The commitments made by the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) to the principles of responsible and sustainable tourism led then to work with their suppliers to make tourism more sustainable in the destination. In the introduction to their Travelife Handbook published in 2007, Andy Cooper made the point that to deliver the right balance the operators and their suppliers �must work together �.. What happens in the destination matters most; from the warm welcome and the quality of the local environment to the services available. � the balance between the local economy, nature and the community.�
Travelife was developed by the FTO as part of an EU funded programme to support an efficient and cost effective introduction of sustainability principles. It provides certification to enable the recognition of the steps taken by hotels � the focus is on the actions taken rather than the results achieved.
�Travelife Bronze� businesses have policies in place which actively reduce their environmental impacts and treat people in a fair and respectful way.
�Travelife Silver� � going further than the bronze, these businesses seek ways to actively benefit the local community and environment.
�Travelife Gold� businesses display advanced sustainability actions. They encourage others to be involved, seek continual improvements and actively communicate their progress.
Travelife is being implemented by major European Tour Operator Associations and their members including the UK Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators ANVR and the German Forumandersreisen FAR. The operators are working with their suppliers to encourage and support then in implementing the Travelife process and critically ensuring that the certificated products are taken to market.
TUI Travel UK & Ireland and Thomas Cook both part of the FTO, are working to ensure that Travelife is taken up by their suppliers and that British holidaymakers are encouraged to think about booking a more sustainable hotel.
This approach by the major retailers has ensured that hotels are supported through the process of getting certified and that their participation and achievements are marketed � this overcomes some of the significant difficulties of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria approach.
For example if the 400+ hotels currently being encouraged by TUI to be certified through the Travelife Sustainability System are all successful then more than 50% of TUI holidaymakers travelling form the UK would be staying in more sustainable hotels � that is a measurable deliverable.
First Choice has published a Greener Holidays brochure offering more carbon efficient flying and Travelife hotels � certified hotels finding a market.
Take a look at the brochure � you can tailor-make your own and have it emailed to you.