GDS, Travel Industry Cooperate On Health Initiative

An innovative travel-related fundraising initiative to help finance health care for the world's poor was launched by leading representatives of the global travel and tourism industry. Dubbed MassiveGood, the project was created by the Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance for Health, and will allow travelers to give a $2 ’micro-contribution’ every time they purchase travel services.

The funds will go towards fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries. The initiative has the potential to raise up to $1 billion in additional funding for global health during its first four years of operation, the groups say. The announcement was made on the first day of the UN General Assembly, during a meeting of the Task Force for Innovative Finance for Health, spearheaded by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, representing the industry at the announcement, stated: "As the leaders of an industry that is central to the global economy, generating almost one out of every ten dollars spent in the world and employing 220 million workers, we recognize this responsibility."

Leading representatives of the global travel and tourism industry joined in signing a declaration of principles committing their support to the Millennium Foundation and the launch of MassiveGood.

Signatories included the World Travel and Tourism Council; Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport, which represent the leading Global Distribution Systems (GDS), managing the world’s airline reservation networks; leading online travel agent Opodo; American Express Business Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, as travel management supporters; Voyageurs du Monde as a leisure travel agent supporter; Mondial Assistance as Call Center partner and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The technology solution for MassiveGood was developed by Amadeus, and can be integrated into all GDS systems and embedded in the regular booking system for airline tickets and other travel reservations. As a result, MassiveGood will make it easy for everyone who travels to make a small ($2) micro-contribution through a simple click each time they book their reservation, whether online or through an agent.

This is the first major fundraising initiative launched by the Millennium Foundation, whose mission is to mobilize new sources of innovative funding to achieve the three health-related Millennium Development Goals agreed to by the United Nations in 2000: to treat and fight life-threatening diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; to reduce childhood mortality; and to improve maternal health, the group says.