Christabelle Peech, an Africa consultant at Fulham-based True Luxury Travel, is calling on the trade to join her team’s Travellers for Travel efforts for needy communities worldwide. Juliet Dennis reports.

Q. What type of travel agency is True Luxury Travel and what’s the ethos behind your company?
A. We are a small, luxury travel agency, focused on bespoke travel. We create tailor-made holidays around the world. Supporting charities is a huge part of our business because we are so passionate about the destinations we sell and know them so well. We feel strongly about supporting authentic destinations.

After this pandemic, there will, more than ever, be travellers wanting responsible travel. We want to work with local companies committed to helping local communities. We already have a charitable foundation called The True Luxury Travel Foundation and we support different charities each year that mean something to us. We include a donation in the price of every holiday we sell.

“Supporting charities is a huge part of our business because we are so passionate about the destinations we sell and know them so well.”

Q. Why have you set up the charitable project Travellers for Travel?
A. As tourism dried up with the lockdown, we felt we needed to do something to raise funds for organisations affected by tourism. Myself and my team are all travel experts who have been put on furlough. We know there are organisations that urgently need support while people are not travelling.

“We already have a charitable foundation called The True Luxury Travel Foundation and we support different charities each year that mean something to us.”

Q. Who are you trying to raise money for?
A. We are fundraising for three organisations: Imire, a rhino and wildlife conservation centre in Zimbabwe; Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and the Mudita Foundation in Myanmar.These organisations desperately need support with funding; they have nothing. It’s a grim situation.

These organisations work with communities on education and healthcare and protect communities, who in turn help protect the wildlife. Imire protects the last black rhinos in the world. In Zimbabwe, poaching is at an all-time high because people are struggling to survive. Lwiro provides a safe space for orphaned primates to recover.

Typically, their mothers will have been poached and the babies abandoned. This is a rehabilitation centre and works with the local community. The Mudita Foundation helps to educate more than 250 underprivileged children and orphans. We chose these organisations because as a team we have visited them and have strong connections with the destinations. Some clients have also visited them.

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Q. How are you raising funds?
A. It started with family and friends and now it’s mostly via social media, which is so powerful. There is a lot of ‘donor fatigue’, so it’s important we engage people in different ways. We have some really loyal clients and in our newsletter to our database we have asked them to send ideas of where they would like to travel. In return for a donation, we give them our advice and tips on places to go to in that destination.

It gives people a chance to plan holidays and people seem happy to give a donation. We hope to do a raffle to name a new baby rhino that has been born. We’ve also been running a fundraiser called Chicken Poo Bingo with groups of 10 on Zoom. One of our team has chickens and has put a bingo board in the chicken coop.

There is a daily video and if a chicken poos on your number you win! Each person puts in £10 and usually people donate the winnings. It’s a fun way of getting people involved while they are at home. Our idea is to continue to come up with different ways of getting involved that are fun and interactive.

“We hope to do a raffle to name a new baby rhino that has been born. We’ve also been running a fundraiser called Chicken Poo Bingo with groups of 10 on Zoom.”

Q. Has this project given you and your team a focus while on furlough?
A. There are six of us who set this up and are involved in Travel for Travellers. We are not allowed to work as we are on furlough but we can do this and it’s something we all feel very passionate about. We have been having weekly Zoom calls and it’s been good for us to have a positive focus. We are a very close-knit team and usually all sit together at work and discuss every trip with each other.


How can Travel Weekly readers get involved in the cause?

Travellers for Travel is on Facebook and Instagram. If anyone wants to get involved, they can just send us a message. We want to push this out further to the trade generally to continue our fundraising to reach a target of £3,000 or more.

So far we have raised £2,000. Most agents and operators will feel the same as us – that they want to help destinations that we know are suffering. We have also set up a JustGiving page, for anyone who would like to donate, or they can contact us to find out about our fundraising challenges.

To donate:

•JustGiving: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/travellersfortravel
•Instagram: instagram.com/travellersfortravel

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