Funding has been secured from the European Union to enable the Travelife Sustainability system to be integrated with the European Eco label.

The unspecified level of funding will be delivered through the EU’s three-year Eco-innovation project.

The EU Ecolabel is only awarded after satisfying strict criteria and following wide consultation with experts and after verification that a product or service has met high environmental and performance standards.

Accommodation suppliers following the Travelife programme and qualifying for its Gold Award will satisfy the EU Ecolabel criteria, according to Abta.

The support follows Tui announcing earlier this year that it is aiming to have half of its holidaymakers staying in Travelife-awarded hotels by the end of next summer.

The operator is working towards having all of its suppliers Travelife-awarded within five years.

Tui estimates a quarter of its customer will be staying in a Travelife-awarded hotel by the end of this month.

Earlier this year it advised all its main suppliers that by May 2011 they will need to subscribe to the Travelife Sustainability System.

The mandate is included within its Sustainable Development Contract Addendum that is part of its main contract with all suppliers. It aims to encourage suppliers to embed sustainability into their operations, including registering to Travelife.

Travelife sustainability manager Chris Thompson said: “It is a fantastic achievement for Travelife to have gained this funding from the European Union so that we can fully utilise the benefits of achieving EU Eco label status.

“It is also a major endorsement of Tui UK’s ongoing commitment to sustainability that they aim to have half of their customers staying in accommodation providers with Travelife by next year.”

Tui UK & Ireland purchasing director Garry Wilson said: “We are working towards having all of our suppliers Travelife-awarded within five years and have 50% of our customers staying in Travelife-awarded hotels by next summer.”