Speaking at the launch of the company’s new “Better Holidays, Better World” strategy, director of sustainability Jane Ashton said a responsible approach was crucial to the company’s future success.
“It’s well accepted, not just everywhere within our business, but outside in other companies, that finding ways of operating tourism more sustainably is absolutely critical to our long-term commercial future, to customer satisfaction and to the protection of the very essence of what we sell,” she told TTG.
Tui Group’s new sustainability strategy builds on a similar commitment made by one of its predecessors, Tui Travel. It includes three pillars designed to help shape the future of sustainable tourism: “step lightly”, “make a difference” and “lead the way”.
The first of these includes the group’s commitment to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by 10% by 2020. “To a degree this continues on that trajectory [from Tui Travel], particularly in terms of driving down carbon. We achieved 10% carbon reduction by the airline over a six-year period... and within this report we’ve got a commitment to a further 10% reduction between 2015 and 2020.”
The group has helped reduce its airline carbon footprint through the use of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – recognised as being significantly more fuel efficient than other aircraft – with plans to operate 17 of the planes by 2019.
The second strand of Tui’s strategy concerns improving travel experiences on the ground.
The company wants to deliver 10 million “greener and fairer” holidays per year by 2020. Again this is a similar approach to Tui Travel, but with a more ambitious target.
“We were really pleased that we managed to [hit] a target of 10 million customers staying in sustainable certified hotels between 2012 and 2014. We achieved that and now we’re targeting 10 million per year by 2020 – so again [it’s] a big step change.”
The third ambition involves looking outside Tui and into the wider tourism industry.
“The third emphasis we’ve got this time round, which we perhaps didn’t have so much during the sustainable holidays plan, is a commitment to look outside of our own business,” Ashton said. “As well as driving performance with our own business [we want] to collaborate with opinion-formers, policy-makers and partners.”
Tui has helped to push the environmental issue in mainstream travel since its sustainable holidays plan was published in 2012.
“We do get quite a lot of accolades for being at the forefront. The landscape’s changed dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years since I’ve been involved in this area,” she said. “It was frankly a bit off-the-wall in mainstream tourism, certainly in the UK – possibly our Nordic and Dutch and German colleagues and source markets were addressing these issues before the UK.”
Fritz Joussen, chief executive at Tui Group, added: “I am proud to work for an industry that can stimulate so much employment and wider economic activity – both in the developed and developing world – in regions where social and economic stability is increasingly important. “I am also mindful that in parallel to these benefits, tourism’s operations contribute to the depletion of natural resources.”