AdventureTravelNews

Thomson Announces Sustainable Tourism Commitments at The Economist Sustainable Business Summit

Luton, ENGLANDTUI (Thomson and First Choice) the UK’s leading tour operator, has announced 20 sustainable travel commitments for 2011. Launched at The Economist’s Sustainable Business Summit, the ambitious three year commitments reinforce the company’s position at the forefront of sustainable tourism – it is the only travel company to introduce such wide ranging and measurable objectives.

The commitments, set to be achieved by 2014, represent the next stage in TUI’s Holidays Forever strategy, which brings all of its environmental and socio-economic policies under one umbrella. Building on the success of the first 20 commitments introduced last year, the announcement demonstrates TUI’s ongoing efforts to increase awareness among British holidaymakers of the need to make sustainable holiday choices. By 2014 it will have actively engaged with over 1 million customers in sustainable tourism.

The commitments include major steps towards the continuing reduction of TUI’s carbon footprint in the air and on the ground, both in its UK operations and holiday destinations worldwide, as well as its drive to make its hotels more sustainable by helping 90% of them become Travelife awarded by 2014. This innovative ABTA-supported scheme recognises hotels that care for the environment, employees and local communities.

In addition the commitments increase volunteering opportunities for TUI staff – extending Project Discovery, its overseas volunteering scheme, as well as creating more UK opportunities. Over half a million children will also be engaged in sustainable tourism through resort-based Kids Clubs, as well as in schools across the UK.

Christian Cull, Director of Communications, said at The Economist Sustainable Business Summit: “TUI is committed to raising awareness and converting that into actions, by making it easy for our customers to make sustainable choices when holidaying abroad.

“While we have been leading the industry on sustainable travel for some time now, these are three-year commitments which give us the long term vision and the necessary framework to really drive change. Our hope is that where we lead, others will follow.”

The full 20 commitments are available on the Holidays Forever microsite. Some of the key 2011 sustainable travel commitments announced include reducing the number of holiday brochure pages TUI prints by 10% over three years – that’s 380 million fewer pages. TUI will also work with its suppliers to reduce the carbon emissions from brochure distribution, and reduce paper by replacing printed ticket booklets with e-ticketing. Using bespoke TUI sustainability guidelines Thomson will achieve industry-leading environmental standards for all First Choice Holiday Villages, Thomson Sensatori and Thomson Couples hotels supporting these hotels to reduce their carbon and water footprint. By investing in clean energy and energy efficiency projects in destination countries will save more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. As well as helping the environment, these World Care Fund projects also benefit local communities through sustainable development. Engaging with half a million children in sustainable tourism by educating children who come on family holidays through Thomson Kids’ Clubs, TUI will also help schools in the UK teach children how they can make a difference on holiday.

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