Hanover, 27 September 2019

Tourism sector joins forces: TUI Group signs International Tourism Plastic Pledge

  • TUI Group signed International Tourism Plastic Pledge
  • Part of its commitment to remove 250 million pieces of single-use plastics by the end of 2020

Every year, more than eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. The tourism sector also contributesto this. The signatories of the International Tourism Plastic Pledge which was signed by TUI Group yesterday recognise the urgency and the need to work together to reduce plastic pollution. Together the signatories represent around 180,000 employees and 50 million holidaymakers. In the coming months, a concrete plan will be developed to reduce the use of plastics and to prevent plastic waste in destinations.

Maria van der Heijden, managing director of MVO Nederland, says: "Tourism is one of the largest sectors in the world. As a result, the sector bears a great deal of responsibility and has the potential to make a difference. We are very proud to bring together these 100 companies in the tourism sector to sign this pledge. Together, these companies can make a difference in the transition to a circular economy.“

Thomas Ellerbeck, Member of the TUI Group Executive Committee and responsible for sustainability says: “We actively accept our responsibility. Last year, 140 million items of single-use plastics were removed from our hotels, cruise ships and airlines. Our target is 250 million. More environmentally friendly alternatives are available in many places. Initiatives such as the 'International Tourism Plastic Pledge' are important to raise awareness and drive change. TUI is well positioned to make holiday offers along the entire travel value chain even more sustainable than they are today. This will also be an important component of the Group-wide sustainability strategy 2020-2030.“

By the end of 2018 TUI Group had removed 140 million pieces of single-use plastic. As part of its contribution to the global drive to reduce plastic waste, TUI aims to raise this to 250 million by the end of 2020. Initiatives include removing 112 million single-use plastic items from hotels, TUI Cruise’s ambitious wasteless plastic reduction programme and the launch of ‘plastic reduction guidelines’ for hotels. This is in line with TUI Group’s sustainability strategy ‘Better Holidays, Better World’. It includes four core pillars where TUI aims to advance sustainable tourism at scale within its own operations, along its value chain, across the wider industry and in communities where it operates.

TUI’s Plastic Reduction Guidelines for Hotels provides practical solutions and guidance for TUI’s hotels and the wider industry on how to eliminate single-use plastic from operations, source suitable alternatives and advice on how to communicate with staff, guests and suppliers. It is available in four languages – English, Greek, Spanish and Turkish. TUI rolled out the guidelines to hoteliers this Summer and they were brought to life through several plastic reduction workshops. The guidelines are also been used by the United Nations Environment Programme and Travelife, during a series of workshops for hoteliers in the Dominican Republic, contributing in this way to the efforts to address plastics pollution across the industry.

TUI’s independent charitable foundation, TUI Care Foundation, also signed the International Tourism Plastic Pledge. The Foundation is working on numerous projects to address the challenge of plastic waste for the marine environment. The TUI Clean & Green programme targets waste in coastal areas through technical advice, training, capacity-building and awareness-raising to help change behaviours. A new programme has been initiated on Cyprus in partnership with The Travel Foundation to help hotels, bars and restaurants reduce single-use plastics by up to 70% in Ayia Napa and Protaras. In Curaçao, over 2,000 schoolchildren and teachers will be educated about plastic waste in partnership with GreenKidz.

TUI encourages other companies and organisation in the tourism sector to participate in the International Tourism Plastic Pledge: www.tourismplasticpledge.com

About TUI Group

TUI Group is the world’s number one tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. The TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange, and in the German open market. In financial year 2018, TUI Group recorded turnover of €18.5bn and an operating result of €1.177bn. The Group employs 70,000 people in more than 100 countries. TUI offers its around 27 million customers, including 21 million in the national organisations in Europe, comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This comprises around 330 Group-owned hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU and Robinson as well as 17 cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels to the “Mein Schiff” fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Marella Cruises in the UK. The Group also includes leading international tour operator brands, 1,600 travel agencies in Europe and five European leisure airlines with around 150 modern medium- and long-haul aircraft. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. TUI Care Foundation was founded in 2015 and supports the positive impacts of tourism, learning and education and strengthening of environmental and social standards. It contributes to the development of holiday destinations. Today, the TUI Care Foundation is active in more than 20 countries worldwide and initiates projects creating opportunities for the next generation.