Month: April 2014

Make Holidays Greener: collecting litter at Sand Bay

In preparation for the Big Holiday Beach Cleanup in July, four members of Travel Foundation staff took part in a Marine Conservation Society (MCS) beach clean this morning.

Our team collected 3kg of litter, while the whole group of MCS volunteers managed to clear 100kg of rubbish from the beach at Sand Bay, North Somerset.

“It was a great day out and it felt really satisfying to take so much plastic out of the beach environment,” said Head of Communications Ben Lynam.

Make Holidays Greener Month will see Big Holiday Beach Cleanups take place across the world this July. If you work in travel and tourism and would like to organise a cleanup, you can find out more on the Travel Foundation website.


Saint Lucia cooking school embraces micro excursions manual

Jo-Anne Schultz and Herbert C Evans at The Little Lucian Cooking School

Jo-Anne Schultz and Herbert C Evans at The Little Lucian Cooking School

The Little Lucian Cooking School in Saint Lucia is reaping the benefits after staff attended a workshop based around the Travel Foundation’s manual for micro excursion providers.

Canadian chef Jo-Anne Schultz set up the school with local cook Herbert C Evans in 2012.

The Little Lucian 056 smaller“I am professionally trained in culinary arts with a human service background,” says Jo-Anne, “whereas Herbert is a true ambassador for Saint Lucia with his charming ways and vast knowledge of herbs, spices, customs and traditional food and its preparation.”

“From a young age, Herbert earned money for himself and his poor family cooking on the streets and selling his preparations by thrilling customers with his cooking and sales skills. Herbert is functionally illiterate so has learned all of his techniques and recipes through oral traditions.”

Herbert and Jo-Anne attended the Travel Foundation’s recent micro excursions workshop in St Lucia.

“Everything had such a huge impact on Herbert and really brought together many of the concepts towards developing a sustainable tour here in Saint Lucia,” says Jo-Anne.

“It was wonderful for Herbert to be greeted and engaged with by the presentation staff, the tourist board and all attendees as a valuable and welcomed player in the tourism industry. He left with a sense of pride and place as well as having a newly formed code of conduct that will forever change his approach to not just food handling and safety but also as a business owner.”

The Travel Foundation’s micro excursions manual helps small tourism enterprises and community groups around the world sell their excursions to outbound tour operators. The step-by-step guide gives practical advice on how to design an excursion, ensure that it is safe, set prices, start working with tour operators and provide excellent customer service.

Attendees from the Saint Lucia workshop will now be entered into a Dragon’s Den-style challenge, with a chance to win a trip to the Saint Lucia Showcase in London in September.

Download the free manual: Are you ready for business? How to sell excursions to UK tour operators

Interview: Turkish tourism graduate Gülşah Boztepe

Thanks to our scholarship programme with Thomas Cook, Gülşah Boztepe gained an undergraduate degree in tourism in 2011. The programme sponsored five female students to study tourism at Mugla University, giving them a chance to apply for well-paid jobs in Turkey’s growing tourism sector, which at the time was male-dominated.

We caught up with Gülşah to see what she’s been up to since her graduation…

Gülşah Boztepe

How has your life changed since completing your tourism degree in 2011?

With the support of Thomas Cook and the Travel Foundation, I had management training and tourism industry training and I worked with travel agencies in different departments. I have now continued to my career in accommodation and the hotel industry. I am interested in total quality management and sales and marketing. I am responsible for reservations and sales for two five star hotels in Marmaris. The hotels have 631 and 640 rooms.

On the other hand, in my academic career, I analysed what was missing from the Marmaris region in terms of sustainability, through interviews with hotel and travel agent managers. Finally I decided to start my Master’s degree. My Master’s thesis was about “Sustainable energy applications and use of renewable energy sources in accommodation establishments: the case of Marmaris”.

What have you learned about sustainable tourism and how will you use this in your career?

The environment, through the history of humanity, has suffered great devastation by humans. And we know that we need the environment. Nowadays, a lot of natural resources are faced with extinction. The tourism industry actively uses historical, cultural and natural resources. My mission is to try to raise awareness for efficient use of scarce resources and leave a liveable world for the future.

How does your family feel about your success?

My biggest supporter is my family. They helped me during my studies with constructive criticism and new ideas. They are always proud of me.

What are your hopes for the future?

I will study the expansion of sustainable tourism, development of the local economy, protection of local values and increasing use of renewable energy sources. Environmental resources are universal and we have to take care of them. I will continue my postgraduate studies in this field and continue with a doctoral degree.

I hope that we will work and prepare new projects, presentations and articles with Thomas Cook and the Travel Foundation again.

Handover ceremony at Rastafari Indigenous Village, Jamaica

The Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, Jamaica has been officially “handed over” at a ceremony to mark the end of a year-long upgrade project.

Master Straw Weaver Richard Miller

Master Straw Weaver Richard Miller. Photo: Rastafari Indigenous Village Facebook page

Established in 2007, the village is located in Irwin on the outskirts of Montego Bay.

The mission of its founders was to build a tangible, sustainable agro-artisan community to showcase the history, traditional practices and lifestyle of the Rastafari movement, which started in Jamaica in the 1930s.

The idea has always been to use tourism as a mechanism for long-term funding and as a way to preserve, celebrate and communicate Rastafari traditions for the benefit of national and international visitors.

In 2012, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund – Rural Economic Development Initiative (JSIF REDI) provided J$18M funding to upgrade the infrastructure of the village in order to meet international tourist attraction standards. The project came to a close in December 2013.

At the same time, the Travel Foundation provided villagers with in-kind training and development sessions on vision and mission, and group cohesion.

Annette Tingle at the handover ceremony

Annette Tingle at the handover ceremony

Annette Tingle, the Travel Foundation’s Jamaica Programmes Coordinator, was invited to attend the JSIF REDI handover ceremony on 4 April in Montego Bay.

She congratulated the village and expressed the Travel Foundation’s continued commitment, saying she “was very pleased that the Travel Foundation was recognised by the Rastafari Indigenous Village and JSIF as a valued partner that was willing to gift the village with time and expertise to support its development”.

The Travel Foundation will now work with the villagers to develop mainstream market links for their unique micro-excursion. Look out for more information here and on our project pages over the coming months.

Towards Travelife: Hotels celebrate Travelife awards

Four hotels in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura have achieved Travelife accreditation after taking part in the Towards Travelife pilot project.

Cordial Green Golf

Cordial Green Golf Hotel

Travelife is an internationally recognised award that helps consumers to identify sustainable hotels, tour operators and travel agents, while allowing businesses to improve and promote their sustainable practices.

Efren Armas Falcon, General Manager, Heliomar Apartment

Efren Armas Falcon, General Manager, Heliomar Apartment

Efren Armas Falcon, General Manager of Heliomar Apartment, which gained a Silver award, said, “Our activities aimed at improving our sustainability have been great for increasing staff engagement in this area plus we have been able to reduce our costs at the same time.

“We have also used our involvement in this project to think about the long term and take measures to be more sustainable in terms of improving our working environment for staff and reducing our chemical consumption.”

Frederick Sengewitz, Food and Beverage Manager at the Playitas Hotel (left) with Saray Hondarza, Secretary to the General Manager

Frederick Sengewitz, Food and Beverage Manager at the Playitas Hotel (left) with Saray Hondarza, Secretary to the General Manager

Frederick Sengewitz, Food and Beverage Manager at the Playitas Hotel, which achieved a Gold award, said, “We have seen a wide range of business benefits from improving our sustainability performance.

“For example increased profits at our supermarket selling local products; satisfying the requirements of tour operators; positive feedback from our guests, who like what we are doing; and cost savings from reducing our consumption of electricity, water and plastics.”

Hotel Riosol

Hotel Riosol

Towards Travelife supports hoteliers as they work towards Travelife certification. The scheme was implemented through a partnership between the Travel Foundation and the Corporate Responsibility team at Kuoni with delivery support from Leeds Metropolitan University and University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria.

Four hotels took part in the pilot project:

  • Cordial Green Golf (Gold)
  • Playitas Hotel (Gold)
  • Hotel Riosol (Gold)
  • Heliomar Apartments (Silver)

Read the Towards Travelife case studies


New Travel Lottery gets its first winner

Sarah Richards

Sarah Richards from Herefordshire has scooped £1,000 in the first ever Travel Lottery draw.

Mrs Richards bought the winning £2 ticket through Holiday Extras online, when booking her airport parking for a holiday to Egypt with

“This is a huge surprise!” she said. “We’ll be putting the money towards making our holiday really special. I was offered the opportunity to buy the ticket when booking my holiday with It was a quick and easy decision – and if we can win, anyone can!”

Winning tickets for the Travel Lottery will now be selected at the end of every month with prizes of up to £5,000 in each draw. At least 50p from every ticket goes directly to Travel Foundation projects.

Tickets are available when booking with Travel Lottery partners or online at

Chilean eco-lodge staff complete Go Greener Hotels training

Staff at an eco-lodge hotel in Chile have benefited from our Go Greener Hotels training after a small NGO,, translated the course into Spanish for them.

fotos taller seminario EDL2014 CROP

Nine employees at Espejo de Luna in Chiloé Island took part in a two-day workshop, and at the end of the training a staff environmental committee was formed.

“[The training] has helped us to deliver an accurate and easy methodology to control the ecological footprint of a hotel,” said Fabiola Marin Salgado, president of

fotos taller seminario 2 EDL2014

Go Greener Hotels is a free, web-based training quiz designed to help hotel staff understand why sustainability is important, and how their day-to-day activities can make a difference. The training consists of four modules:

  1. Sustainable tourism – what is it all about?
  2. Protecting the environment
  3. Think local, act local
  4. Communicating with guests

On completing the quiz trainees download a certificate, which can be used as part of a staff training and development programme.

Take the Go Greener Hotels training quiz at

Beekeepers in Mexico welcome donation of worm boxes

Beekeepers at our Melipona bee project in Mexico are benefiting from a donation of 15 worm composting boxes and one ton of worm fertilizer thanks to local NGO Aldea Verde.

Much Kaab Cooperative beekeepers with Francisco Niembro, Aldea Verde CEO (second from left) and Yuri Flores, the Travel Foundation's Mexico Programme Coordinator (right)

Much Kaab Cooperative beekeepers with Francisco Niembro, Aldea Verde CEO (second from left) and Yuri Flores, the Travel Foundation’s Mexico Programme Coordinator (right)

The new equipment will allow Much Kaab Cooperative to deal with waste generated at home and as a result of their soap and skincare production. The worm boxes will produce organic, chemical-free fertilizer, which can be used to improve soil conditions in the group’s bee nursery and vegetable gardens.

Aldea Verde CEO Francisco Niembro presented the donation in person, and delivered a workshop to give the beekeepers a better understanding of vermiculture and worm handling, and how this will benefit the Melipona bee project.

Much Kaab Cooperative member Adelaida Puc

Much Kaab Cooperative member Adelaida Puc

The alliance between Aldea Verde and the beekeeping cooperative is a result of Green Pledges arranged by the Travel Foundation at Green Expo 2013 in Mexico, with the aim of creating links between NGOs, local producers and the travel industry.

Compostamex and Palace Resorts helped with logistics, as the donation had to travel from the centre of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula.