July is Make Holidays Greener Month and this year’s theme is the Big Holiday Beach Clean. Travel companies around the world are running beach clean-ups and other sustainable tourism activities. Jo Hendrickx, Sustainable Destinations Manager for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, explains how they’re getting involved…
Thomas Cook has supported the Make Holidays Greener campaign since it was first launched in 2010, and it has now become an integral part of our annual sustainability calendar. Our overseas teams particularly look forward to the month of July and use the campaign as a time to increase their sustainability activity and, in particular, to engage with holidaymakers, suppliers and local organisations.
Make Holidays Greener activities have proven a great tool in bringing people together in support of environmental and social activities that can make a really big difference to holiday destinations, and the people that live in and visit them.
Over the years, hundreds of reps, customers and suppliers have taken part in beach, underwater and forest cleans – removing waste and debris that includes bottles, cans, plastics, tyres and even toilet seats!
Our biggest achievement so far was working together with Calvia Council in Mallorca and other tour operators to undertake a joint underwater clean up in Palma Nova bay. Reps donned their scuba gear and headed underwater with specially designed floatable collection bags that enabled them to clear the seabed and float the debris up to other teams waiting at the surface. It was collected on the beach by Calvia Council and all 800kg of waste was taken for recycling.
This year, we were delighted to find that the overall campaign is based on cleaner beaches and are expecting even more activity than ever from our overseas teams as this really is our forte. We will be doing more underwater cleans along the coast in Tanzania, Sunwing and Sunprime Hotels have already carried out a number of beach cleans as have our teams in Cyprus.
In the Costa Blanca we will take a different approach as many hotels are not close to the beach, but we know there are still plenty of things we can do to make a difference, so our teams will be asking holidaymakers to recycle their almost empty sun creams, other toiletries and even lilos – by holding swap shops in hotels and then ensuring the final empty products are collected for recycling.
We are also really proud to see our Travelife GOLD awarded SENTIDO Golden Star Hotel in Bulgaria pledging their support through the Travel Foundation Beach Clean Map and are looking forward to hearing how their event goes on 12 July. It’s great to see that so many of the hotels involved here are Travelife awarded, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and involving staff and customers in their efforts.
We will be recording the efforts of all our teams and look forward to providing an update at the end of the month.