Opinion: The Travel Lottery can be a game-changer

Opinion: The Travel Lottery can be a game-changer

By Salli Felton, acting chief executive of the Travel Foundation

A few weeks ago Travel Weekly broke the story that we are introducing the Travel Lottery for holidaymakers by the end of the year. It’s a simple idea: the chance to win up to £5,000 each month, while raising money for good causes. As part of this responsible travel-themed issue of Travel Weekly, I wanted to share our thoughts on the bigger picture.

Travel Foundation’s ethos

The Travel Foundation was set up 10 years ago, with financial backing predominantly from the big operators. It was, and remains, a unique concept: a charity that supports, and is supported by, the travel industry to make tourism a force for good in destinations.

Most of those forward-thinking companies involved back in 2003 remain supporters today, and are in large part responsible for ensuring the foundation didn’t falter in its early years. To go from ‘fledgling to flight’ has cost our fundraisers over £10 million collectively, and this should be recognised and applauded. In a highly competitive market, they have created a collaborative resource for the benefit of everyone in the industry.

It’s right that the big operators should lead the charge, but if we are to make real progress towards sustainable tourism, our challenge at the Travel Foundation must be to broaden our reach – particularly to mid‑sized and online businesses. We must change to reflect a changing industry, appealing to new companies with new business models that in the past didn’t think they needed to consider sustainability. For instance, those involved in dynamic packaging often feel they have less control of, and responsibility for, product – which instantly creates a barrier to sustainable thinking.

The Travel Lottery’s role

The Travel Lottery will support these aims in the following ways.

  • It will encourage cross-industry collaboration on projects that competing businesses would otherwise find it difficult to invest in and cooperate on.
  • It will help widen our scale and influence in destinations as it becomes even more important to demonstrate the viability of sustainable approaches on a commercial scale.
  • It will attract new supporters and broaden our reach with the industry. Ideally, we would be funded purely through corporate or costed-in donations. However, in tough economic times, companies need alternatives. The Travel Lottery provides one.
  • It doesn’t compete with other good causes. What’s great about the lottery is that it will not only provide the Travel Foundation with funds but also allow companies to earn 20p for every ticket sold. They can choose what they do with this income, but we will be encouraging them to donate to the charity of their choice.

We hope the Travel Lottery will be a real game-changer.

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