Month: March 2015

20140703 Make Holidays Greener

Greener beaches, cleaner oceans

The Travel Foundation has teamed up with Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations to launch this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign, raising awareness of the need for cleaner, greener beaches.

Last year over 100 companies took part, in 22 countries, gathering up over 600 bags of rubbish (and therefore preventing it from entering the oceans and harming wildlife)!

“We’re delighted to have Travelife as a partner for the Make Holidays Greener campaign,” said Salli Felton, Chief Executive of the Travel Foundation. “The campaign looks set to be even bigger and better than last year.”

The global community is waking up to the issue of litter entering the oceans. If current trends continue then by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean.

Plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks into smaller pieces. In this form it is at its most dangerous, as small fish gobble up the microparticles and it works its way up the food chain.

The Big Holiday Beach Clean-up is an opportunity for the travel industry to do something positive about this issue and help keep it on the agenda. Getting involved in the campaign is a great way to show your customers and staff that you care, and to highlight your green credentials.

Companies can support the campaign by organising a beach clean during or before July and by sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter, using #greenerhols.

Please visit www.makeholidaysgreener.org.uk for a range of free resources, including how to organise a beach cleanup and top tips for customers.

microplastic

Dear diary…

Two weeks in the life of a volunteer

Every year, we work with TUI UK & Ireland to run Project Discovery – a volunteering programme that matches employee skills to Travel Foundation project needs. TUI employees apply for posts, cross their fingers, and the lucky ones get to immerse themselves in all things sustainable for a week or two. Designed to plug a gap in resources, volunteer experiences can often help to fulfill research needs for TF projects. For the first time, Project Discovery volunteers have travelled to a snowsports resort, organised by experts at Crystal Ski Holidays who added a touch of logistical magic!

Rosie and RobThe first volunteers of 2015, Robert Ansell (Assistant Product Manager) and Rosie Stanyer (Distribution Training Consultant), were “so excited when we found out we’d been selected to take part in the first Project Discovery to visit one of TUI’s specialist destinations – the French Alps”.

Thermals at the ready, off they headed tasked with finding out more about sustainability issues in the snow. They outline the mission for their trip below…

“Once we arrived in the ski resorts we were on a fact-finding mission to investigate what sustainability looks like in the resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs. Our two weeks in the mountains involved everything from self-guided orientations around the resorts to formal meetings with the town mayor, piste management companies and the tourist authority. The brief allowed us the flexibility to follow leads as we came across them and we ended up learning a great deal about the sustainable practices and considerations that go into running an alpine resort.”

Here are some highlights from Rob’s diary…

Day 1: St Pancras à Les Arcs

A very early start for a Saturday! Met Rosie at St Pancras at 08:30 to begin the trip and spent the day getting to know each other on the 9hr Eurostar ride. Got excited when passing Disneyland and even more excited when it started to snow as we approached the Alps. We discussed the approach to the meetings and what we wanted to get out of them.

The 8 hour journey flew by surprisingly fast and travelling by Eurostar the whole way was very comfortable. It’s definitely a viable, as well as more sustainable, alternative to flying.

DCIM100GOPRODay 4: Mayor, SAP & Tourist Office

Went across to La Plagne for a morning meeting with SAP quality managers and an afternoon one with the Mayor, the head of the tourism authority and the head of SAP. Was clear that there was a sense of pride in their home, a desire to do what they could to prolong it and they were all happy to talk about the work that they’re doing.

Day 5, 6 and 7:

A brilliant day of skiing with the ADS quality manager in Les Arc. She showed us a behind-the-scenes view of the area, stopping on runs to point out sustainability initiatives. Lots of writing up to do from meetings, fresh snow outside but we wanted to get it all down on paper while it was still in our minds! We met with various Crystal reps in the area to gather feedback based on their interactions with customers and time on the mountain.

A big highlight of the trip was going on a guided ski tour around Les Arcs with the resort’s Sustainability Manager. This experience really brought sustainability to life for us as we were able to see a range of piste management activities first-hand. Not only was our guide a great ambassador of sustainable practices, but the sheer number of initiatives that are in place to protect the surrounding ecology put the snowy slopes in an entirely different light for us. The best part about the whole experience was meeting local people and seeing just how invested they are in protecting the resorts from the negative effects of tourism; as far as they’re concerned they’re just protecting their homes.

Day 11: Time to hit the pistes!

Snowboarding! First day off and spent every minute of it enjoying the pistes. Rosie went DCIM100GOPROparagliding which was breathtaking, even just to watch, let alone how she must have felt!

Day 12 and 13:

Sat down with the Resort Team Manager and his rep team leaders. They had a good amount of experience between them, both from multiple seasons here and elsewhere so their comparison to other resorts was invaluable.

The information gathered by Robert and Rosie will feed into making improvements to the Greener Snowsports tool, help tour operators to work with snowsport resorts, and help businesses to operate more sustainably.

A pinch of Sal: a year of projects in Cape Verde

Volunteers Cape Verde

Volunteers in Cape Verde

Our three projects in Cape Verde – Better Beaches, Discover the Real Sal and Cape Verdean Craft – all launched in January 2014, with the aim of supporting the island of Sal to become a leader in sustainable tourism.

I visited Sal for the first time in May and was struck by its stark beauty and semi-lunar landscapes, and the carefree attitude of its residents. Life seems to dance around finding the perfect wave, followed by happy hour at a Santa Maria bar. Many visitors to Sal don’t have a chance to experience this side of Cape Verdean culture and I left hoping we might be able to change that.

Two particular achievements from 2014 really stand out for me. Firstly, creating the Travel Foundation’s first National Volunteering Programme, recruiting and training 12 volunteers who, from October to December, spent over 500 hours conducting surveys with residents and visitors and collecting data against Greener Beach criteria on eight beaches. The volunteers gained work experience, an insight into the tourism industry in Sal, and the chance to interact with people from different cultures.

Cape Verde craft training

Secondly, I’m particularly proud of the five day workshop we held with 15 craft producers and 11 vendors, covering topics such as costing and pricing, the green market and product design. Craft consultants Unearthed facilitated the training based on their decades of experience supporting producers in Africa, and I was lucky enough to be in Sal at the same time.

Handing out training certificates to the producers at the end of the week was a particularly emotional moment, and I know the training will have a real impact on how they make and sell products.

Now the pressure is on to keep up the momentum for 2015 and support the craft producers in product design and development, and help them get their wares into hotel shops.

 

– Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme OfficerIsabel

Read more about our Cape Verde programme here >