TUI Group executive committee member Thomas Ellerbeck is director of corporate and external affairs and chairman of the Tui Care Foundation.
Tui will complete its group rebranding this autumn, with Thomson becoming Tui and a group-wide switch of resources for sustainability projects to the TUI Care Foundation.
Based in the Netherlands, the Foundation will become the group-wide vehicle for engagement with local communities. Training of UK staff in how the Tui Care Foundation works and what it does will begin this month so agents and other frontline staff can explain to customers.
Donations at the point of booking, made by about one in two Thomson and First Choice customers in shops, will switch from the World Care Foundation to Tui Care Foundation.
Chairman of the Tui Care Foundation Thomas Ellerbeck said: “Tourism is not only beneficial to the economy of many countries, it can have a positive impact on broader development such as educational opportunities and social and environmental standards.
“But to achieve that we have to focus on developing local tourism in a sustainable way.
“Socially, economically and ecologically intact regions appeal to tourists and have a better chance of success long term.
“From now on the TUI Care Foundation will act as the umbrella for the group’s engagement in this field. It will be our centre of expertise for sustainability projects in destinations.”
‘We want to go further’
Ellerbeck explained: “We’ve already achieved a great deal. The Tui Care Foundation and group companies have developed many valuable projects. But these have been standalone. It hasn’t been possible to exploit their combined potential.
“We want to go further, to bring about long-term change and extend the influence beyond our company and even beyond our sector.
“The articles of association of the Foundation allow us to be independent and so operate in this wider context. We can gather expertise and transfer the best concepts between countries and markets.”
The Tui Care Foundation will have “three main fields of engagement”, he says: “The first is supporting children and young people by developing education and training opportunities.
“Second, we’re committed to sustaining the natural environment. Third, we want to invest in innovative projects to improve people’s lives and to support the long-term success of the local tourism sector.
“The idea is that people who live in a destination should see a greater benefit from tourism. The principals of participation, advancement and equal opportunities straddle all three areas.”
‘Customers are keen to learn more’
The Foundation will be launched to UK customers “in the next months”. This is its first year as an international organisation, but Ellerbeck said: “The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Customers are interested to learn more about projects and what they can do to support them.
“We can benefit from the expertise of more than 60,000 TUI colleagues who are networked, know what challenges exist and where help and support will make the greatest difference. They are ambassadors for our Foundation and involved in our destination projects.
“We also have long-standing partnerships with a range of charities and other organisations.”
From 2020, Tui aims to spend €10 million a year on projects “that serve good causes”.
Ellerbeck said: “Funds will be provided by Tui, but also by holidaymakers’ donations. Tui will bear the administrative costs, which ensures all donations are directly invested in projects.”
He explained: “When people travel on holiday they are often inspired to do something to help the local community. We want to support them in doing this. We can guarantee guests’ donations will be invested in worthwhile projects that we have chosen carefully and support.”
An advisory board evaluates all projects and an independent board of trustees is responsible for decisions on funding. Tui publishes information on all the projects at tuicarefoundation.com
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