TUI leads the way in reporting progress on sustainability

TUI leads the way in reporting progress on sustainability

The TUI Group operates in 180 destinations, employs 67,000 people in more than 100 countries and provides holiday services to around 20m people. In size, they are world leaders. With scale comes responsibility and TUI is explicit about their response: “Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture.” TUI is changing the way it does business to be more responsible as well as through the TUI Care Foundation funding projects to create opportunities for young people, protecting nature and the environment, benefiting the local economy and connecting holidaymakers to good causes.

TUI has long understood that claiming sustainability is not enough. Consumers and shareholders alike need to see the evidence, the numbers, to evidence the change. The shareholders want to know that the money being spent on sustainability is achieving change, holidaymakers and travellers want to know that there is substance behind the claims.


TUI are now mid-way through their 2015-2020 Better Holidays, Better World strategy and their 2017 report covers progress on the four pillars of the programme. Some highlights:

Step lightly – reducing environmental impacts
TUI’s airlines are on average 24% more carbon-efficient than the six largest European airlines, and TUI’s cruise operations delivered a 5.5% reduction in CO2 emissions per cruise passenger night compared with 2015.

Make a difference – creating positive change for people and communities
In 2017, 8.3 million “greener and fairer“ holidays delivered (in hotels with a sustainability certification) – over 20 million delivered over the last three years. Over one million TUI Collection excursions sold with sustainability at their heart (up by 31% year on year). They meet specific criteria for sustainability to enhance benefits to local people and protect the environment.

Lead the way – pioneering sustainable tourism across the world
7.3 million Euros raised in 2017 to support good causes and enhance the positive impacts of tourism, mainly through projects of the TUI Care Foundation, now with projects in 20 destinations from sustainable agriculture to tourism in Crete and protecting elephants in Thailand.

Care more – building the best place of work
TUI’s objective is to score 80 for colleague engagement by 2020 aligning themselves with the top 25 companies globally. In 2017 they hit 77. The number of women in managerial positions rose from 29.4% in 2016 to 34.1% in 2017.

If you want to understand why this makes good business sense, then take a look at TUI’s recent research on consumer expectations in six of their key markets: nearly 40% of consumers are classified as highly engaged in sustainability and 47% they regard as “medium engaged”. They conclude that availability and awareness are barriers to uptake. More than that is a commercial opportunity for TUI and for others. TUI’s research demonstrates that holiday brands which invest in sustainability are seen more positively.

In the old days of ecotourism, we heard a great deal about the aspirations of businesses which claimed to be doing good, but there was very little evidence that they were. Many of the claims were large but thin on delivery, and some were misleading. That is changing, and in my next blog on 24th July I will write about some of the other companies which are reporting on their impacts.

If you know of businesses which are leaders in Responsible Tourism and able to demonstrate their positive impacts encourage them to apply and if you are proud of what you are doing apply now – the judges can only select from amongst those that apply.

Find out more about the WTM World Responsible Tourism Award categories below & apply or nominate:

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Latin America. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

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