Details are forthcoming via the hotel's Instagram account.
Jamaica - Bluefields Bay Villas on Jamaica's south coast is continuing health insurance coverage for all of its employees, and providing any of its team members aged 55 or over with a $2,000 weekly stipend. The resort is also providing complimentary meals for local residents in need seven days a week.
Kentucky - The prestigious Keeneland Racecourse, where Kentucky Derby qualifying races are usually run, has teamed with destination marketing organization VisitLex with non-profit community kitchen FoodChain to launch an initiative called 'NOURISH LEX'. The project is putting displaced restaurant employees to work preparing fresh, healthy meals for and Lexington locals, largely using the 1,500 lbs of dry goods donated by Keeneland, which it had originally ordered in anticipation of its spring race meet.
Michigan - JW Marriott Grand Rapids is supporting local charity organization Kids' Food Basket by supplying evening meals and nutritional services for West Michigan's needy children. The hotel is also donating 20 percent each payment for curbside pick-up orders from its French Bistro, Margaux.
New York - Rochester's Holiday Inn Downtown has imagined a new purpose for the shower caps from its in-room amenity kits and is donating them to Rochester General Hospital, due to the general shortage of medical supplies. To date, it has collected 2,000 shower caps and invites other local hotels to contact its property if they'd like to contribute donations.
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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