Transforming tourism

We strive for a world where tourism provides the greatest benefit in every destination so that communities and environments can thrive.

We create change for a better, fairer and more resilient type of tourism, confronting the pressing challenges of climate change and the need for improved equity in the distribution of tourism’s benefits, striving to support to change at scale by:

  • Raising awareness: through our groundbreaking research, events and speaking we aim to improve knowledge and stimulate debate around the urgency for action.
  • Building capacity: we provide training, coaching and planning support that enables tourism organisations to create a better, more balanced tourism offer.
  • Implementing solutions: we test and demonstrate ways to improve tourism through our lighthouse projects and we bring organisations together to create and enable real-world solutions.

Below are some of our most recent highlights and successes.

RAISING AWARENESS

Understanding and stimulating climate action in tourism

  • Our research report, ‘Envisioning Tourism in 2030 and Beyond‘ set the direction for tourism to achieve its current growth forecasts whilst also achieving ‘Net Zero’. 

  • The report gained support from leading tourism organisations and drew media attention all around the world, resulting in 112 media mentions with a potential reach of nearly 400 million 

  • Our research with Leeds Beckett University, ‘Tourism Destination Climate Action the Enabling Environment‘, revealed the challenges and enablers for climate action.

  • The research team interviewed representatives from 24 tourism destinations across Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Our most recent major research project, ‘Envisioning Tourism in 2030 and beyond’ sought to understand what a growing, thriving Net-Zero visitor economy would look like and how tourism could get there. Working with CELTH, Breda University of Applied Sciences, the European Tourism Futures Institute, and the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, alongside other partners, we modelled different decarbonisation scenarios.  Our aim was to provide a positive vision of a growing visitor economy where emissions are reduced to Net Zero. The findings highlighted that current strategies will fail to meet goals to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.  Instead, global policy makers and tourism organisations need to make significant investments and create incentives for the greenest forms of transport, and limits on the most polluting.

We also joined forces with Leeds Beckett University School of Events, Hospitality and Tourism Management for ‘Tourism Destination Climate Action, the Enabling Environment’ which explored the challenges and enablers for climate action, plus the practical support needed by destinations.

  • “Reports and research like this from the Travel Foundation and its collaborators are critical calls to action for governments, investors, consumers and donors. We all need to be on the same page. Collective actions and coalitions of the willing are fundamental building blocks for tourism futures.”

Shaun Mann, Senior Tourism Specialist, World Bank Group

Advocating for the transformation of tourism

  • In the past two years, we’ve spoken at over 100 leading summits and conferences around the world, taking our message to thousands of tourism sector professionals, including at the UN Ocean Conference, ITB, WTM, IMPACT Canada, FITUR and City DNA.

  • We also speak regularly for private and public sector organisations, at events where we can support efforts to engage their stakeholders and members in a positive vision for tourism. Recent examples include the Preferred Travel Group Global Conference, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States tourism committee, the European Travel Commission AGM.

  • We celebrated our 20th anniversary with an event in Brussels, where we brought together tourism leaders to promote collaboration and set the agenda for the transformation of tourism.

  • We were proud to be part of a coalition of organisations who created the Power of Partnership Stewardship Summit in Virginia, USA, a three-day event that explored culture, climate and community in travel for a collaborative and inclusive future.

  • Working with Travel Oregon, we created a destination exchange between tourism leaders in Oregon and five destinations in Canada, as a platform for inspiration and innovation – sharing ideas, challenges and solutions for better, more resilient destinations.

“We have been partners of the Travel Foundation for almost half of its history, and we recognize the leadership they have had in the critical processes of systemic change in tourism at a global level and the support to our partners and us in adapting models for Mexico and Latin America. Congratulations on these first 20 years.”

Vicente Ferreyra, Founder and CEO, Sustentur

 

BUILDING CAPACITY

Courses, workshops and knowledge resources

The examples below are just a few of our many projects building the capacity of tourism organisations to transform tourism for the better.

 

We’ve partnered with Expedia Group to create a first-of-its-kind, virtual training programme for tourism destinations called ‘Destination Climate Champions’.

The course will be offered free of charge to all destination management and marketing organisations and will enable organisations to create a climate action plan, gain fluency in climate resilience and access a global network of destinations to share ideas.  A pilot for the course was launched early in 2024 involving over 30 destinations.

We provided training for destinations in Washington State and British Columbia to help regional DMOs improve the resilience of their tourism offer.   For both, we developed a destination stewardship and responsible travel handbook to help DMOs to understand and manage tourism’s impacts and to maximises the benefits of tourism for people and place.  In British Columbia, our support also included workshops and coaching to support organisations of all sizes and with varying mandates to create a strong, resilient and just future for tourism in the province.

We worked with Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership in the UK to create a new online toolkit: ‘Connecting Climate, Community & the Visitor Economy’, (part of a funded project sponsored by Great Western Railway and Cross Country Trains).

The toolkit features tips, case studies and ideas for action and has been designed to highlight the opportunities for better, more climate-friendly travel within the ‘rail for leisure’ market, that can help strengthen local economies and achieve sustainability goals. It also highlights new models for collaboration, bringing together DMOs, train operators and community rail partnerships.

 

 

We worked with TurEspaña to create a new guide, ‘Future Ready: Navigation the changing landscape of sustainability and ESG reporting’, for Spanish tourism suppliers, which helps small businesses to gather and use the information required by new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting regimes.

The guide aims to support small to medium sized businesses in the tourism supply chain to understand the data and information they need to start collecting to adhere to new ESG reporting regimes in the EU and UK, which will also help them to tackle climate change and improve the distribution of tourism’s benefits. Topics covered include energy and carbon, waste, pollution, water management, biodiversity impacts, workers in the supply chain and community impacts.

The report also highlights the ways in which smaller tourism suppliers can use the data themselves to assess their own sustainability performance and drive improvements including by increasing efficiency and reducing costs, building resilience for future challenges, encouraging sustainable choices by customers and creating a clear framework to take action on sustainability within their own business.

Empowering destinations to create fair, climate smart tourism

  • We provided advice and training on climate action planning for the Honduras Ministry of Tourism, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts. Our support included running workshops, creating a Climate Action Task Force and supporting the Ministry to produce their Climate Action Plan.

  • We supported four towns in East Devon, UK to develop a sustainable tourism roadmap and carbon action plan – a great example of how destinations can support local businesses and what regional destinations can achieve if they work together.

  • We worked with Lake Tahoe and Vail, USA to identify how tourism can best work for their residents and visitors. We examined tourism’s impacts, sought input from thousands of stakeholders, identified how to optimize tourism’s value for the community and supported the creation of leading destination stewardship plans.

  • We supported the Preferred Travel Group with the development of their Climate Action Plan and provided climate training for the Group’s executive team, including how to build climate resilience and contribute to decarbonisation.

Through our strategy and planning support, we aim to empower destinations and tourism businesses to make informed decisions for better, climate-smart tourism that puts local residents at the centre.

Our aim is to ensure that the organisations we work with are able to lead the way for others to follow, showcasing approaches that improve the impacts of tourism on the destination.

We have worked with destinations all around the world, providing advice, research and specific recommendations, as well as supporting stakeholder engagement and impact assessments. We also work with membership and supporting organisations, such as the European Travel Commission, NECSTouR and the Global Business Travel Association, enabling them to lead the way with their hundreds of members and partners.

The examples opposite are just a few of the many destinations we have worked with in the past year.

“The Travel Foundation has been a catalyst and motivator for us in our work on sustainability and climate. They have helped us with knowledge, inspiration, and connections with like-minded destinations. We believe that we can only solve global challenges together, and the Travel Foundation has been a trusted partner in doing just that.” Jos Vranken, Managing Director NBTC (Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions)

IMPLEMENTING SOLUTIONS

Bringing organisations together to identify, enable and scale solutions for better tourism

  • As one of the co-authors of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, we support organisations to sign up, create plans and take action. Over the past two years, we’ve run a series of webinars in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conferences and supported UNWTO in the delivery of regular newsletters to share inspiring ideas, examples and solutions.

  • We are one of the founding members of the Future of Tourism Coalition, a movement that aims to align and engage tourism organisations on sustainability. With our coalition partners, we’ve created an online toolkit, including research, resources, action plans and case studies, providing signatories with tools to achieve their sustainability goals.

  • We’ve partnered with Visit Scotland and The Travel Corporation, to focus on the challenge of how to reduce carbon emissions in the tourism supply chain through the development of responsible tourism experiences and itineraries designed to generate positive social or environmental outcomes. Our aim is to influence and drive change with businesses, visitors and destinations and deliver globally useful learnings and examples.

“We’re thrilled to partner with VisitScotland on this, a collaboration that takes a long-term approach, and places equal emphasis on both community benefit and the path to net zero. The latter challenge requires both sides – the destination and the tour provider – to address the elements that are within their purview, in order to see genuine advancement.” Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Travel Cooperation

A huge thank you to all our partners and funders, who enabled us to continue our important charitable work.

Our funders and partners in 2022

4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island)
10 or More
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc
Blue Bay Travel
Caribtours
Colorado Tourism Office
DestiMED/ WWF Mediterranean
Destination Orkney Limited
Destination Vancover
Dorset Council
easyJet Holidays
Expedia Group
First Rate Exchange
GIZ
Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership
Holiday Extras
Intrepid
Lake Tahoe/CREST
Leeds Beckett University
NBTC (Nederlands Bureau voor Toerisme & Congressen)
NECSTour
Oceanside/MMGY Nextfactor
Peak District & Derbyshire (MPDD)
Port Aransas Tourism Bureau and Chamber of Commerce
Scottish Enterprise
Sidmouth Town Council
State of Washington Tourism
Surrey University
The Energy and Water Agency
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The European Travel Commission (ETC)
The Travel Corporation
Toposophy
TourRadar
Tourism Association of Vancouver Island
Travel Oregon
TUI Care Foundation
United Nations Environment
University of Edinburgh
Vail/MMGY Nextfactor
Visit California
Visit Finland
Visit Kent
Visit Scotland
Visit Temecula Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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