Fifty eight per cent of customers surveyed agreed that “volun-tourism” can make a difference and would be a fantastic experience. Support for sustainable travel is further reinforced by the success of the new donation scheme launched by HolidayExtras.com in partnership with sustainable tourism charity, the Travel Foundation.
Every customer is invited to donate 50p to the Travel Foundation when making a booking with the UK’s market leader for holiday add-ons, and the charity can also claim Gift Aid on donations from UK tax payers. Although it is early days, 80% of those customers donating also agree to Gift Aid. This adds 20% to the amount collected.
Over the next five years HolidayExtras.com customers could be donating a million pounds to the Travel Foundation, based on current projections. This will support projects in tourism destinations around the world, to help local people benefit and protect the environment.
Matthew Pack, chief executive of HolidayExtras.com, said: “More than 32 million trips overseas are taken by UK travellers every year, which obviously has an impact on destinations and the people who live there. Our customers want to give something back when they book their holidays, and I’m a great believer in making things easy for them. This is a hassle-free way for travellers to be a part of sustainable tourism.”
David Cowell, head of fundraising at the Travel Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Holiday Extras has shown their commitment to responsible, sustainable travel in this way. They are our first ancillary partner and the first to set up Gift Aid. We rely on this kind of support from the travel industry to help make a difference to local people in tourist destinations and help change lives. I also know from experience that they are a willing partner with the IT acumen to be able to maximise donations. It is an exciting time.”
Some of the lives HolidayExtras.com’s customers are helping to change:
Lamin, the Gambia
Lamin is now able to take better care of his family thanks to a project to re-develop the ‘Roots’ tour which takes visitors to communities in one of the poorest areas of the Gambia. Lamin is one of 16 trained local guides who now earn a salary by enabling tourists to gain more from their visit. Thanks to the project, 50 Gambian Dalasi per tourist is paid into a village fund to support development projects, so far over £17,000 has been raised. Visitors can also see a new children’s centre which gives local children facilities to learn and play outside of school hours.
Orwin, the Caribbean
Orwin is making a better living for himself and his family by selling fresh local produce to hotels for the first time. This is reviving farming skills, reducing imports and helping the environment as a result … As well as giving customers the real taste of the Caribbean!
Mustapha and his colleagues, at Tikida Garden Hotel in Marrakesh, are taking action to save water following the shortages they’ve experienced in recent years. Mustapha is transferring the water-saving skills he’s learnt at work to his personal life, and can now wash his car with just one bottle of water!
Maria is opening a café because of new self-drive routes taking visitors in to the heart of Cyprus. This is giving rural people a way to make a living through tourism and a reason to stay in their traditional villages. As well as offering visitors a whole new experience of an old favourite!