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The Future of Meaningful Travel with Jessica Flores

Travel makes us better people. But can it make the places we visit better too?

Jessica Flores believes it can. As the chief experience officer of Tourism Cares, she has dedicated her career to helping the travel industry understand its potential for positive impact. She joins this episode of the Gather and Go podcast to tell us about how meaningful travel experiences enrich the lives of everyone involved.

Jessica shares insights on how to make a trip more meaningful than just a vacation and gives us some practical tips for investing in a more sustainable tourism future. Plus, we have news about downturns at some popular tourism destinations; a Road Tip about how to handle large souvenirs; and a Hot Minute about whether tourism is leaving the middle class behind.

Insights from Jessica Flores:

On understanding meaningful travel:

“It’s really important when we think of sustainability, meaningful travel, responsible travel, whatever you call it – there’s always a balance between social and environmental impact.”

“Meaningful travel impacts guests in a way that is experiential, immersive, and engages them in a deeper understanding of people and place.”

On the power of the travel industry:

“As travelers, we’re going into someone’s home. As travel companies, we have the power to make those places better, just by the decisions we’re making.”

On building a sustainable travel future:

“For me, the vision that all tourism is sustainable tourism is where we need to be. But that’s going to take a lot of work.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Learn more about Tourism Cares at

Learn more about the Meaningful Travel Map here.

Follow Tourism Cares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Get our free Travel Toolbox download at

Key Moments From This Episode

1:08 — Travel News: A summer slowdown at Disney World?

2:31 — Road Tip: Shipping souvenirs back home

7:17 — Our most popular free resource

10:56 — How Jessica Flores found her tourism calling

13:36 — The story of Tourism Cares

18:14 — What is meaningful travel, anyway?

21:28 — How meaningful travel impacts the customer experience

25:13 — How to find meaningful travel experiences

31:52 — What happens at a Tourism Cares event?

36:00 — What will the future of meaningful travel look like?

44:51 — Hot Minute: Is tourism leaving the middle class behind?

About the Podcast

Gather and Go with Brian Jewell is a tourism podcast that helps group travel leaders plan, promote and lead better trips. Each episode reaches thousands of professional tour operators, travel agents and the volunteer group leaders they serve. The audience also includes destination marketers, museum leaders, church travel leaders and other tourism enthusiasts around the world. Each show includes a featured conversation with a smart and influential travel leader. You’ll also hear travel news, road tips and more. New episodes are released about twice monthly.

You can find Gather and Go wherever your listen to podcasts or subscribe by email.

Have questions, comments or ideas for the show? Send them to us at

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