FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Barbara, CA, based startup Prontopia is organizing a multi-city global cleanup together with local partners in Venice, Rome, and Florence, Italy, and at its headquarters in Santa Barbara, California, to raise awareness of sustainable tourism issues and how tourism contributes to the problem of microplastics and pollution. Together with their partners in each city, Prontopia is advocating for plastic free travel industry policies.
Prontopia’s vision for responsible travel and sustainable cities centers on a community model of people helping people. The company’s innovative app provides on-demand help to travelers in walkable cities, when and where they need it. As a peer-to-peer platform, they value the opportunity to raise awareness about local problems of overtourism and support grassroots solutions among travelers and residents.
In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, California travel tech startup Prontopia will join forces with local non-profit organizations and other partners in hospitality to coordinate teams of volunteers to clean the Venice lagoon, the banks of the Arno in Florence, the Tiber river in Rome, and the beaches of Santa Barbara, Californiain a “Plastic Free” awareness event.
According to the Institute of Marine Science – National Council of Research,“Recent studies have highlighted that there is a massive spread of trash in all world seas, especially of plastic, which is 70% of it.” Generating awareness of ocean conservation in high-traffic tourist areas like Venice, Italy, is of paramount importance to implementing sustainable solutions. Prontopia is working together with the nascent organization Plastic Free Venice Lagoon as well as citizen groups and environmental organizations in each city to create an event that brings together residents, travelers, and international organizations in recognition of the need for positive action toward systemic change to combat the negative effects of overtourism and its consequences, such as pollution in waterways.
“A cleaner community is a happier community and we should all take pride in the places we live.” Davide Poletto, General Coordinator of the event “Plastic Free Venice Lagoon,”notes that the, “Venice lagoon, for its conformation, nature and specially for the high impact human activities coming from massive tourism and in its continuous growth, is specifically exposed to the diffusion of plastic trash and relative micro-plastics.”
The Prontopia app provides a safe and simple way for travelers to get in-person help easily with getting around the city. This model also provides the company with valuable feet-on-the-street networks for sharing information from among the locals about their viewpoints on what is needed for better quality of life in Venice, Florence, and Rome in the management of high-volume tourist traffic. The diffusion of plastic trash in these cities poses a risk to both the local environment, and the escalating global problem. The goal of the event is to show the power of unity in numbers in social action, across multiple cities at the same time.
In Prontopia’s California headquarter city of Santa Barbara, Prontopia and strategic partner Maps.com in consultation with clean water watchdog organization Channel Keeper are mobilizing local team members to not only clean the creeks and beaches, but also to contribute to Channel Keepers’ research by documenting the trash that volunteers collect to help with their mission to monitor water systems and engage citizens in implementing solutions to water pollution. Channel Keepers is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a coalition of 200 grassroots groups on six continents collectively patrolling and protecting over 1.5 million square miles of watersheds and defending local communities’ right to clean water. John Glanville, CEO of Maps.com emphasizes that, “Data collection and access to maps is an essential part of protecting habitat, understanding climate change, and adapting green alternatives for your community, for your home, and while traveling the globe
In Venice, Florence, and Rome, Prontopia engages with local organizations and businesses in proactive change efforts to ensure the city remains a living city for residents, creating measurable solutions to the problems of overtourism. “We knew that by providing these local connections in the service, we would have a golden opportunity to also provide a model for corporate responsibility,” said Prontopia founder and CEO, Shannon Kenny. “When travelers connect to locals in a way in which they are oriented toward respect – extending a hand to say ‘Welcome to the city, I live here,’ – that is the first step toward global citizenship, and caring about the place.”
Kenny continues, “It has been an honor as a company to collaborate with our amazing Prontopia Locals together with our local partners and even some travelers who participated in our Venice lagoon plastic free trash cleans up efforts over the past year. We have seen how these events created better awareness among travelers that we should try to leave no trace wherever we are. As we have grown to add additional cities this year, we now have an even stronger community to effect change, and to understand how we are connected. If we all travel conscientious about the local problems of pollution around the globe, we can leave each city a little better than we found it. This is our biggest hope for Prontopia.”
Today in Venice, Florence, and Rome an exceptional community of Prontopia Locals enjoys helping visitors to the city with getting where they need to go. Along the way, travelers can learn special details about local life, and discover unique places to eat, shop, and learn about local culture and daily life.
In addition to practical help, the Prontopia app is a unique opportunity to get to know the city from the perspective of a local. The app serves as a citizen platform, empowering local residents to use tourism to make their city a better place to live. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, treating visitors as “temporary residents” helps ensure that residents, hosts, and guests all serve the common good by relating to each other respectfully. This perspective helps prevent problems of overtourism, occurring when the interests of tourism override those of the local community.
Prontopia provides an app that connects travelers with vetted on-demand locals who arrive by foot to provide expert assistance any time the need arises. The locals that work with Prontopia know the best way to get to city lodging and meeting points, or to a departure point on time when door-to-door by car is not an option. Using Prontopia takes the stress out of transitional moments in travel when a smile and knowledgeable support from a Local, as if you are met by a long lost cousin, make all the difference.
Maps.com provides geographic content and services to industries as diverse as travel, real estate, media, government, logistics and analytics, education, nonprofits, and Ecommerce. Maps.com provides solutions that change customers’ perspectives on geography and the world. Learn more at Maps.com.
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Prontopia is an online service that provides friendly, in-person help from pre-vetted local assistants in city centers in Italy, Spain and the U.S.