New Creative Collaborations
We are delighted to announce two new partnerships that recently launched:
American Girl Vacations debuted on June 25. Creating innovative family travel experiences through the lens of American Girl’s courageous characters had been on the drawing board at ATA for several years. We have long admired the brand’s values, authenticity, and commitment to historical accuracy.
Chef Edward Lee’s Kentucky Bourbon Experience came together one night over dinner, when Senior Program Manager Samantha Barrie described to Lee and his wife Dianne how chefs could tell their own stories, share their passion for food and culture, and amplify their philanthropic mission by leading unique travel experiences. Samantha worked with Chef Lee to curate an itinerary full of special access and behind-the-scenes experiences that will delight Bourbon lovers.
Increasing Racial Representation on Future Programs
In the months following the release of the company’s Anti-Racism Action Plan, our teams took action to improve racial representation throughout the travel experiences we are creating. Our Zagat New Orleans program spends a full day exploring Treme, home to free people of color before the Civil War, as well as the history of Black-owned restaurants in the city. The day’s highlight is a private lunch at Dooky Chase’s, a meeting place for big names in music and entertainment, Civil Rights, and culture since 1941. Our Guest Services team is improving our pre-departure resources by applying an anti-racism lens and ensuring that all stories and voices of the local community are reflected. For example, we have revised our background materials on New Orleans to incorporate its Native American history and highlight all local food traditions equally, including Creole, Cajun and Soul Food in our culinary descriptions.
ATA's Vaccine Requirement
Last month’s CDC’s guidance that fully vaccinated people can now travel domestically and internationally, followed by EU countries re-opening to vaccinated Americans, was the news we have been waiting for! Therefore, we decided that for the safety of our groups and the communities we visit, as well as for a more relaxed travel experience, we will be requiring proof of vaccination on our departures for anyone 12 years old and older, including our Experts, Tour Managers, and Local Staff. We anticipate that validation of vaccination will be a requirement for entry into most international destinations as borders re-open.
We're Returning to the Office!
After Labor Day, DC area staff will return to our downtown office. Many of you have seen our office in the heart of the city, projecting a 1904 façade on to Connecticut Avenue, just south of Dupont Circle. We designed the space with collaboration, reflection, and light in mind, from our “soft space” living room to our sun-filled café and our glass walls along the M Street side. We have learned in the past year that we are experts at virtual work and can navigate all the technical challenges of being remote. However, what we have missed are the face-to-face interactions, the collaborative idea-sharing, the osmosis of learning that can only occur when we are physically close. This is why we are excited to return to the office. This time, our employees have the added freedom to work from home up to twice a week. Different teams are coordinating their overlap with their colleagues and other groups to maximize collaborative time and reconnect.
As we revive from this pandemic, it is all the more important for us to carry forth the lessons that we have learned; to work closely together; to help new members of our team integrate; to immerse ourselves in the culture and ties that have won us two Top Workplace awards; to support our city as it revives; and to build an ever brighter future. We’re back, DC!