Thomas Cook celebrates Make Holidays Greener Month with beach cleans and holiday swap shops

Calvia Council Official MHG photo - crop

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.

Travelife supports Make Holidays Greener 2014

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Beach clean at SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Egypt

Emma Lewis, Senior Relationships Executive at Travelife, explains why Travelife is supporting Make Holidays Greener 2014.

Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme for hotels and accommodations – has promoted the Make Holidays Greener Big Holiday Beach Clean to all its 1,300 members worldwide, encouraging them to get involved. The majority of beach cleans on the campaign’s world map are Travelife hotel members. These include:

  • SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Spring Arona Gran Hotel, Tenerife, Spain
  • Coral Sea Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
  • Corfu Imperial Grecotel, Corfu, Greece
  • SENTIDO Golden Star, Golden Sands Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria
  • Three Corners Ocean View, Hurghada, Egypt
  • Playitas Hotel, Fuerteventura, Spain

Travelife – which helps hotels and accommodations around the world reduce their environmental impact and support local people, local culture and the local economy – is a natural partner of the Make Holidays Greener campaign.

“The beach cleans are a great way to get staff, guests and local people involved in positive action in the holiday destination,” says Nikki White, Head of Destinations and Sustainability, Travelife. “Like the combined impact of Travelife hotels around the world, the beach cleans show that by people working together lots of simple, practical actions all add up to make a big difference.”

The SUNRISE Select Royal Makadi Resort in Egypt has experience of successfully organising beach clean-ups with staff and guests. Its last beach clean-up involved 32 customers and 23 staff, who together collected 19 kilos of waste which was then sent for recycling. Their story was then featured as a case study in the Travelife newsletter and website to help inspire other Travelife members.

To find out more about Travelife certified hotels around the world visit the Travelife Collection website:

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