- Travel Foundation calls for travel sector leaders to collaborate with action at scale, to cut carbon emissions and ensure a fair deal for destinations building resilience to climate risk.
- As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, the global NGO brought leaders together at its new Brussels location to find new and innovative ways of working together.
- New partnerships and initiatives were also announced, including with Mastercard, Expedia and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
On reaching its significant twenty-year milestone, the Travel Foundation set down its challenge for the sector: move beyond planning, take action at scale, work together pre-competitively to ensure your trailblazing efforts have a transformational impact on the wider industry.
At its anniversary celebrations being held in Brussels this week, the Travel Foundation has brought together senior-level guests from across the globe to explore future collaboration in two key areas: ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) reporting and climate action. The Travel Foundation’s CEO Jeremy Sampson emphasised the urgency for collective action. “Twenty years ago we were born from collaboration by the UK travel industry. Since then we have gone from strength to strength to become a truly global and independent organisation. We now need impact at scale – nothing less is good enough. So I call on the next generation of industry leaders to step forward and step up – you know that doing good work in silos won’t cut it. The system will only change, as it must, with collective action.”
The Travel Foundation then went on to make a series of significant announcements that strengthen its role in catalysing collective action, with more announcements to come:
- Establishing an office in Brussels, hosted by VisitFlanders which already provides a hub for the European Travel Commission (ETC), the European Travel Association (ETOA) and NECSTouR (Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism). The European office, situated at the heart of the EU, will bring opportunities for funding, growth and partnership. The UK office will be retained, and the Travel Foundation is also exploring options for a US office.
- A formal agreement signed between the Travel Foundation and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which, in a historic first, involves both tourism and environment officials across the 11 Caribbean nations on the frontline of climate change. Representing the OECS Director General, Desmond Simon, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States in Brussels, said “The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States has identified the Travel Foundation as a key collaborator in driving Climate Action in Tourism in our region. We are extremely pleased to be entering into this new partnership with the Travel Foundation to draw upon their expertise to support our Member States and positively impact the region. Through rich engagement and a pragmatic approach, we hope this relationship will be mutually beneficial, building on prior work and sharing lessons learned as we innovate and adapt to climate change and futureproof the OECS Tourism economy.”
- Renewed support from Expedia Group. The partnership will soon launch a free “climate champions” training resource for destination marketing and management organisations (DMOs), available through Expedia’s online learning platform. Expedia’s VP for Global Social Impact and Sustainability, Aditi Mohapatra, said “Expedia Group is proud to be partnering with the Travel Foundation to launch an innovative capacity building program on climate and sustainability for destinations around the world. Together we can create a more resilient and prosperous travel industry for generations to come.” Expedia is also backing the Travel Foundation, with NGO partners CREST, Tourism Cares and Cuidadores de Destinos, to develop an industry white paper exploring what Climate Justice means for the travel industry, led by the University of Waterloo. Expedia has also recently gifted further funds to the Travel Foundation to support its charitable goals.
- New partnerships that will bring data, knowhow and inspiration to disrupt and accelerate change, particularly through digital technology, which underpins today’s tourism model. Edinburgh Futures Institute and TravelTech Scotland will collaborate with the Travel Foundation to develop, among other things, traveltech testbeds in destinations which will provide real-world examples of data-led tech solutions. And a three-year membership agreement with Mastercard’s Tourism Innovation Hub will enable closer cooperation on joint initiatives. Quim Martinez, Global Tourism Innovation Hub lead, said “we will explore how to support the Travel Foundation with Mastercard data insights and our technology capabilities, and bring the Travel Foundation’s sustainable tourism expertise and connections to our existing and expanding ecosystem of initiatives across the globe. Bringing together experts and leaders, we can create solutions that can define the future of travel.” Scientists at BehaviorSMART will also work with experts at the Travel Foundation to provide businesses and destinations with behaviour-change solutions, combining knowledge of tourism, sustainability and behaviour economics.
- Closer alignment with the Sustainability Hospitality Alliance, with its members and partners representing 50,000 hotels globally, to identify opportunities that bring the accommodation sector and other tourism stakeholders together to deliver greater positive impact in destinations.
- And Holiday Extras, one of the Travel Foundation’s longest standing and closest supporters, renewed its commitment to the cause. To date they have raised and donated more than £350,000 for the charity, and announced at the anniversary celebrations a commitment to raise an additional £500,000.
Jeremy Sampson closed the event with a toast: “The Travel Foundation is here because you are here – a community of trailblazers, forward thinkers and those ready to take the leap. Here’s to the next twenty years, together.”
The Travel Foundation is grateful for the generosity of The Travel Corporation, VisitFlanders and Holiday Extras for sponsorship and in-kind support for the event.