15 Aug

ABTA Grows and Restructures Travelife Team

ABTA has appointed sustainability professional Sören Stöber to take on the new role of Business Manager for the Travelife Sustainability System – an ABTA owned subsidiary, which provides a practical tool for hotels and tour operators to monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts. The Travelife team is also currently recruiting for a new role of Relationship Manager.

Sören Stöber and the new recruit join the team at an exciting watershed in Travelife’s development as the scheme prepares for rapid expansion. Over the last year, the number of international hotel members subscribing to the Travelife Sustainability System has grown by 60 per cent and ABTA has restructured Travelife in preparation for its next phase.

Nikki White, Head of Destinations and Sustainability, will continue to head up the scheme and will have three direct reports: Business Manager, Sören Stöber, who has formerly held roles at the Thomas Cook Group as Group Sustainability & Reporting Manager and Interim Head of Sustainability and at Arcandor AG in Germany; Lead Consultant Chris Thompson - who has been with Travelife since its beginning in 2003 - will support auditor training and development work, as well as taking a leading role on the planned multi-stakeholder review of the Travelife award criteria. Nikki White’s third report will be the yet to be recruited Relationship Manager.

The other three members of the Travelife team continue with their existing roles with Debra Routledge as Sales and Marketing Executive, and Rocco Bonomo and Larisa Birthright as support assistants.

Commenting, Nikki White said: "The Travelife Sustainability System has now established itself as the preferred sustainability tool for the mainstream tourism industry and I am delighted that we are now able to broaden and strengthen the Travelife team to build on the achievements and deliver the next phase of development.

“Travelife is a fantastic tool for hoteliers to progress their work on sustainability and gain recognition for it through a common industry scheme. Travel organisers are able to utilise Travelife to manage their supply chain, while travel retailers and consumers now have a mainstream source of more sustainable accommodations.”

Sören Stöber said: “This is an exciting time to be taking on the new role with Travelife as it takes a leap into the mainstream. I look forward to growing the scheme and raising its profile further across the globe.

“Travelife is about helping to make holidays more sustainable, and bringing to tourism the standards and values that customers increasingly look for. Travelife accredited hotels don't cost any more and are featured by mainstream holiday companies."

By booking a Travelife awarded hotel or apartment, customers can be sure that a property is taking steps to protect the environment and support employees and local communities. Holiday properties signed up to the Travelife scheme are inspected by an independent auditor and depending on their performance may achieve Travelife Bronze, Silver and Gold awards which can then be displayed in the hotel, and in tour operator brochures and websites.

The Travelife Sustainability System provides all kinds of help and guidance to holiday properties and companies on how to be more socially responsible and how to reduce, reuse and recycle, starting even before Bronze level, with some 15,000 hoteliers registered with the Travelife Sustainability System, who have access to free online resources. Some 1,200 hotels have received Travelife audits and over 500 have received Travelife awards.

The Travelife programme receives major support from European travel industry trade associations and their international members, including Kuoni, Thomas Cook, TUI Travel and Virgin Holidays. The Travelife programme was founded by industry and NGO cooperation, supported by EU funding, which continues today.

Travelife launched a new website while at www.travelifecollection.com consumers have an easy route to find more sustainable accommodations – all of which can be booked through tour operators.