ABTA has revealed plans to relaunch the Travelife Collection, featuring 12,000 sustainable hotels, in time for summer 2010.

The Travelife Collection directory is accessible online and gives holidaymakers the chance to choose hotels that meet strict criteria of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Last year the programme had only 5,500 properties listed.

Of the 12,000 hotels, a total of 1,200 have been visited by auditors who run through a checklist to assess a hotel’s policy and practice on energy, water and waste management, conservation, employment, sourcing and community relations. Countries featured include Spain, Egypt, Turkey and the Caribbean.

Developed by the Federation of Tour Operators, part of ABTA, and introduced in 2006, the Travelife Sustainability System awards hotels with a gold, silver or bronze award. Tour operators supporting the scheme also promote the achievements of the properties through their brochures
and websites.

ABTA head of destination strategy and services Nicola White said other plans for 2010 include reviewing the criteria on which hotels are assessed, and expanding the scheme.

She said: “We want to get other types of accommodation to work with Travelife. We’d like to move on to self-catering, cottage properties and even cruise. If you think of a cruise ship as a floating hotel there are lots of things they could be doing.

“Hotels are waking up to the importance and potential money-saving elements of sustainable practices, such as waste disposal. Many hotels were looking at how to make savings during the recession and realised that being green was a good way of doing this – it doesn’t have to involve expenditure.”

Raising awareness of Travelife among the trade is another key objective, said White. “TUI Travel and Thomas Cook are very involved with Travelife but we want to make sure that we send the message down to agent level. We are working closely with the Travel Foundation to look at how we can reach agents.”