I guess this is going to be International Rescue Committee day at RRW (see previous post about filthy rich IRC closing an office in Kansas).
My first thought when I saw this story was that refugee resettlement sure is an industry! And, my second thought was….
…There must be a lot of low income Americans and military vets who would like free boat tours of the Statue of Liberty and so forth.
The rich IRC gets richer and TripAdvisor gets brownie points (they think!) for their good deeds ‘Welcome Home’ (???) campaign!
From the New York Times:
From TripAdvisor, a Program to Help Refugees Get to Know the U.S.
In partnership with the International Rescue Committee, the Welcome Home initiative will offer tours and activities in New York City and Northern California for recently resettled refugees.
TripAdvisor wants refugees to the United States to explore and get to know their new homeland, and the hospitality company’s yearlong Welcome Home campaign aims to do just that: launched last week, Welcome Home gives recently resettled refugees in New York City and parts of Northern California the opportunity to book a tour or activity of their choice through TripAdvisor Experiences, a category that offers travelers things to do in around 1,900 destinations globally.
The International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental organization that provides services to displaced people globally, is TripAdvisor’s partner in Welcome Home and is responsible for reaching out to newly resettled refugees to tell them about the initiative.
British national and IRC CEO David Miliband again….
The president and chief executive of the rescue committee, David Miliband, said that resettling refugees can be a daunting process. “They’ve been through trauma,” he said. “Booking a TripAdvisor Experience is a way to give these refugees an understanding of where they now live and help them integrate into their new communities.”
In New York City, refugees have more than 1,400 local experiences to choose from. They can take a four-hour group tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, for example, that departs from Battery Park and includes access to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Or, they can book a daylong tour via bus and boat to see some of the city’s top attractions such as the 9/11 Memorial, Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Most of the activities and tours usually cost between $50 and $130 each, but they are free for refugees, who can book them by using a TripAdvisor promo code that they receive from the rescue committee.
According to an I.R.C. spokesman, Welcome Home is focused on New York and Northern California because they’re areas that see a high number of refugee arrivals, compared with other places in the United States.
[Actually we resettle very few refugees in New York City because of the high cost of living, so when you read this carefully you see that asylees and other immigrants are eligible for the goodies too—ed]
This isn’t the first time that TripAdvisor has teamed with the I.R.C.: the company initially got involved in the refugee crisis in 2015 by sending an email plea to its more than 100 million members for donations to help refugees and offering to match these contributions — in 48 hours, the initiative raised $1.4 million for the I.R.C. as well as for the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. In 2016, the company committed $5 million to the crisis, and a large portion of these funds went to the I.R.C.
Yippee! More money for “moneybags” Miliband’s nearly $700,000 annual salary! (See previous post for top salaries at the IRC.)
We have long known and reported that Marriott needs cheap immigrant labor (just as the meat packing industry does), so no surprise that Marriott is linked to the IRC as well.
The NYT continues….
Marriott International, for one, began supporting the I.R.C.’s Hospitality Link program in 2016 initially as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which Marriott later acquired that year. Hospitality Link is an eight-week program in various cities that trains resettled refugees in hospitality skills and helps them find careers in the field. Marriott International supports Hospitality Link in San Diego and Dallas, and in 2018, helped expand it to Elizabeth, N.J. Part of the training involves refugees shadowing existing employees in the company’s hotels, said Melissa Flood, Marriott’s vice president for social impact and public affairs.
Since the collaboration began, around 650 refugees have enrolled in the Marriott-supported programs, with nearly 100 now employed at various companies, including some of Marriott International’s hotels, Ms. Flood said.
See more here at the New York Times.
TripAdvisor probably thinks there is nothing to lose with this campaign. I’m not so sure!