Thomson and First Choice

Thomson and First Choice want to take the sustainable tourism message to over two million holidaymakers through their Holidays Forever campaign. Contributing to resource conservation and renewable energy carbon offset projects plays an important role in their overall plan.

Holidays Forever TUI

Thomson and First Choice are part of TUI Travel PLC, which is one of the world's leading leisure travel companies. They aim to inspire their customers to make sustainable travel choices through their Holidays Forever campaign. In 2011, Thomson and First Choice made 20 commitments around reducing their environmental impact, which they plan to achieve by 2014. And, as part of this, they have pledged to save one million tonnes of CO2 emissions by investing in forestry, clean energy and energy efficiency projects around the world.

Thomson and First Choice invite all their customers to make a £1 donation to the World Care Fund on their bookings. These contributions support sustainable tourism and carbon reduction projects around the world, giving holidaymakers a chance to offset part of their greenhouse gas emissions that they are not able to reduce, and give back to the destinations they are visiting.

We worked with Thomson and First Choice to create a bespoke carbon reduction portfolio, to ensure that every offset project supported by the World Care Fund is located in one of the countries that Thomson and First Choice travel to – enabling them to give back to their destinations by looking after the local environment. And we’ve met their requirements to deliver projects that not only generate carbon emission reductions but also provide sustainable benefits to local communities. The projects selected are certified by internationally recognised benchmarks such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard - to ensure the quality of the carbon reductions.

Thomson and First Choice are keen to inform and inspire their colleagues and customers about sustainable activities at holiday destinations, so we’re providing a range of support to help them convey the message. From simple FAQs on the company blog about what offsetting is, to photos and videos, to a visit to one of the projects; our bespoke marketing support is designed to ensure the programme delivers communications value throughout the Thomson, First Choice and the rest of the TUI Travel PLC business.

Since launching the World Care Fund, Thomson and First Choice are well on track to meeting their goal of raising £14 million by 2014. The uptake of the scheme has remained higher than traditional offsetting programmes, with around a third of customers contributing – helping to make it the largest carbon offsetting scheme in the travel industry.

Jane Ashton, Director of Group Sustainable Development, explains how TUI Travel PLC sees the business case for sustainable tourism.

Today’s customer needs and demands are changing. Our recent research of 4,000 holiday makers in eight major TUI Travel markets revealed that one in two would book a more sustainable holiday if it were readily available; two in three would change their behaviour on holiday if it helped the environment; and two in three also want their holiday company to be clearer about what it does to make its holidays more sustainable. Through the World Care Fund, we are giving Thomson and First Choice customers the opportunity to contribute to projects in the destinations they are visiting.

Jane Ashton