Tui Group has become a founding partner of a new Global Tourism Plastics Initiative set up to tackle plastic pollution.

The aim is to stop plastic ending up as pollution while also reducing the amount that needs to be produced.

The European travel giant is contributing to the co-creation of the scheme.

The initiative is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Tui is committed to removing 250 million pieces of single-use plastics by the end of 2020 across its hotels, cruise ships, airlines, destinations and offices.

The group wants to remove 112 million single-use plastic items from hotels, introduce ‘plastic reduction guidelines’ for properties and a plastics reduction programme on its cruise ships.

Tui’s independent charitable foundation, Tui Care Foundation, is also working on numerous projects to address the challenge of plastic waste for the marine environment.

Thomas Ellerbeck, member of the Tui Group executive committee responsible for sustainability, said: “Plastic pollution negatively impacts travel and tourism, particularly near the beaches and oceans so important to destinations.

“Tui is delighted to be a founding partner of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, recognising the industry’s role to drive change. The sector can make a real difference by working together and sharing best practice.

“The people and the environment of destinations will benefit from these efforts.

“Tui is well positioned to continue its leading role in sustainable tourism.

“We aim to make our holiday offers more sustainable along the entire travel value chain. This will also be an important component of the group-wide sustainability strategy 2020-2030.”

UN Environment Programme economy division director, Ligia Noronha, added: “Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution.

“Through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, tourism companies and destinations are supported to innovate, eliminate and circulate the way they use plastics, to help achieve circularity in the use of plastics and reduce plastics pollution globally.”