Over the last year, the number of hotel members to subscribe to the Travelife Sustainability System has grown by 60 per cent.
The Travelife Sustainability System is a practical tool for hotels and apartments to monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts and is wholly owned by ABTA Ltd.
1,219 hotels worldwide have been audited by the Travelife Sustainability System, and currently 522 hotels hold a Travelife Bronze, Silver or Gold award, and more are subscribing to the system every week. You can find out more about the hotels that have signed up to Travelife, which can all be booked through ABTA Members.
By booking a Travelife awarded hotel or apartment, customers can be sure that the 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 trained 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.
35 tour operators now use Travelife Hotels and display the awards in their brochures and on their websites. These operators include the UK household names of: Airtours, Cosmos Holidays, Hayes & Jarvis, Kuoni, Neilson, Sovereign, Sunvil, Co-operative Travel, Thomas Cook, TUI (ie Thomson, First Choice, Sovereign) and Virgin Holidays.
Travelife is also used by other international tour operators in Scandinavia, Germany, France, Holland and Canada.
Nikki White, who heads up Travelife’s Operations said: “The Travelife awards are a great of way of providing ever-more demanding customers with the information they require to make more responsible holiday choices, and so we are encouraged by the steady uptake of the Travelife Sustainability System. Sustainability has risen up the agenda for major international tour operators as they recognise its importance to the long-term health of the industry, so there is still a huge opportunity for Travelife to grow further.”
Two Recent Developments
The tour operator Neilson has subscribed all their hotel and yacht operations to be audited, with a view to working towards the Travelife Gold awards.
Pip Tyler, Overseas Director of Neilson Active Holidays said: “More and more, customers are questioning where their products are coming from. They want to know if the coffee farmer got a fair price for that jar of instant; whether those carrots and potatoes were sprayed with chemicals or did those chickens live a healthy life with space to express their natural behaviours. For the first time last year, more free range eggs were sold in the UK than battery farmed ones. People are taking notice and the more they hear, the more they want to know.
“So how do we find the package holiday equivalent of an organic and fair-trade cappuccino? What would we say if a customer came asking for a 'green' holiday? Hotels and apartments in destinations all around the world are making incredible efforts to ensure that their properties and resorts are doing the right thing - such as paying fair wages, buying local produce, having great recycling policies in place and ensuring best use of energy and water. But how do we get to find out about all this good work, so we can help our customers make an informed choice of which holiday to book?
“Thomas Cook and Neilson have been working closely with ABTA and the result is the Travelife Awards, a system for recognising all the good work being done in tourism businesses, such as hotels, and helping them to shout about their efforts to as wide an audience as possible.
“Achieving a Travelife Award isn't easy and requires a good result from a Travelife Audit. This involves a visit from a Travelife auditor, who'll look at employment records and energy bills, interview staff, and inspect the property thoroughly to ensure excellent management of energy and water, chemical usage and community relations - to mention just a few.”
The international 4&5 star hotel brand SENTIDO, based in 15 destinations, including Egypt, Kenya, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey has subscribed to the Travelife scheme.
This high end group, which prides itself on its unique sensual concept and outstanding service has recognised that the travel industry is dependant upon pristine environmental surroundings and traditional local cultures and so has put sustainability at the core of its business. The brand has chosen the Travelife System as their preferred means of monitoring and improving their sustainability performance. The chain has committed that ten of its hotels will achieve Travelife award status by 2012 with the remainder achieving awards by 2013. Two hotels in Turkey are already at Gold award level and one hotel in Egypt is waiting confirmation of its Silver award. Stefanie Berk, CEO of SENTIDO said: 'Travelife was the obvious choice for SENTIDO, the online system is easy for our hoteliers to use and it provides lots of online support. It also enables us to track their progress and maintain our commitment to sustainability.'
Some Great Examples of Travelife Hotels
The Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Gozo, next to Malta, 5 star. Travelife Gold.
This luxury five-star resort is located in a picturesque valley of Malta's sister island, Gozo. Its 122 spacious rooms and suites are decorated in traditional Maltese style.
Surrounded by delightful gardens cultivated by the rain water captured in the hotel well, the resort creates an elegantly rustic atmosphere with natural stone floors, palm trees, flower beds and local woods. Added to that is the fitness centre and award-winning spa with the largest Ayurveda Centre in the Mediterranean. The range of activities available in the resort includes a heated indoor pool and three outdoor pools, tennis and squash courts and a fitness centre.
The hotel highlights the natural beauty and heritage of the destination to its guests by offering early morning walking tours, cycling excursions and horse-riding around the local vicinity and trips out to local farms and vineyards. It sources local produce and cheese and grows its own vegetables and fruit.
The driving force behind Kempinski San Lawrenz’s successful application was Mr. Noel Attard, General Manager of the Hotel. He said, “We have been passionate about implementing environmental and social management strategies. It is extremely satisfying to achieve such a prestigious award. This certificate underlines Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz and all the team and staff’s constant commitment towards the environment sustainability in the hospitality sector. This award would have definitely not been possible without the contribution of all the team at the hotel where we endeavour to make the holiday of all our guests a remarkable experience. Gozo has a lot to offer and we must continuously underlie its potential as an eco island, promoting it for its richness in history, culture, traditions, tranquility, its people and the environment.”
This is an impressive accolade for the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, as it is the only hotel on the island to be presented with Travelife accreditation, as well as its pinnacle award. This is the second accreditation for this hotel after it has been the first and only certified hotel in Gozo achieving the Eco Certification from the Malta Tourism Authority.
ABTA Members featuring this hotel include Sovereign and Kuoni.
Kuoni GOZO from £899
Departing Gatwick on Air Malta, staying 7 nights on room and breakfast basis at the 5-star Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, Gozo in a superior country view room. Prices are from £899 per person for 05-06, 08-18 October 2011 departures, which includes a saving of up to £227 per couple. To book please quote tour reference: KE2405
Sandos Papagayo Arena Hotel, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. 4 star. Travelife Gold
An amazing all-inclusive hotel characterised by open spacious areas, which has been specially designed to optimise natural light. This very comfortable four star hotel offers sporting activities and a great programme of events too - suitable for both families and couples. Located on the beachfront of Las Coloradas, between the village of Playa Blanca and Papagayo beach in the south of Lanzarote, the hotel has 488 modern and spacious rooms with sea view. There are four restaurants, one snack grill, five bars, three fresh water pools for adults and two for children. On the beach guests enjoy watersports, tennis, basketball and archery. There is a theatre for shows in the evening and a discotheque to while away the small hours. There are standard rooms and junior suites which have separate shower and hydro-massage bath. Seeing the local area is encouraged by taking bicycle excursions, or a trip to a local vineyard or the Timanfaya National Park. The hotel is actively reducing the volume of the waste by buying reusable items and renewing its purchasing methods.
ABTA Members which feature this hotel include: Thomson Holidays, Thomas Cook and Cosmos.
Sani Asterias Suites, Kassandra, Halkidiki, Greece. 5 star. Travelife Gold
This luxury boutique hotel within a private ecological reserve, has a private beach and surrounded by acres of other unspoiled beaches. Michelin-starred executive chefs provide exquisite menus. Sani has preserved over 1200 acres of private forest for the enjoyment guests and the local community with a dedicated Sani Forest team to ensure the forest and its trails are well-managed.
Head of Sustainability at Sani Resort, Eleni Andreadi said: "Guests are increasingly looking for greener, more responsible travel destinations. Knowing that the hotel they have chosen operates on the basis of sustainable, measurable criteria and considers the welfare of the local community and environment a priority, will greatly enhance a guest's holiday experience."
ABTA Members that feature this hotel include: Thomson Holidays, Thomas Cook, First Choice and Sovereign.
Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in St. Lucia, 5 Star. Travelife Gold
Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa is situated in a 210 acre tropical estate, and features exclusive Millionaire suites which come with 180 degree views, rotating plasma screens, private whirlpools and infinity pools. It also has its own 9-hole golf course sloping down the hillside to a magnificent golden beach. The resort has a sophisticated yet fun atmosphere and boasts a stunning variety of rooms and suites. There are nine speciality restaurants, including Kimonos Japanese Teppanyaki, as well as nine bars. Guests can relax in three magnificent freshwater pools, 65 personal plunge pools and 4 whirlpools. As with all Sandals properties, it has a dedicated environmental manager and supports the Sandals Foundation charity, which supports local education and environmental projects.
For departures between 1 October and 8 December 2011, seven nights on a Luxury Included basis costs from £1594 per person (was £1994, saving £400). Return flights and resort transfers are included in the price. For further information or to make a booking call Sandals on 0800 742 742, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sandals.co.uk. Excursions and cultural experiences on the island are bookable through Island Routes Adventure Tours. For more information about The Sandals Foundation please visit www.sandalsfoundation.org.
Adam Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Sandals Resorts International said: “We recognise the role and responsibility we play in preserving and protecting the world in which we live and we’re committed to doing it - simply saying that you are ‘green’ is not enough. Travelife provides a highly credible benchmark for environmental practices and enables people to make decisions about where to go on holiday with Mother Nature in mind.”