It benefits our customers and the communities we visit Andrew Flintham, managing director, Tui UK & Ireland

I had the pleasure of talking about Tui’s work in sustainable tourism at the ITT Conference earlier this year. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on our progress delivering our ‘Better Holiday, Better World’ strategy and I think we can be extremely proud of what we have achieved.

Sustainability is a core pillar of our global business. It’s built into every new hotel contract – 80% of Tui-owned hotels meet sustainability standards (we’re working towards 100%) – and we’re offering more and more sustainable excursions under our Tui Collection banner.

Our UK airline is ranked the most carbon-efficient in the world (by the 2017 atmosfair Airline Index) and the Tui Care Foundation is transforming lives with innovative projects in communities.

We know these topics are close to UK customers’ hearts and that sustainable tourism is no longer just a trend, it’s part of the mainstream. At the end of last year we conducted independent research that proved the strength of holidaymakers’ feelings and how these can influence behaviour.

Our aim was to understand how UK tourists feel about giving back to local communities in destinations and how this might impact on holiday decision making.

The results showed British holidaymakers are increasingly concerned about the welfare of the places they visit. ‘Giving back’ is becoming the norm and people want to engage with local cultures on holiday.

Tui Care Foundation

The work of the Tui Care Foundation, to which UK customers donated more than £2 million last year, is how we as a global business give back to communities touched by tourism. The projects we support benefit local people and provide opportunities for our customers to engage with local culture in a meaningful way.

In Morocco, we’re helping young women into employment by training them as bike guides. They get to run their own small business and holidaymakers have access to an authentic tour experience.

In Cape Verde, we’re helping to protect loggerhead turtles as part of a commitment to save one million turtles worldwide by 2020. Our guests can visit a hatchery run by our project partners and learn about the impact of tourism on these creatures. We train the guides who operate walks to nesting grounds.

We’re also involved in a range of farming and food projects across Europe, protecting the livelihoods of smallholders and helping to bring their goods to market. Our guests can sample local goods, learn about their provenance and visit farms.

Meeting expectations

Customers expect holiday companies to demonstrate responsibility towards the destinations they operate in. They also want companies to show what they are doing to fulfil their duty of care. In our research, more than 50% of people said a company’s commitment in this area would impact their booking decision. We must seize every opportunity to enhance local communities and enrich the customer experience. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing.