Tui highlighted the group’s progress in meeting its sustainability goals for 2020 in a Sustainability Report 2017 published today.

The group reported it delivered 8.3 million “greener, fairer holidays” last year and more than 20 million over the past three years.

Tui defines a ‘greener, fairer holiday’ as one where the hotel has a sustainability certification recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GTSC).

Four out of five hotels Tui owns or manages had sustainability certifications last year.

Group executive committee member Thomas Ellerbeck hailed the company’s “significant progress” on the road to meeting its 2020 targets, which include delivering 10 million such holidays a year by 2020.

But director for sustainable development Jane Ashton stressed the company’s goals “remain challenging”.

Tui reported a continuing improvement in the fuel efficiency of its airline fleet in 2017, with TUI Airways in the UK and TUI Fly Germany ranked number-one and number-three most carbon-efficient airlines in the world by the Atmosfair Airline Index.

The group will take delivery of the first of 72 new, more fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX aircraft this year.

It reported a 5.5% reduction per passenger per night in the CO2 emissions of its growing cruise operations compared with 2015.

The group sold more than one million TUI Collection excursions, which it describes as having “sustainability at their heart” – up 31% year on year.

And it reported raising €7.3 million for projects in destinations supported by the Tui Care Foundation.

The report marks the mid-way point of the group’s ‘Better Holidays, Better World’ sustainability strategy launched in 2015.

The group said it aims “to create change at scale to advance sustainable tourism – in its own operations, across the wider industry and beyond”.

Ellerbeck said: “Social and environmental sustainability are two sides of the same coin – from the introduction of extremely carbon-efficient aircraft to hotels with recognised high environmental standards, from excursions characterised by their sustainability criteria to projects which facilitate vocational training for local youth.”

Ashton insisted: “As the world’s leading tourism business, TUI Group has a responsibility to advance sustainable tourism.

“Three years into our six-year strategy, our goals remain challenging.  But with the efforts of our colleagues and suppliers, and the collaborations we’ve embarked upon with destination partners and other experts, we are optimistic that we are on the right track to deliver better holidays for a better world.”

TUI UK & Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham added: “With over 80% of our carbon footprint coming from our aircraft, investing in more-efficient planes is key.

“The delivery of 16 new Boeing 737 MAX [aircraft] by the end of 2020 in the UK will support the delivery of our commitment to reduce the carbon intensity of our operations.”

Tui’s Better Holidays, Better World strategy centres on four ‘pillars’, committing the group to:

‘Step lightly’ and reduce the environmental impact of holidays – with a pledge to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by 10% by 2020.

‘Make a difference’ and create positive change for people and communities – through the delivery of 10 million ‘greener and fairer’ holidays a year by 2020.

‘Lead the way’ in pioneering sustainable tourism across the world – with a pledge to invest €10 million a year through the TUI Care Foundation by 2020.

‘Care more’, by developing employee engagement and a diverse leadership team.

Tui reported the proportion of women in managerial positions within the group rose to 34.1% last year, up from 29.4% in 2016.