TripAdvisor & The International Rescue Committee Help Acquaint Newly-Arrived Refugees With Their New Hometowns

TripAdvisor has supported the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since 2015. This year, we’re teaming up to help newly arrived refugees get to know their new hometowns as they start their lives in the U.S. This is the Welcome Home campaign…

To find out more, read on! If you can’t spare the time but can spare a little cash, you can make a donation here. Your support makes a huge difference – thank you.

Refugee. Let’s just stop for a second and take another look at that word: Refugee. We hear it more and more, but the world seems to listen less and less. A global humanitarian crisis is raging, with unprecedented numbers of people abandoning their homes and livelihoods, leaving everything behind. Most flee with nothing except the hope that somewhere they’ll find safety.

Organizations like the IRC are working tirelessly to ease this crisis. Part of their vital work is supporting refugees who have recently arrived in the US, helping them learn about life and customs in the United States, find affordable housing, secure a job, integrate into a new community, learn English and more – doing all they can to help new arrivals assimilate into their new communities. For the past three years, we’ve been supporting these efforts as part of a long-term commitment to strengthen refugee resettlement opportunities.

The Welcome Home Campaign

Over the course of the next year, TripAdvisor Experiences, which offers the largest selection of things-to-do around the world, will work with IRC chapters in New York and California to distribute free access to tours, activities and experiences, helping recently resettled refugees assimilate in their new communities. IRC clients will be provided promo codes, redeemable for a local experience of their choosing.

Through Welcome Home, we hope to provide refugees with positive and familiarizing experiences as they explore and experience their new communities, whether that be a walking tour with a seasoned local, a day out visiting their hometown’s iconic sites, or learning about its history and culture at a local museum.

The campaign kicked off on Friday, July 27, with a day trip to Ellis Island for nearly 90 students participating in the IRC’s Refugee Youth Summer Academy – a program where newly arrived refugee, asylee, and other vulnerable immigrant youth can develop the skills to succeed in the New York City public school system. With dedicated tour guides and interpreters, the students discovered the country’s rich history of immigration and inclusion, and saw where some 12 million immigrants arrived to begin their new lives in the U.S. The tour was provided in partnership with New York Tour1, and is bookable on TripAdvisor.

Building A New Life

Have you ever thought just how difficult it would be starting your life from scratch in a different country? Official forms, letters, identification, documents, job applications, interviews, taxes, bank accounts… and all in a different, unfamiliar language.

Building your life from the ground up, particularly after fleeing a conflict-zone, is an unimaginably daunting task. For these new arrivals, the plane ride to the U.S. is just the beginning.

TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer comments, “The process of re-starting your life in an unfamiliar city, country and culture is something few of us can imagine, and the work the IRC does to facilitate this process is both critical and commendable. This program, combined with our ongoing extensive financial support for the IRC, is only a tiny fraction of what’s sorely needed, but we’re honored to play even a small role. We hope to provide a day of discovery and belonging in what is an otherwise daunting and incredibly difficult process, and we remain committed to our long-term partnership with the IRC.”

In what can be an overwhelming and disorienting time, Welcome Home hopes to  help new arrivals feel at home and familiarize themselves with new surroundings – whether that’s the geography, history, culture or people.

How Can I Help?

Donate to the IRC and you’ll be giving life-saving care to millions of refugees – people forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution or natural disaster. More than 89 cents in every dollar the IRC spends worldwide goes into providing immediate care. Donate today and you’ll be helping continue that vital work.


Active on social media? You can help by showing your support using the hashtag #WelcomeHome.