We're all going on a summer holiday
Travel and tourism is the world's largest industry, directly employing over 79 million people. It is also growing extremely quickly with the forecast of over 1.6 billion international tourist journeys due to be made by 2020. With such growth comes huge challenges; overdevelopment, over-reliance on tourism for economic growth in developing countries, an ever increasing carbon footprint, depletion of destinations' natural resources and damage to land and ocean based ecosystems.
Holidays represent happy times in our lives, they are great for re-charging our batteries and allowing us to relax both mentally and physically. Travelling is also a great way to expand our horizons and the growth of the travel industry in recent years has been invaluable in increasing our understanding of other cultures and customs. At Virgin we are working towards offering holiday destinations where tourists and locals benefit today and tomorrow in a lower carbon and sustainable way. It is critical that we do our best to address the challenges of this sector - as a tour operator Virgin Holidays tailor-makes experiences that are all provided by third party suppliers. This means that the majority of the impacts are out of its control and therefore it actively encourages its suppliers to be aware of their impacts and encourages them to reduce them.
Our companies' approach
- Virgin Holidays is supporting local economies in which it operates by; donations to support local projects, encouraging staff volunteering, raising awareness about sustainable seafood issues, helping local communities to set up sustainable enterprises.
- Through Virgin Holidays' Human Nature Promise it is ensuring that its presence doesn't lead to degradation of local environments or cultures by: working with hoteliers to improve their sustainability performance.
- Investing the profits and dividends from the holiday and transport businesses into a number of renewable energy and resource efficiency ventures through initiatives such as the Virgin Green Fund.
- Virgin Limited Edition is reducing its own impacts: by working towards achieving Travelife Gold on all of its properties and reducing the environmental impact of its properties through initiatives such as energy saving programmes, installation of solar panels, wind turbines, waste and recycling plans and adopting a red food list of items that we will not procure.
- Every single Virgin Holiday sold includes a donation to the sustainable tourism charity, The Travel Foundation, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds each year
- 43% of Virgin Holiday customers stay at an audited hotel. 160 audits have so far been completed worldwide with 44 Travelife Bronze, Silver and Gold winners
- Sustainable excursions have helped six communities in Kenya increase earnings up to 800% and are now being extended to 27 more villages within the Maasai Mara
- Virgin Limited Edition founded Pride 'n' Purpose, a charity that supports the local community and with the help of Virgin Unite, has done extensive work for the local communities, including drilling bore holes and funding a health clinic.
To find out more information on what we are doing click here.
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