At a packed meeting at the FCO on Monday, attended by more than 100 travel companies and organisations, travel leaders launched a campaign to help travellers’ income benefit local communities in the Indian Ocean:Ê This will include projects like the training of young people in communities dependent on tourism as guides, wardens and hotel staff, encouraging the use of local materials and labour for sustainable rebuilding and developing heritage tours that bring local people and tourists together.
Caption: Mohmed Razip Hasan (Director UK & Ireland, Tourism Malaysia), Tony Champion(ManagingÊDirector, Magic of the Orient), Richard Hume (Marketing and PR Director UK & Ireland, Tourism Authority of Thailand)The Travel Foundation is paying for experts from the Association of Independent Tour Operators to visit Sri Lanka next month to consult with local people, before deciding on the right projects to make a real difference to the destination in the long-term. This will be similar to The Travel Foundation’s programme in Tobago, where local farming businesses were boosted by £10,000 in just the first six months.
These projects are possible because First Choice, Thomas Cook, Sunvil Holidays, The Adventure Company, Hidden Greece, Frantic Tours, Rainbow Tours and Close Encounters have taken the lead, raising money for the Travel Foundation. These companies provide their customers with the opportunity to pay a voluntary donation to the Travel Foundation of around £1 per booking.Ê The Travel Foundation needs more industry partners like these, to enable further projects within the affected region - and at other destinations across the world.Ê Helping the people and places we love to visit benefit from tourism.
At the meeting, Mr Bill Rammell, Parlimentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, applauded travel industry action and said, “Today you have come together to discuss how a united travel industry can make a difference.Ê We will support your efforts, in whatever way we can.”
Noel Josephides, Managing Director, Sunvil Holidays, said “There are 25 million UK holiday bookings a year* - if the travel industry really worked together to let its customers express their generosity, we could make a real difference to the world.Ê This is what our customers want.”Ê
Representatives from the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Thailand, Maldives and Sri Lanka also appealed for visitors to return to their countries.
Hassan Sobir, the High Commissioner for the Maldives, said, “every tourist pound is an ongoing donation for the region’s recovery.”
Caption: Bill Rammell MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Sue Hurdle (Director, Travel Foundation), Hassan Sobir (High Commissioner, High Commission of Maldives)
Charmarie Maelge, Director, UK Benelux and Ireland, Sri Lanka Tourist Board, said “We have to help communities dependent on tourism back on their feet.”
Caption: Charmarie Maelge (DirectorÊUK, Benelux & Ireland, Sri Lanka Tourism),ÊBill Rammell MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Sue Hurdle (Director, Travel Foundation)Ê
Prior to the meeting, Sir Richard Branson said: “Virgin - which already supports the Travel Foundation programme in Tobago - is wholeheartedly behind the industry uniting to make a greater difference. Travel can be, and should be, a force for good,” he said. “We should seize this moment to harness that force and bring prosperity and stability back to the many affected people in the years to come.”