Intrepid, Uniworld Leaders Named USTOA’s 2023 Future Lights of the Tour Marketplace


The United States Tour Operators Affiliation (USTOA) has picked two professionals as the organization’s 2023 Potential Lights of the Tour Business. 

Julie Higgins, the lodge operations director and sustainability officer at Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and Mikey Sadowski, vice president of worldwide communications at Intrepid Vacation, are the recipients of this year’s award. 

“Julie and Mikey exemplify are, in fact, vibrant lights who will aid information our sector to a additional sustainable and equitable long term,” reported Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Seeing the strides that our tour operator users are taking towards accountable procedures and action delivers assure of a dazzling future in vacation and tourism, and we are delighted and very pleased to shine a mild on these tales.”    

Decreasing cruise food stuff waste 
As Uniworld’s sustainability officer, Higgins spearheaded the river cruise line’s recent marketplace-major food stuff squander reduction initiative. In 2020, she commenced hunting for a suitable program to lessen foods squander on ships. Beneath her leadership, Uniworld chose Leanpath as its squander management program, which went into impact in August 2021, earning it the to start with river cruise line with this kind of a technique. 

“We vacation since we want to see the destinations all over the entire world, be immersed in the cultures we’re viewing, get pleasure from the stunning landscapes all over us,” Higgins instructed TMR. “That is normally what encouraged me to journey, and it should really be unavoidable that we are preserving almost everything although we travel and not destroying it or bringing detrimental impact all over the place we go. It is significant to make absolutely sure men and women will always be capable to vacation for the love of journey and convey very good to the sites they are going to.” 

With specific gadgets from Leanpath, Uniworld is now able to monitor the volume of foodstuff squander currently being generated and why it is remaining thrown out. Higgins was on board for the rollout of the program and stories that personnel on the ships have tailored well and are energized to be component of the new technique. Uniworld has now diminished its food squander by 39% throughout its entire fleet, Higgins claimed, with the objective of hitting 50% reduction by 2025. 

Higgins, who has been with the business for 20 many years, is also foremost the cost to get Uniworld to web zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Leading DEI in marketing 
In a very first for the travel sector, Sandowski labored with 6 external consultants to build Moral Promoting Recommendations for Intrepid. The framework aims to maintain the corporation accountable to diversity and inclusion criteria by guaranteeing that its content spouse pool identifies at minimum 50% BIPOC, 10% plus-measurement, 10% LGBTQIA+, 10% Indigenous. 

Sadowski also direct the launch of an party sequence of BIPOC material creator mentorship outings in partnership with Nomadness Journey Tribe, one particular of the world’s greatest communities of BIPOC travelers, to aid elevate emerging and well-known influencers. 

Matt Berna, president of The Americas at Intrepid, mentioned that for extra than a 10 years, Sadowski has “always brought the vitality and innovative wondering to make us superior.” 

“This honor is a big recognition of his challenging perform in the function room,” Berna said. “Mikey is continuously imagining of methods we can go on to drive Intrepid’s progress towards getting a genuinely accountable and inclusive tour operator. 

“This journey is generally evolving, and we know that we still have get the job done to do,” he added. “We hope these attempts can inspire other marketplace gamers to provide diversity and inclusion to the forefront of decision building, whether it’s in advertising or designing journeys, or considering the intersectionality of sustainability as they make out climate-mindful travel options.” 

USTOA introduced the Upcoming Lights of the Tour Market application in alignment with the topic of its 50th anniversary, 50 years forward, in 2022. Higgins and Sadowski will be honored at the USTOA Annual Convention and Market in Los Angeles on Dec. 2-6, 2023.

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