A new travel agency with a ‘travel-for-good’ mantra has been launched by the former managing director of Funway Holidays, Melissa Tilling.
Charitable Travel, a member of The Travel Network Group, is a leisure-focused retailer and a registered social enterprise with fundraising central to its business model. All profits generated will go to good causes.
Holidaymakers can book and donate a proportion of the holiday price to a UK registered charity of their choice through a platform partnership with JustGiving. To do this, the agency gives up commission it earns on bookings.
Founder Melissa Tilling said the agency aimed to encourage the continuation of a “more thoughtful mindset” post-pandemic by helping holidaymakers combine philanthropy with their holiday planning and donate part of their holiday cost to charitable causes.
She said: “When customers are ready to start booking holidays again, we offer a new way to book that will ensure travel will be a force for good, regardless of the destination and travel type, because every booking creates a positive outcome for a charitable cause.”
The agency plans to sacrifice commission it earns on making bookings with tour operators, around 5% of the total trip price, to a donation of the customer’s choice through a dedicated JustGiving webpage.
This allows customers to support local communities when they book a holiday. The company is offering a range of holidays, bookable by phone.
The company said it was the first nationally available ‘community interest company social enterprise’ in the travel industry, operating as a not-for-private-profit company.
The agency, which has a website www.charitable.travel, will offer travel from September 2020.
Tilling, who has more than 33 years’ experience in managing travel companies, said: “I have always been a fervent believer in the good that travel and tourism can bring to local communities in the destinations served and although the industry is facing an incomparable crisis right now, we are resilient.
“During the current COVID crisis we have seen an inspiring show of unity from people across the country, a true community spirit has arisen as we realise the importance of appreciating and supporting one another..”
Marshall Simmonds, JustGiving’s director, sales and partnerships, said: “The combination of the travel industry, an underlying social and charitable purpose and an effective mechanism for fundraising through JustGiving makes Charitable Travel a powerful opportunity for travel consumers wanting to make a real difference in personal giving at no extra cost when they book holidays, flights cruises and hotels.”
Gary Lewis, chief executive of Worldchoice, said: “We are very excited by the opportunity this new style of charitable travel company offers to raise significant funds for good causes.”
As well as allowing customers to donate to charity, the firm will also work directly with individual charities. Charitable Travel has developed partnerships with Just A Drop, which provides safe water and sanitation to communities worldwide, and My Life Films, dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia.
Just a Drop founder Fiona Jeffery said: “Charitable Travel’s social purpose offers longstanding and new supporters of Just a Drop a unique way to support our critically important cause – simply by booking a holiday. The best part is there is no cost to Just a Drop and no extra cost to our supporter. This is a real win-win partnership between charity and social enterprise.”
Giulia Bruzzone, of My Life Films, added: “My Life Films is thrilled to be one of the charities involved and it will make such a difference to us. We are a small organisation which make life story films for people living with dementia. The films improve wellbeing and capture life memories..”
The charity sector has estimated that it will have lost more than £4.3 billion in income in the first three months of the crisis.
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