One of Explore Asheville’s four strategic imperatives is Encourage Safe & Responsible Travel. As part of this commitment, Explore Asheville hosted a webinar on Tuesday, August 3 on how partners can take part in these efforts, called “Responsible Travel & Sustainability in Tourism.”

The webinar featured a presentation from Tourism Cares, followed by an update from Explore Asheville on related initiatives and how local partners can take part in these efforts. We wrapped up the webinar with a panel of local tourism partners who are embracing sustainability measures in their businesses.

With the rise in cases of COVID from the Delta variant and this strategic pillar’s focus on safety in addition to responsible travel, a special segment was added at the beginning of the webinar with Fletch Tove, Buncombe County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

View Webinar (in full or by segment) 

Top, from left: Keynote speaker Jessica Flores; Panelists Leah Ashburn, Jessie Dean. Bottom: Panelists Peter Pollay, J Smilanic, Shelton Steele

Keynote Speaker Jessica Flores, Chief Experience Officer for ‘Tourism Cares’

Jessica Flores serves as the Chief Experience Officer of Tourism Cares, maximizing the organization’s engagement and impact to best serve the people and places of travel.

Finding Tourism Cares shortly after graduating with a degree in Communications and Public Relations, Jessica has been a part of the organization for more than 13 years. Her love of travel grew as she began connecting with travel communities around the world and her passion continues through activating tourism professionals to turn sustainable tourism from a niche to main practice in the industry.

Jessica serves on the Future of Tourism Coalition’s Communications Committee and has been named one of the Rising Stars: Top 100 Young Professionals in Travel.”

Local Tourism Partners Panel Discussion

Local tourism partners shared how they are embracing sustainability measures in their businesses.