Avios, the global travel rewards currency is teaming up with sustainable tourism charity, the Travel Foundation, to become the organisation’s official travel partner for 2014.
The move will see Avios supporting the Foundation, which runs sustainable tourism projects in mainstream holiday destinations across the world, by providing sponsorship as well as in-kind support for travel and accommodation.
Since it was founded in 2003, the Travel Foundation has generated over £1 million in local income across its projects in 14 countries, and benefitted over 6,000 people through improved market access, knowledge and skills acquisition. For example, in Mexico the charity set up a project to protect the endangered Melipona bee, which had suffered a 93% decrease in the number of hives following the development of tourist facilities in the area.
The Travel Foundation firstly set about boosting the bees’ natural habitat by planting 450 fruit trees. The charity then provided funding for more bee boxes and training for the Mayan beekeepers. The Travel Foundation is now working with the local Mayan community to help them establish a business selling honey-based products such as soaps and shampoos to local hotels.
The Melipona honey project has given Mayan bee keepers a chance to keep their local traditions alive and make a living from tourism. At the same time, the Melipona bee has been given a much-needed helping hand, and holidaymakers are enjoying all the benefits of the new honey toiletries. Avios’ funding will contribute to the Travel Foundation’s ongoing work, both in Mexico and in many other popular holiday destinations around the world.
Ellen Buckingham, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Avios: “Corporate responsibility is at the heart of Avios’ business. We aim to make travel and tourism sustainable tools for economic growth, social progress and environmental protection. Our members love to travel but want to have a positive impact on the environment and the communities they are visiting. Through
our partnership with the Travel Foundation we will help them to achieve this.”
Salli Felton, acting CEO of the Travel Foundation, says: “We are incredibly grateful to Avios for its support. The partnership means more of our hard-raised funds can be used on the ground to deliver even more benefits to communities in holiday destinations worldwide such as Mexico, Cyprus, Jamaica and Kenya, where we plan to travel this year. We are also excited about using our considerable experience and expertise in sustainable tourism to support Avios’ ambitions.”
As well as helping fund sustainable projects, Avios and the Travel Foundation will collaborate in the development and delivery of employee training to ensure that the principles and practice of sustainable tourism are embedded in the company. The Travel Foundation will run bespoke workshops for Avios staff, share online training courses and provide expert support and guidance.
For more information about Avios and to join for free visit www.avios.com.