TripAdvisor and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) today announce the ‘Welcome Home’ campaign. The campaign focuses on one of the four key areas of TripAdvisor’s long-term commitment to the IRC – supporting and strengthening refugee resettlement opportunities – and aims to provide incoming refugees and asylum seekers with welcoming, positive and familiarizing experiences in their new hometowns.
The refugee crisis and resettlement
The global refugee crisis has now created the largest mass displacement of people in history, and millions have been forced to leave their homes, livelihoods and everything familiar to begin the daunting process of resettling in new countries, including the U.S.
The IRC provides vital services to displaced persons globally, including those who now face the unimaginably difficult challenge of re-starting their lives in the U.S. This help includes learning about life and customs in the United States, finding affordable housing, securing a job, integrating into a new community, learning English and more.
The ‘Welcome Home’ Campaign
The campaign offers displaced persons, being resettled in the U.S. by the IRC, an opportunity to explore and enjoy their new hometown, and learn about its history, culture and people.
Over the course of the next year, TripAdvisor Experiences, which offers the largest selection of things-to-do around the world, will work with IRC chapters in New York and California to distribute free access to tours, activities and experiences, helping recently resettled refugees assimilate in their new communities. IRC clients will be provided promo codes, redeemable for a local experience of their choosing.
The program kicked off on July 27th, with a day trip to Ellis Island for nearly 90 students of the Refugee Youth Summer Academy, an IRC program for newly arrived refugee, asylee, and other vulnerable immigrant youth that provides them with the skills and resources to succeed in the New York City public school system. Along with dedicated tour guides and interpreters, students learned about the country’s rich history of immigration and inclusion, and saw where some 12 million immigrants arrived to begin their new lives in the U.S. The tour was provided in partnership with New York Tour1, and is bookable on TripAdvisor.
“The process of re-starting your life in an unfamiliar city, country and culture is something few of us can imagine, and the work the IRC does to facilitate this process is both critical and commendable,” commented Steve Kaufer, CEO, TripAdvisor. “We’re in the midst of one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises of our time, affecting millions of lives around the world. This program, combined with our ongoing extensive financial support for the IRC, is only a tiny fraction of what’s sorely needed, but we’re honored to play even a small role. We hope to provide a day of discovery and belonging in what is an otherwise daunting and incredibly difficult process, and we remain committed to our long-term partnership with the IRC.”
“Refugees overcome the near impossible to reach safety, rebuild their lives and create a better future for their families. Integrating into a new community and culture can be difficult but refugees are eager to create a new home, bringing a dynamism, zeal for life and work ethic that is unparalleled,” said David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “America has made its name as a sanctuary for refugees and business leadership has been important in that mission. Welcome Home will make it easier for refugees to assimilate into their new communities and is an important resource that will help individuals and families take a major step towards building a brighter tomorrow. It is great to see a new generation of America’s business leaders stepping up, and we are grateful to TripAdvisor for their ongoing leadership and support.”
Donations to the IRC can be made here. Contributions will assist in refugee resettlement efforts, as well in providing health services, education, employment opportunities, or other life-saving and life-changing services for refugees in the United States and around the world.