Making sure our holidays have the right kind of impact
When managed well, tourism supports conservation and preserves natural heritage. The tourism value chain – accommodation, catering, retail, excursions, transfer and airport services – provides employment and training opportunities and stimulates local enterprise to the extent that, in 2008, tourism accounted for 30% of the world’s exports of services, according to the World Tourism Organisation, an agency of the United Nations.
Our sustainability impact in the destinations we offer is largely indirect, particularly through our accommodation suppliers. We assume a level of responsibility for encouraging them to improve in this area and actively engage with them to help them do so.
Our principal suppliers are hotel owners and operators and transport and excursion providers. Our UK and destination teams regularly inspect accommodation, transport and excursion suppliers to assess not just health and safety, but also quality and sustainability. We work with our suppliers to help them improve and if they fall below our expectations we remove them from our programmes.
We have adopted the industry-wide Travelife Sustainability System and we’ve introduced a sustainable development addendum as part of all accommodation contracts. This means that each hotelier must operate a sustainability programme, managing their impact on the environment, their employees and the local community. No other UK mainstream tour operator has done this.
Our resorts increasingly offer recycling facilities to guests, within their accommodation and/or at special recycling points. Some look to use waste to run their communal heating systems and others even make targets to recycle 100% of their waste.
Eco-friendly power is becoming more and more widespread, using wind generated or other naturally produced energy such as solar cells. Fuel sources like bio diesel are also increasingly common – and they’re less polluting than conventional fuels.
Many resorts operate as traffic-free or traffic-reduced – some have never had cars on their streets! Other approaches include pedestrianised centres and out-of-centre car parking with resort centre access only on foot or by public transport.
Resorts are also increasingly looking at minimising the environmental impact of their construction projects, as well as the impact of newly erected buildings and other infrastructure.