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Travel charity seeks holiday donations

Sustainable tourism charity the Travel Foundation aims to raise five-times-as-much money each year from holidaymakers as it did in 2007 and extend projects across destinations.

The Travel Foundation generated £1 million in income for the first time last year, 46% up on 2006, and now has a target of £5 million a year in its sights.

Chairman Roger Heape declined to put a deadline on hitting the target, but told the Travel Foundation annual general meeting on Tuesday: “We are a pioneer in the field. We are changing lives in destinations and no other organisation is doing the same.”

About 80% of the foundation’s income comes from small donations added to holiday prices by tour operators, leading two million holidaymakers to contribute last year.

The former First Choice Holidays mainstream division, now part of TUI Travel, helped lead the way by adding a 50p donation to prices.

Heape said: “Raising £1 million is a considerable landmark. But we would like more companies to support us and need to raise our profile. We have to persuade large numbers of leaders in the travel industry and there is a long way to go.”

The foundation has supported more than 50 projects in Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt, the Gambia, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Tobago since its formation five years ago.

Chief executive Sue Hurdle said: “We are looking to respond to climate change in destinations and continue growing in scale in profile.”

Plans for next year include extending the supply of local farmers’ produce to hotels across five Caribbean islands, expanding water and energy-saving projects in Cyprus and Morocco, and extending sustainable development to ski resorts.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer, Thomas Cook director of quality and Safety John de Vial and World Travel Market managing director Fiona Jeffery have joined the foundation’s board of trustees, which includes TUI Travel UK managing director Dermot Blastland and Sunvil Holidays managing director Noel Josephides.

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