isabel kearney

Holiday Advisor experience in Cyprus resorts

Isabel on duty in the office

Isabel on duty in the office

Destinations Programme Officer Isabel Kearney and Industry Programmes Officer Jasmine Stevens Wong recently spent a week in Cyprus with TUI UK & Ireland experiencing the work of a Holiday Advisor first hand. Isabel reports back from the trip…

We arrived at Paphos airport with our Thomson and First Choice staff t-shirts carefully packed in our suitcases, having done the online Holiday Advisor training and full of trepidation about what the week would hold for us.

The itinerary that TUI put together for us was packed and we were able to visit a number of different TUI products, ranging from Gold hotels, which are traditionally for over 60s, to Holiday Villages aimed at families, and hotels just for couples. We enjoyed entertainment including Thomson’s lottery, First Choice’s Widget puppets, resident singing duos and a comedian.

Jasmine prepares for a welcome meeting

Jasmine prepares for a welcome meeting

We met very dedicated Holiday Advisors, who worked hard to meet their customer service and sales targets, and ensure their customers had a great holiday – whether it was recommending the best excursion for a couple with difficulties walking, or taking part in aqua aerobics by the pool. We did our best to help with customer enquiries, booked hire cars, took part in poolside PR and assisted with the welcome and departure meetings.

As part of the week, we had the opportunity to spend three nights in Ayia Napa with the 2wentys Holiday Advisors and saw the difference between a 2wentys welcome meeting and one for couples, as well as going on a guided bar crawl ending in a UV paint party.

You may be wondering what going to UV paint parties with 18 year olds in Ayia Napa has to do with our roles within the Travel Foundation…

The whole experience has given us a deeper understanding of mainstream tourism and the challenges Holiday Advisors and Reps face in resort, so that we can design sustainable tourism projects that are more achievable and will have a greater impact in destinations.

Seeing for ourselves the challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainability in destinations will guide us in developing focused industry training. We’d like to pass on our thanks to TUI UK & Ireland for creating this trip, which was a first for the Travel Foundation.

Serra Negra beach clean in Cape Verde for World Oceans Day

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde

To celebrate World Oceans Day and Make Holidays Greener Month, the Travel Foundation worked with the Sal-based NGO SOS Tartarugas to organise a beach clean in Serra Negra, Cape Verde.

25 participants collected approximately 700kg of rubbish over 3.5 hours, including fishing nets, plastic boxes, wood and glass – enough to fill three pick-up trucks.

Members of the Sal Destination Council kindly supported the beach clean:

  • APP (water and electricity company) donated 100 rubbish bags
  • Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea donated 25 litres of drinking water and rubbish bags
  • RIU Hotel donated 30 bottles of juice, rubbish bags and cups
  • Guiantur, the Association of Tourist Guides, gave use of their pick-up truck
  • City Hall of Sal donated rubbish bags

The event was also supported by the Protected Areas Project, which provided a pick-up truck and driver, and School Kim Barbosa, which provided catering equipment. A traditional Cape Verdean hearty stew called cachupa was made by a lady called Felipa for the beach clean team.

Serra Negra beach clean, Sal, Cape Verde - Cachupa time

The Travel Foundation’s National Programme Manager for Cape Verde, Débora Abu-Raya said, “Despite the amount of rubbish we collected from Serra Negra, we still have a long way to go before the beach is clear of plastic. As our Better Beaches project progresses, we’re hoping to encourage more local residents and visitors to come to beach cleans and take better care of the beach environment. I’m sure we will get there!”

By Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme Officer

Cape Verde Destination Council welcomes new sustainable tourism projects

Destination Council in Sal, Cape Verde

Destination Council in Sal, Cape Verde

Destinations Programme Officer Isabel Kearney gives an update from Cape Verde…

Last week, 18 members of the Destination Council for Sal, Cape Verde, met at Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea. The Destination Council was set up by the Travel Foundation to bring together key tourism stakeholders including the Ministry of Tourism, local government, NGOs, hotels, tour operators and ground agents.

Collectively the council is working towards a vision of Sal as “a welcoming, clean and beautiful island, full of Cape Verdean culture, tradition, craft and music. A destination recognised internationally for sustainability, protecting the environment and involving local communities”.

sal-cape-verde-children

During the meeting National Programme Manager Débora Abu-Raya gave members an update on the Travel Foundation’s three new projects in SalBetter Beaches, Discover the Real Sal, and Cape Verdean Craft – and the council discussed how they could get involved in activities and involve other stakeholders.

sal-cape-verde-beach

Questions were raised about how to deal with stray dogs on the beaches and the quantity of litter being washed up – members who had organised beach cleans shared shocking stories of the amount of litter collected in just one hour. Through the Better Beaches project, and with the cooperation of residents and visitors to Sal, the Travel Foundation hopes to improve the beach environment so that it can be enjoyed by more people.

Débora said, “I’m really pleased that the second Destination Council meeting went so well. Members are engaged in the projects and showed real passion for turning Sal into a sustainable tourism destination.”

Over the coming months, the Destination Council will be working on a joint action plan in order to achieve this vision for Sal, as well as contributing resources towards a beach clean for World Oceans Day on 8 June.

Beach clean in Cape Verde

Sal beach clean

To celebrate World Turtle Day, Isabel Kearney, Travel Foundation’s Destinations Programme Officer for Cape Verde took part in a beach clean on 25th May in Sal. The beach clean, which was organised by SOS Turtles, saw local residents and the SOS Turtles team come together on Kite Beach to collect litter. Isabel said:

“Despite being the most popular of Sal’s beaches for kite surfers, I was surprised by how much rubbish we collected – we filled twelve large bags in an hour with plastic jerry cans, bits of fishing nets and broken glass bottles.”

Isabel is in Sal for two weeks working with National Programme Manager Débora Abu-Raya visiting the Travel Foundation’s projects and attending the Destination Council.

For more information on the Travel Foundation’s work in Cape Verde, please visit our project pages and if you are in the travel industry, sign up for a beach clean as part of this July’s Make Holidays Cleaner campaign.