Why small businesses need our help now more than ever
We started TROVE initially as a way to scratch our never-ending travel itch, but our reason for being quickly grew into something much, much bigger. After talking to chefs and artisans around the world, our eyes were opened to the impact of the pandemic on small businesses and individuals who rely on travelers.
Mexico, Spain, and Italy have been dramatically impacted due to their dependence on revenue from visitors. Travelers to these countries contributed to 15.5%, 14.3%, and 13% of their GDP last year respectively, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). To make matters worse, Italy and Spain were struggling economically before the pandemic, with high levels of public debt and unemployment rates.
The tough part, which many of us are feeling daily, is the unknown. When will the world open up again? When it does open back up, what will travel and the global economy look like? Small businesses and many of the skilled chefs, artisans, and local experts who are passionate about teaching and sharing what they love about their city have been hit the hardest. Betty, our Florence artist, explains how she felt the dramatic impact of COVID on her watercolor classes: “it was night and day this year versus last summer.” The majority of the people who joined her watercolor city tours were from the United States and summer was typically a busy season. Pat shared with us how COVID hit her really hard personally: "My huge passion is cooking & people. You can only imagine how I suffered during my lockdown in Florence. It’s a really big gift to be able to connect with beloved guests through TROVE again. I can't wait to welcome you into my kitchen.”
Neither Betty nor Pat had taught virtual classes before COVID, and we’ve been learning together to be able to bring all of you a live stream from their homes! We are determined to help small businesses around the world adapt during this time and connect to curious US travelers like you who are at home during this time. That's why we've committed to giving 20% of all profits directly to the featured chef and artisan. We can’t imagine a world that no longer has these artisans, chefs, and local experts, and want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help support and celebrate them.
Thank you so much for your support of TROVE and small businesses around the world! We could not do this without all of you!!
Emilie & Erika