A new way of choosing responsible holidaymaking is being launched today by ABTA and the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO). The Travelife Sustainability System and its directory of audited hotels, which is backed by leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, aims to make sure the impact the tourism industry has is a positive one, from reducing foreign poverty to protecting the planet’s resources.
In a recent UK survey of 1,422 adults, 88% indicated they would like to have information regarding the local environmental impacts of their holidays, as well as the effect of travelling abroad. The Travelife Collection enables consumers to make informed choices about the accommodation they book while travelling.
The system audits hotels and has introduced an award scheme to help people make more informed choices about their holidays. The top performers are accredited with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Travelife award. Tour operators supporting the scheme promote these achievements through brochures and websites, allowing the consumer to factor it into their travel plans.
The new industry-backed Travelife Collection goes online today at www.travelifecollection.com and gives holidaymakers the opportunity to choose hotels that have been independently audited and meet stringent criteria of sustainability and responsibility. The directory addresses issues of sustainability with suppliers of hotels, excursions and transportation. Consumers can choose their hotel from their preferred (and perhaps usual) tour operator, knowing that their holiday is bringing positive change to the destination and enabling sustainable tourism.
Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, said in the directory’s Foreword: “When we choose a holiday, we take a lot of things for granted. We would like to think that people everywhere are playing their part, however small, in trying to do something to help. We want to be confident that the places we stay in will be using our hard-earned cash wisely, to provide us with a great experience without harming local environments, destinations or communities in which they are located – and without adding to the problems of climate change. However, all too often there are no guarantees, and many hotels and accommodation providers may not even realise the harm that they might be doing.
“Increasingly, holiday makers are seeking some reliable assurance rather than relying on instinct to confirm that we are choosing truly responsible places to stay. That is the aim of this directory, and I’ve no doubt that there are more and more people who will be keen to take advantage of it.
“By selecting hotels involved with the Travelife Sustainability System, we can feel confident that we are making some kind of a positive difference when booking a holiday.”
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA added: “Holidaymakers today often care about the impact their travel has on the climate, and increasingly many are starting to care about what happens when they arrive too. Travel has the potential to create many benefits for destinations when correctly managed, but unless we act responsibly, it can have damaging and have long lasting effects on communities and local economies.”