A Year In Recovery
Closing the books on 2021 looks vastly different than a year ago. I’m delighted to report that our recovery in travel and international education is underway!
ATA in the World
In 2021, often despite long odds and unique challenges, we made travelers’ and students’ travel dreams come true in many places around the world:
- We paired travel and gastronomy on culinary trips led by brilliant chefs and food writers, including Nancy Silverton, Ruth Reichl, Laurie Ochoa and Edward Lee. (Chef-led experiences)
- Early in the year, when American students could not cross international borders, we operated successful international student programs in China; virtual language programs for Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic; a DC-based internship program for Dickinson College; custom language training in Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic; AND a virtual internship program with students interning remotely for organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Greater China, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Jordan.
- We paid tribute to the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor during a commemorative week in Hawaii that travelers shared with civilian and military survivors. (Smithsonian Journeys)
- As New York theater reemerged, we invited travelers “into the room where it happens” for a week of behind-the-curtain conversations, workshops, performances and discussions with creatives and creators of the theater world. (New York Times Journeys)
- We helped a family celebrate a father’s 91st birthday in Andalusia, Spain. (Private group)
- We oversaw the return of study abroad programs as our first groups of students from the US headed out to Prague (CET Film Production at FAMU) and Jordan (Wellesley College Custom Program).
- We facilitated the unveiling of a permanent marker in Amsterdam at the very site where John Adams, America’s First Ambassador to the Netherlands, accepted banker Jan Willink’s funds in 1782 to help finance the American Revolution. (Daughters of the American Revolution)
We welcomed the following new partners to the ATA family in 2021!
Back in DC: Our Priorities at Headquarters to "Build Back Better"
We made significant progress this year in two areas critical to our evolution as an organization.
- Led by our JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) facilitators, each department within the company shared its annual progress report on our anti-racism action plan.
- We created a decarbonization fund and named Cool Effect as our investment partner. We will also join other tourism industry colleagues in signing the Glasgow Declaration.
Watch for more progress reports in these areas in 2022!
Our Incredible Team
Despite spending most of the year working physically apart from each other, we cherished the occasions where we did get see each other! Our “hybrid” plan to return to the office in 2022 will balance flexibility with “irreplaceable moments of togetherness” that foster our sense of community, collaboration, synergy, and serendipity!
Our Thanks and Gratitude
Never have our partnerships, both personal and professional, been tested more than during the last two years. We have new insight into each other’s lives: we’ve met each other’s kids, pets, and spouses who’ve wandered into our virtual meetings. We’ve held space for each other during our bleakest moments, and shared concerns about the health of our travelers, students and teams. Yet, our collective wins have been especially sweet, and celebrating them will never again be taken for granted.
May we carry our resilience, courage, sense of humor, and commitment into the years ahead!
With fortitude and optimism for all that awaits us in 2022,