Rick Steves' Travel Empire Is on Hold so He's Paying His Employees to Serve Their Communities

It's one more reason to love the travel legend.

Rick Steves
Photo: Rick Steves' Europe

Rick Steves, the famed travel guru, isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic stop him or his employees from continuing to earn a paycheck. Though, not in the way that you think.

As NBC affiliate station King5 reported, Steves currently employees 100 people as part of his travel media empire. Throughout the pandemic, most of the normal parts of his business have remained closed. In fact, as Steves notes, he had some 20,000 people signed up for tours in Europe throughout 2020, however, he had to cancel every single trip and refund everyone their money. But, as Steves told King5, despite his company losing significant income he felt it was his “civic duty” to keep people employed, and to help his local community at the same time. To do both, Steves has pivoted many of his employees away from their normal duties and into local leaders.

"...We have created the Rick Steves’ Volunteer Corps (RSVC). My vision is to have the flexibility within our staff to accommodate personal needs and our company needs while offering a reliable and consistent workforce for the needs of the community projects we’re supporting," Steves explained of his new venture.

This means, rather than sitting idly by, Steves’ employees are out in the Snohomish County in Washington State working with local food banks, cleaning up hiking trails, and lending their services wherever they are needed.

"We’d like to be sure the people running those programs can count on steady, substantial, and reliable help from us, rather than wonder if tomorrow’s shift will be covered," Steves said. He added, the program importantly provides his staff with “the dignity of producing something of value for the hours they’re being paid. And we hope it will inspire other companies in a similar circumstance to also contribute — by helping those struggling in their community as we are in ours.”

Check out the entire interview with Steves and find out more about his philanthropic work here.

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