26 Aug

ABTA launches first "Responsible Holiday" Directory

New system allows consumers to choose sustainable hotels from responsible tour operators
• New directory of responsible holiday accommodation launches today
• Backed by the travel industry and Jonathan Porritt
• The Travelife ratings system helps holidaymakers make informed choices about a hotel’s sustainable credentials
• Aims to help reduce the impact of travel on a destination and to benefit local economies
• The Travelife Directory of audited hotels is available at www.travelifecollection.com

A new way of choosing responsible holidaymaking is being launched today by ABTA and the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO). The Travelife Sustainability System and its directory of audited hotels, which is backed by leading environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, aims to make sure the impact the tourism industry has is a positive one, from reducing foreign poverty to protecting the planet’s resources.

In a recent survey, 88% of UK customers* indicated they would like to have information regarding the local environmental impacts of their holidays, as well as the effect of travelling abroad.  The Travelife Collection enables consumers to make informed choices about the accommodation they book while travelling. 

Travelife Sustainability System

The system audits hotels and has introduced an award scheme to help people make more informed choices about their holidays. The top performers are accredited with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Travelife award. Tour operators supporting the scheme promote these achievements through brochures and websites, allowing the consumer to factor it into their travel plans. 

Travelife Collection

The new industry-backed Travelife Collection goes online today at www.travelifecollection.com and gives holidaymakers the opportunity to choose hotels that have been independently audited and meet stringent criteria of sustainability and responsibility.  The directory addresses issues of sustainability with suppliers of hotels, excursions and transportation. 

Many well known tour operators appear in the Travelife Collection, offering consumers the choice of holidaying guilt-free in locations around the world.

Travelife has been developed by the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) in the UK and is supported by ABTA as well as the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR) in the Netherlands and the Forum Anders Reisen (FAR) in Germany.

Consumers can choose their hotel from their preferred (and perhaps usual) tour operator, knowing that their holiday is bringing positive change to the destination and enabling sustainable tourism.

Jonathan Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, said in the directory’s Foreword: “When we choose a holiday, we take a lot of things for granted. We would like to think that people everywhere are playing their part, however small, in trying to do something to help. We want to be confident that the places we stay in will be using our hard-earned cash wisely, to provide us with a great experience without harming local environments, destinations or communities in which they are located - and without adding to the problems of climate change. However, all too often there are no guarantees, and many hotels and accommodation providers may not even realise the harm that they might be doing.

“Increasingly, holiday makers are seeking some reliable assurance rather than relying on instinct to confirm that we are choosing truly responsible places to stay. That is the aim of this directory, and I've no doubt that there are more and more people who will be keen to take advantage of it.

“By selecting hotels involved with the Travelife Sustainability System, we can feel confident that we are making some kind of a positive difference when booking a holiday.”

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA added: “Holidaymakers today often care about the impact their travel has on the climate, and increasingly many are starting to care about what happens when they arrive too. Travel has the potential to create many benefits for destinations when correctly managed, but unless we act responsibly, it can have damaging and have long lasting effects on communities and local economies."

*From the Concerned Consumers Summary, January 2009. In a survey of 1,422 adults, 88% said they would find it useful to have information on the impact a holiday will have on the destination’s local economy and on the use of local suppliers and employees. A further 85% said they would find it useful to have information on the local environmental impact of a holiday (e.g. water use, waste management, etc).

The Travelife Sustainability System was created for the travel industry through the collaborative efforts of European tour operators. It is the trading name of International Tourism Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ABTA, the Travel Association.