A new industry-wide charity has been set up to reduce the number of avoidable deaths, injuries and illnesses among British tourists.
The Safer Tourism Foundation has been established after children Christi and Bobby Shepherd died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on a Thomas Cook holiday in Corfu in 2006.
Their mother Sharon Wood, who has spent the past 10 years fighting for justice, is patron and a founding trustee of the charity, along with Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser.
Thomas Cook, Tui, Hotelplan and Saga Travel have signed up to the charity’s pledge: a commitment to improve the health and safety of customers.
The pledge includes promising to use their influence on holiday partners to improve health and safety standards in resort, providing better information to customers, acting promptly when incidents occur, and sharing expertise and anonymised data.
Representatives from each operator attended the charity’s launch on Tuesday, along with senior directors from Google, Expedia, Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, Travelopia and Kuoni, as well as Abta and Aito.
Wood said: “My children died needlessly due to systemic failings in the travel industry. We can’t change what happened but together we can be influential in making tourism safer for the future – a lasting legacy for Christi and Bobby.”
Fankhauser said: “Health and safety is beyond competition. If we share information we can make the world safer for our customers.”
Tui UK & Ireland managing director Nick Longman said: “While every company has its own policies, we are more powerful when we work together.”
Google’s Robin Frewer, travel commercial director for the EMEA region, said: “Information is critical to safety. The STF can learn from how we manage data. We can give guidance on platforms like our SOS Alerts and Person Finder to add real value to the charity.”
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