A new partnership between the Travel Foundation and easyJet holidays will lead the way by putting a pioneering “destination stewardship” approach into action. This will bring together private, public and local community representation to establish a common set of priorities for tourism management and long-term resilience coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of a new and ongoing partnership between the tour operator and the global tourism NGO, the Travel Foundation will initially work closely with five of easyJet holidays’ top destinations to demonstrate an approach that puts community needs first. The destinations are likely to be:
- Tenerife (Spain)
- Mallorca (Spain)
- Dalaman (Turkey)
- Rhodes (Greece)
- The Algarve (Portugal)
In collaboration with easyJet holidays, the Travel Foundation will act as facilitator for a destination stewardship approach. It will conduct research to better understand the most important tourism-related challenges and opportunities in each destination, to develop more balanced and equitable outcomes. It will look at tourism as a whole, not just easyJet holidays’ operations, and ensure there is engagement from a wide range of stakeholders – including competitors, community representatives and those responsible for public assets - to consider tourism’s most significant impacts and build consensus around common goals and a pathway to achieving them.
The announcement follows the launch of easyJet holidays’ inaugural sustainability strategy in September, with a vision for “a world where travel makes a positive impact on the environment and local communities.” easyJet holidays has already announced it will encourage its directly contracted hotels to be certified to Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GTSC) standards by the end of 2025 and it was the first major UK tour operator to offset carbon emissions for its holidays – including flights, transfers plus the energy from hotel stays - which has been retroactively applied to all holidays since its launch in November 2019. For the Travel Foundation, the collaboration represents a core component of its strategy to partner with both destinations and companies to promote a stewardship approach that delivers on climate and equity.
Garry Wilson, CEO of easyJet holidays, said: “At easyJet holidays we have ambitious sustainability commitments combined with an opportunity to do things differently. There is a responsibility for us all to play our part to reopen tourism sustainably and we absolutely need to, and can, work together. So one of the biggest challenges is going to be how we can share best practice, collaborate, and make changes as an industry. We see the Travel Foundation as the ideal partner for facilitating this within destinations, and we share the same aim to lead the charge here and demonstrate a new kind of relationship between businesses and destination communities. Ultimately, we’ll show that doing this right will deliver a better experience for our customers and real, positive benefits for communities.”
Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation, said: “Because of the trust that easyJet holidays has placed on us and its desire to put destinations first, we have this exciting opportunity to practice what we preach and advance a shared vision for prioritising and managing destination risks and opportunities. With these five mainstream destinations we will ask fundamental questions about the future of tourism, with local stakeholders leading the way, deliberating the options based on robust evidence, and reaching a consensus on the actions to take. We hope to show the benefits of public-private collaboration and to advance some practical solutions that bring the principles of destination stewardship alive.”
The destination stewardship programme will result in jointly agreed recommendations and actions to support tourism recovery and resilience in each destination, in addition to follow-on activities to support destinations in putting their plans into action. The Travel Foundation will also support easyJet holidays to make changes to its own operations and customer communications to align with the aims of the destinations and as part of its sustainability strategy.
Finally, easyJet holidays will support the Travel Foundation’s wider work, recognising its crucial role in research, advocacy and innovation within the sector through programmes such as the Future of Tourism Coalition, which easyJet holidays has also signed on to.