Annual Review 2021

2021 has been another extraordinary year of challenges and new opportunities. Having started the year in a position of considerable uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, we have ended it with many exciting new partnerships and opportunities to shape a better future for tourism.

During the year, we sharpened our focus on equity for local communities and climate change. These are the big issues that present the greatest threats to the long-term viability of destinations and the greatest opportunities for tourism to adapt and lead the way on key societal issues.

Under these twin pillars, we are enabling tourism that creates equitable benefits for local communities and fair use of tourism-related resources, putting the needs of those communities at the centre of tourism planning and management. For example, our new partnership with easyJet holidays is offering a pioneering new approach to destination stewardship in five European destinations and in the USA, we’re supporting leading destinations to create stewardship plans, engage local stakeholders and optimize the value of tourism in their area.  We are also accelerating climate action and aligning tourism with international agreements. A highlight for the year was the launch of the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism, which we helped to create and which we are now working with the UNWTO to promote and implement.

Tourism must adapt and move away from business as usual to ensure that destination communities and environments can thrive and to ensure that tourism operations remain viable and valuable. Our role is to support the sector to do just that. The past two years have been turbulent and challenging for the travel industry as a whole and for our charity, but it is exciting now to see the genuine opportunity ahead to reset tourism and create a more resilient, fairer model. It is testament to the commitment, creativity and adaptability of our team and the stakeholders we work with that we are now in a stronger position than ever to support this drive towards a new and better future for tourism.

Jeremy sampson


Jeremy Sampson, Travel Foundation CEO

Climate Change

Tackling climate change across the travel industry


  • We co-authored the Declaration, working with the UNWTO, UN Environment Programme, VisitScotland and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

  • We helped to launch the Declaration at COP 26 in November.  Since then, over 600 organisations have signed up, supporting a global commitment to half emissions by 2030.

  • We signed a long term partnership agreement with UNWTO to co-ordinate the Glasgow Declaration initiative through 2030 and are now supporting signatories to upskill, create practical plans of action and to collaborate across public and private sectors, creating new opportunities to accelerate climate action.

Why is this important?

Carbon emissions from tourism account for around 8-11% of global emissions and with tourism forecasted to continue to grow dramatically, it is vital that tourism organisations take action. We co-created the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism to promote the need for action, foster collaboration and to share tools and resources to support tourism organisation to achieve their plans, enabling them to decarbonise and improve resilience to climate risk.

“The Glasgow Declaration isn’t just a pledge – it is a commitment to take action to halve tourism’s emissions by 2030, and to report on progress made each year. It’s vital we start with the right ambition, but then the hard work really begins.” Jeremy Smith, Travel Foundation Climate Specialist and Co-Founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

Other Climate Change projects

In Saint Lucia and Mauritius, we are supporting the accommodation sector to reduce carbon emissions, as well as water-use and waste, as part of a project led by UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This year, our efforts have been focused on engaging key industry associations to embed the action plans into their own strategic plans. We also prepared further capacity building workshops including on plastic waste, food, sustainable procurement, influencing sustainable behaviours and climate change.

Towards the end of the year, we partnered with VisitScotland for the development of a practical delivery plan for the destination to achieve net zero emissions. Working in partnership with Toposophy, we will support the creation of an overall strategy at a national level and the launch of pilot schemes in Glasgow, the Outer Hebrides and Inverness and Loch Ness, supporting these three destinations to produce their initial climate action plans. The longer-term aim of the project is to establish the process, tools and required resources for Scotland as a whole and to share this globally.



We partnered with Scotland and the Travel Corporation for a pilot project to help develop a sector-wide approach for collaborative public and private sector action on value chain emissions in tourism. The project will develop a structured and facilitated process to better understand a company’s emissions at the destination level and create a collaborative action plan to reduce them and bring others to the table to collectively innovate and invest in solutions.


Putting local residents at the heart of tourism


  • Community Positive Tourism: This new partnership with easyJet holidays will enable us to foster a pioneering stewardship approach to tourism planning in five destinations: Tenerife (Spain), Mallorca (Spain), Dalaman (Turkey), Rhodes (Greece), and the Algarve (Portugal). We are bringing together private, public and local community representation in each destination to establish a common set of priorities for tourism management, which ensures community needs and perspectives are more seriously considered and acted upon by destination partners.

  • Destination Stewardship Planning in the USA: Late in 2021, we secured partnerships with three leading destinations: Port Aransas (Texas), Vail, Colorado and the Lake Tahoe-Truckee region to support ground-breaking destination stewardship plans that align with community priorities and enhance the visitor experience.

  • Towards Destination Stewardship. We worked with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) to launch this report, highlighting scenarios that support destinations to balance the needs of visitors and residents. Since its launch the report has been downloaded over 1000 times.

  • Framework for sustainable tourism development for Europe. We worked with the European Travel Commission (ETC), GoodPlace Slovenia and GreenCase Consulting, to create the ‘Sustainable Tourism Implementation: Framework and Toolkit.’ The handbook launched in May 2021 provides practical guidance, top tips, checklists and best practice examples for all European destinations.

  • Big Up Small Business, Jamaica. This TUI Care Foundation project is supporting small, tourism-facing businesses to connect to the international tourism market. In 2021, we trained small-business owners and managers on pricing, marketing, health and safety and product development and created a toolkit called ‘Are You Ready for Recovery?’, which is now available to all small businesses in Jamaica.  We also provided bespoke support to seven businesses as part of our booster programme.


Why is this important?

Tourism can be of great value to a destination, acting as a catalyst for growth in the local economy, providing jobs and opportunity for enterprise, supporting conservation and improving quality of life.  The challenge is to ensure that, in this fragmented and complex industry, the many different stakeholders involved understand the full cost of tourism to the destination and share a vision and plan for the future.  We support this process, ensuring a broader representation of community voices are heard, as well as bringing the key actors together, including community representatives, to create alignment around what a better future looks like, how to get there and how to respond collectively to the big issues with common solutions.

Enabling the supply of local delicacies to hotels in Turkey


  • We supported 14 producer units consisting of 6 village cooperatives and 8 small businesses to sell value-added products such as dried fruits and artisanal jams to hotels and other tourism businesses.  165 local farmers supplied raw materials that were used in these products.

  • 40 tourism businesses bought over £235,000 of value-added products from the producer units.

  • We met our target of enabling a 15% increase in the income obtained from the tourism sector amongst the producer units.

Why is this important?

This TUI Care Foundation project tackled tackled one of the most challenging aspects of destination sustainability: how to integrate small, local producers into a large, mainstream tourism supply chain.

The Muğla region of Turkey is famous for its honey, olives, citrus fruits, nuts and herbs from which small-scale producers make delicacies, such as oils, jams and dried fruits. Our project, which ended in early 2022, aimed to support these producers to improve their income by enabling them to supply hotels in the area. As well as brokering direct commercial relationships between hotels and local suppliers, we also provided bespoke advice, workshops, as well as manuals and guides, enabling producers to connect to the international market.

We distributed 1000 copies of a good agricultural practices guide to local farmers and provided entrepreneurship, marketing and cooperative management training. For hotels, we provided information and communications materials to support them in moving towards locally supplied products, including the first ever Turkish language manual about purchasing and promoting local value added agricultural products.


  • Thought leadership and advocacy remain important apects of our work and this year our visibility has continued to grow.  We spoke at a record number of events, including at COP26 in Glasgow, where we helped to launch the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. We also continued to work with and Chair the Future of Tourism Coalition, including helping to run and promote a ‘Reset Tourism’ webinar series that covered topics such as measuring tourism’s impact and success, supporting stakeholder engagement and improving local supply chains.  In July 2021, we published an important new report with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Tourism Futures Institute (Etfi), called ‘Towards Destination Stewardship’, in order to highlight how changes in governance structures can support destination stewardship.

Panagiota at Ayia Triada
  • 56

    • We presented at 56 events, a record number for us, spreading the word about rebalancing tourism to industry professionals and destination management organisations all around the world.
  • 700

    We communicated our work and our case for change in 700 media articles around the world with a potential reach of over 1175 million viewers.

  • 10k

    We have grown our following on Twitter to over 9600 and our presence on LinkedIn, reaching over 10,700 followers.

Looking to the future

As we emerge from two very difficult years, the tourism sector stands at a cross roads with the chance for a much brighter, better future ahead.  Whilst many tourism businesses and destinations will be focused on the urgent need to bring back customers and rebuild workforces, there is also a growing understanding that it is impossible to return to pre-pandemic business as usual. Tourism needs to adapt and innovate in response to the very real risks brought by climate change and dwindling resources.  The Travel Foundation aims to support destinations and businesses to make that change and to grasp the opportunity it represents. Our focus will be on supporting destinations to rebuild in a more balanced way by considering the needs of residents, optimising tourism’s benefits, and fostering genuine collaboration between all stakeholders. In this way, we aim to ensure that tourism delivers value for the good of destinations, for their communities, their environments and their businesses.

Our income and expenditure


Total income
  • 49%
    Private sector
  • 36%
    Grants and destination funds
  • 1%
    In kind support
  • 14%

Our total income of £659,014 was up 41.3% year on year, which also represented a more than 50% improvement against the organisation’s original 2021 operating budget. This increase included £276k of new income achieved in the year, resulting in increased restricted income funding as well as increased private sector income due to the partial recovery of the travel sector. Also included in the total income is £75,523 received from the job retention scheme.

Split of charitable activities

Charitable expenditure
  • 49%
    Destination activities
  • 29%
    Capacity building and advocacy
  • 2%
    Research and scoping
  • 20%
    Other project funds and governance costs

The above graph displays the split of our charitable expenditure. Our total expenditure represented a year on year decrease of 14%, which was also a 25% reduction against the organisation’s initial 2021 budget. This reduction was to better match income levels, to build up some reserves and was the result of careful cost management, including the furloughing of a number of staff. Included in the total expenditure therefore is £75,523 for wages that were paid using the job retention scheme. Despite the reduction in total expenditure, we continued to fund vital activities that: support tourism actors to plan and develop with destination needs at heart; mitigate the impacts of climate change; support better, more sustainable products; and advocate for change.

A huge thank you to all our partners and supporters, who have enabled us to continue our important charitable work during this challenging year.

Our special thanks go to TUI Care Foundation, which supported us throughout 2020 and 2021 by continuing to provide funding for projects, despite the suspension of activities.

Our funders in 2021

Holiday Extras
Mid-counties Co-operative Stores
Blue Bay Travel
easyJet holidays
United Nations Environment Programme
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
SMILO (Small Islands Organisation)
Travel Oregon/Oregon Tourism Commission
Colorado Tourism Office
The Travel Corporation
Visit California
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
TUI Care Foundation (TCF)
Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)
European Travel Commission
EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)
Dorset Council
Job Retention Scheme
The Sawday Trust

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